About two years ago, Google started penalizing websites that are not friendly to mobile visitors, since mobile traffic now comprises the vast majority of all internet traffic.
In August of 2016, Google announced that it would begin penalizing websites that have what Google considers “intrusive” pop-ups. Here’s the official Google Webmasters post that sparked controversy across the web.
According to some recent articles, websites are seeing the effects of this change.
What are the rules?
In order to be considered mobile-friendly by Google and to show up in the search results of those using their cell phones, your website cannot have what Google considers “intrusive” pop-ups on your site.
The most important things to know are:
- This only affects the mobile version of your website, and
- There are a few quick fixes if your site is in fact being penalized.
These are intrusive pop-ups, as Google has defined them:
How does this affect you?
Any popups you’re using to collect email addresses or opt people into your email list or other offer could be affecting traffic to the mobile version of your website, resulting in drastically reduced traffic.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on at least 60% of internet traffic, and that number is growing every day.
It’s important to understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable pop-ups to make sure that Google doesn’t penalize your site.
Here’s what’s okay to have on your mobile site, according to Google:
- Push notifications
- Pop-ups about cookie usage and age verifications
- Small app banners
- Exit popups
- Popups that only appear when someone clicks a button
Find out whether your website traffic is impacted
In order to take action (or determine if you even have to take action), you have to check out whether or not this is actually affecting your website’s traffic.
Step 1: Select a custom date range in Google Analytics.
Sign into your Google Analytics account. In the left-hand sidebar, click Audience → Overview, and then select the option to define a custom date range.
Select the date range of Jan 9, 2017 – Jan 13, 2017 and compare it to the previous week. We choose this date range because this was when the changes first went to effect.
Step 2: Check the mobile traffic specifically.
Under “Audience” on the left hand side, click Mobile > Overview. If you that your site experienced a significant drop (over 20%) in mobile traffic during this period in time, your site is likely being penalized for popups.
Step 3: If you have pop-ups on the mobile version of your site, disable them.
If you did experience a huge drop in traffic during this time, you can’t regain the traffic that you’ve lost, but you can make sure that the mobile version of your site is Google-friendly moving forward.
Remember that you can still have pop-ups on the desktop version of your site, but you should disable them on mobile. You’ll have to find the settings in your specific plugin (if you’re using WordPress) to disable them on mobile.
Or only use exit pop-ups. If you’re using ClickFunnels, your site should be fine. By default, the pop-ups only appear if people ask for them by clicking a button.
Are you seeing the effects of this penalty on your site?