Last year Google introduced the first mobile shakeup to its core algorithm – AKA ‘Mobilegeddon’. However, it was never going to be a one-time shift and Google is already announcing the next mobile tweak to its algorithm.

This time it’s popups on mobile devices that are in the firing line and this could affect a whole bunch of content publishers.


Time to rethink mobile popups

It’s not all popups (or interstitials, as Google is calling them) that will be hurt by the algorithm change. Google is trying to single out popups that make content less accessible on mobile – and here’s what Doantam Phan offered up the following examples:


  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.


Which means those email signup forms that pop up as soon as your blog posts load could get you penalised. Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t gone down too well with a number of marketers and content publishers.


We understand the complaints, too, but you can’t deny those popups are annoying as hell. In fact, we go as far to recommend forgetting all about popups for mobile because the implications on user experience are pretty big. It may not be what you want to hear from an email marketing perspective (or whatever other reason you may have for using popups) but it’s the cold, hard truth.

Popups on mobile suck and we’re not at all surprised by Google’s plans to clamp down on them.

Which popups will be safe from the Google update?

As we say, not all popups will be penalised in the update. Popups that only occupy a “reasonable” percentage of the screen and those for cookies and any other legal reasons (age limits, graphic content warnings, etc.) will be fine. As will login forms or any other essential parts of your user interfaces.


So there you have it – if your popups get in the way of users and your content, it might be time to rethink your strategy. There are alternative methods for getting email signups, app downloads and other conversions – so get thinking about a new approach now.

You have until January 10, 2017 to get your mobile pages in order. And in the meantime, just think about how much your mobile bounce rate could drop by ditching those nasty popups.