Unfortunately, many website visitors are annoyed by pop-up ads. In fact, some visitors dislike them so much that they will immediate exit a website if there is a pop-up, before even viewing the web page. Pop-up ads may also slow down the loading time of web pages, which is a big factor in website conversions and rankings in search engine results. Also, pop-ups can distract visitors from the intended purpose of the website.
Google Penalties for Pop-Ups
In 2016, Google announced that it would soon penalize websites that rely on pop-up advertising, particularly as it continues to move toward mobile-first indexing. Pop-up ads have a bigger effect with your website when displayed on smaller screens, to the point of interfering with a visitor’s ability to view the website, and even though there is still some confusion about which pop-ups are okay and which are not, there are some known specifics.
One type of pop-up ad that can result in penalties is the pop-up that grays out content until the viewer interacts with the pop-up either by doing what is requested or cancelling it. This fits with Google’s definition of intrusive. Ads that look like pop-ups but actually aren’t, such as ads that take up the entire screen while the web page loads, or a Call to Action that screams at visitors, rather than convinces them to act, will also result in penalties. If all of the space above the fold on a web page is taken up by what appears to be an ad, the website can be penalized.
However, pop-ups can sometimes be allowed by Google without penalty. For example, a pop-up that asks a website visitor to verify his/her age is acceptable and won’t bring negative results for your website. Demographic pop-ups are sometimes necessary for websites, in particularly when a website contains content intended for adults.