3 Useful Tips for Using Pop-ups Without Hurting your SEO

Published: | By Syed Balkhi

Pop-ups have always been infamously labeled as intrusive and annoying. Many marketers even go on to say that Google can impose penalties on your website for using pop-ups.

But you still see a lot of websites using them. Now you’re confused. 

So you start asking questions like -

“Do pop-ups really hurt your SEO?” “If it does, how do you use them cautiously, so it doesn’t affect your SEO?”

The good news, however, is that Google won’t penalize your website for using pop-ups. But for that to happen, you need to use them appropriately and without affecting the user experience on your website. 

In fact, instead of affecting your website negatively, pop-ups can effectively act as a means to improve your conversions.

Studies show that the conversion rate of the best performing pop-ups is 9.3%, and the average conversion for all pop-ups is 3.09%

Now at first glance, 3.09% might sound like a small figure. But to put things into perspective, this tiny percentage would mean more than 3000 subscribers for you if you have about 100,000 visitors on your website.

This can make a huge impact on your overall conversion goals. So instead of simply dismissing pop-ups as intrusive, many marketers are thoroughly using them to boost their conversions. If you, too, want to do the same, this post is for you. 

In this post, we’ll tell you how to use pop-ups on your website without hurting your SEO. So let’s begin. 

1. Make Them Non Intrusive

Many marketers use pop-ups so aggressively that the very essence of the website becomes disoriented. Such pop-ups will often cover a large portion of the website and are difficult to dismiss.

Google hates such pop-ups and can penalize you for using them on your website. It does that because such stubborn pop-ups negatively affect the overall experience of the users and force them to exit. And user experience is one of Google’s 200 major ranking factors. So if you don’t want your SEO to be devalued by Google, always make sure that your pop-ups are non-intrusive in manner.

As long as your pop-ups are letting your users access the content well, you’re on the safe side. However, if you’re required to display any legal notification to keep your users informed, such as age verification or the cookie use notification, then Google won’t penalize you even if your pop-up restricts users from accessing your content.

But that doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to use other forms of pop-ups. As long as your pop-up doesn’t take only 15% or less of your screen and is easily dismissable, you can use any pop-up on your website without any hesitation.

A good way to use pop-ups safely is to avoid using full-screen overlays. Instead of that, you can try using slide-in boxes and top banners. 

Such banners don’t usually block content for users and allow users to continue browsing without being aggressively intrusive. 

2. Use Exit-Intent Pop-ups

One of the easiest ways to decrease your website bounce rate is to use an exit-intent popup. Just like the name suggests, such pop-ups appear on the website the moment a user is about to leave your site.

By using these pop-ups, you are actually trying to distract your users from exiting the website by showing them something more interesting. Such pop-ups aren’t penalized by google even if they cover a large portion of the screen. 

The confirmation comes from Google’s search advocate John Mueller himself. So if you have been stopping yourself from using exit-intent pop-ups for fear of being punished by Google, take a sigh of relief and start using them. They are super safe and don’t contribute to devaluing your website’s SEO

3. Time Your Pop-ups

Another brilliant way of using pop-ups without affecting your SEO is to time your pop-ups. Have you ever landed on a website that displays a pop-up a second after you land on it? If you did, you know how annoying those pop-ups are. 

Instead of doing any good, these pop-ups will only chase your visitors away from your website. As an alternative, try using timed pop-ups. One of the best things about most pop-up tools is that it lets you have full control over the way it is displayed on your website. 

So take advantage of it and display it just around the time your reader finishes the post. That way, it would neither annoy your users nor Google, and you’ll also be able to save your website from the penalties too. 

However, the trick in making such timed pop-ups effective is by creating brilliant content that hooks readers till the end. So if you haven’t paid attention to your content quality, focus on improving them before using the timed pop-ups. 

Some pop-ups definitely appear intrusive and annoying. And by creating such pop-ups you give Google all the rights to devalue your SEO. But with a proper strategy, you can not only make your pop-ups less intrusive but can also save your website from all the penalties you might be imposed upon.



Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.

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