Should Websites Use Pop-ups?

3rd July 2018 | Rosie Littlejohns | Blog, Marketing

Do pop-ups work?

Pop-ups are a controversial topic amongst marketers. Most people find pop-ups annoying, and they can have a negative impact on the website experience. So, there’s no surprise that some marketers are hesitant to use them.

However, pop-ups can be very effective at driving conversions. In a study on pop-ups used to collect email addresses, Sumo found that top-performing pop-ups have a 9.8% conversion rate, while the average overall is 3.09%. So clearly pop-ups can be a conversion tool worth pursuing.

However, there are some important aspects to consider when implementing them on your site.

SEO and pop-ups

In January 2018, Google announced that sites that use pop-ups on mobiles could be penalised. Described as ‘intrusive interstitials,’ Google says that any pop-up or overlay that is deemed to be too intrusive for mobile viewers may have a negative impact on rankings. This is because pop-ups on smaller screens can block content, so users cannot access the information they are looking for.

Google has stated the following as pop-up use they could penalise:

  • Pop-ups that appear immediately when clicking through to a website and cover the main content
  • Showing a pop-up that users have to dismiss before seeing the main content
  • Using interstitials that require users to scroll down to see the main content

Overall, Google will be penalising sites that use pop-ups in an intrusive and irritating manner, especially for mobile users. This is an important update to consider especially since the announcement was made to move towards mobile first indexing.

When should pop-ups be used?

In terms of SEO, Google suggests that the following pop-up usage won’t negatively impact your rankings:

  • Pop-ups that are used for legal reasons (cookie warnings, age verification)
  • Required login boxes
  • Banners and pop-ups that are easily dismissible and don’t cover the whole page

Also, consider when it is suitable to utilise pop-ups so as not to negatively affect the user experience. Consider using pop-ups that:

    • Only appear on desktop
    • Offer a clear benefit
    • Appear after the user has been on the page for a while
    • Do not cover the whole screen
    • Provide a clear headline message
    • Don’t appear on every page
    • Consider the context of the page the pop up appears on – the message should match the content.

So, pop-ups can be used effectively to increase conversions and collect valuable newsletter sign-ups. Just be sure you have your website visitor in mind when adding them to your site.

If you need any help with adding pop-ups to your site, give us a call on 01202 677 277.

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