Google Puts the Smack Down on Pop-Up Ads


Punched in the Face by pop-up adsPop-up ads: You know the drill. You score a link with a juicy headline, bite the bait, read the first few sentences, and you’re hooked. But before you finish the first paragraph, you’re assaulted by a pop-up ad. Punched in the virtual face by someone wanting your contact information or wanting to sell you their stuff. Boom. You bounce right off the site, deflated for not having had the chance to gulp down the desired content – and you lose trust in the company.

You’re not alone. And Google is about to put the smack down.

When Mobile Isn’t Responsive to Pop-Up Ads

There is no denying we live in a mobile world. Few people use desktops or laptops for their every day search and social activities.

The next time you’re in public, stop for a moment and look around. How many people do you see focused on the phone or tablet in their hand? Right. So content MUST be mobile responsive.

If not designed for mobile devices, pop-up ads can be exponentially annoying. You have no way to X out of the ad. They swallow up the whole screen. You have no choice but to close the window and scroll away from the promise of enlightening verbiage.

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User Experience

In addition to being mobile responsive, websites must cater to a high-quality user experience. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Period.

Millennials and Centennials have wised up to the ways of the web. They’re immune to giffy glitter, flashy ads and false promises. Their eyes have blinded themselves to website advertisements.

In this modern method of web-surfing why many businesses have found a new way to capture leads with pop-up ads locking valuable content. “Want to read more? Click here for the rest of the article.” But before you can read, you’ve got to trade in your email address so the company can send you emails you’ll never open. Pop-up ads help enterprises obtain data, but they grossly infringe on the user experience.

But that’s about to stop, and here’s why:

The Proof is in the Search Query Pudding

Here's the ProofGoogle has a handy tool called the Google Keyword Planner used by businesses tailoring content around a particular keyword phrase. A quick glimpse into the keyword planner shows you this:

  • 4,400 search queries per month for “pop up blocker”
  • 1,600 searches for “How to get rid of pop up ads.”
  • 1,300 searches for “How to stop pop up ads.”
  • 1,000 searches for “How to get rid of pop ups.”

And then businesses fired back with 5,400 queries for how to disable a pop up blocker.

Without question, the general public detest pop-up ads while companies adore them.

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Google to the Rescue

Here’s the deal. Google has laser focus regarding user experience. To protect user experience, Google will begin penalizing websites using pop-up ads, or, in Google terms, “intrusive interstitials.”

Websites engaging in forced registration or content locked behind pop-up ads will suffer regarding Google rankings.

Beginning January 1, 2017, Google’s standards for what’s acceptable in advertising on websites will drastically change. Furthermore, Google will strictly enforce the new policies. Businesses will need to adapt or suffer the consequences with search ranking.

Not All is Lost

Lead capture won’t die when pop-up ads do. However, business marketers will need to be more clever in their approach. The content published must be high quality, and any offer accompanying that content must be a good offer. Thus, users must willingly choose to say yes. They cannot be forced. There will be no more dangling carrots.

Most web publishers understand that bounce rates also severely influence rankings. Users fall prey to content bait, then get slapped with a pop-up ad, and they are likely to bounce off. Not only do they bounce off immediately, but they also begin to distrust the company responsible. Brand awareness becomes negative.

Companies who learn to play by the new Google rules will find themselves to the advantage in more ways than one. They can still capture leads with quality content and attractive offers while reducing bounce rates and gaining trust.

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Summing it Up

User experience trumps all else. Mobile responsive websites govern the Internet. Pop-up ads that lock content in exchange for information deter users, increase bounce rates, and destroy trust. Google’s new guidelines, effective January 1, 2017, will help restore balance. Businesses can still engage in lead capture, but will need to be more respectful of the user experience or suffer the search ranking consequences.

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