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Potential SEO Risks with Pop-ups

If your website uses pop-up ads, you might want to carefully consider the potential adverse effects to your SEO ranking.  Both Microsoft Edge and Google place a premium on user experience and if they feel that your use of pop-ups is having a negative effect on your visitors’ experience, your SEO may suffer.  

Microsoft Edge has built-in analytics in its newest version that will take a hard look at how users treat pop-ups.  An article posted on Engadget on February 17, 2021 by D. Hardawar had this to say: “With the latest Edge 88 release, it's crowdsourcing data about how users deal with those pop-ups. The company will track the options people choose -- to allow, block, ignore or dismiss notifications entirely -- and compile that information into an annoyance score. If the number is too high, Edge will automatically quiet notifications from that site.”

While the Engadget article did not speak directly to the effect on SEO, it did state that the Edge Team hoped their actions would encourage sites to follow best practices regarding the use of pop-ups.  If you find that your site’s notifications are being quieted due to a high annoyance score, that should alert you to the potential negative user experience the pop-ups may be causing.  Negative user experience is a leading cause for users exiting sites quickly.  And that does effect SEO scores.

In an article posted on SEO-HACKER, Sean Si discusses how Google devalues websites that use pop-ups that partially block text and must be closed in order for the reader to be able to continue reading.  While Si’s article is primarily directed toward mobile devices, he cautions that Google could possibly expand their devaluation due to misuse of pop-ups to desktops as well.

What does this devaluation mean for SEO?  

If your website is devalued by Google due to disruptive pop-ups, it will have a detrimental effect on your site’s search engine results page rankings.  Si listed three infractions that will absolutely cause Google to devalue your site:

- Pop-ups that cover the content of your page, and forces the users to close the pop-up just to continue reading.

- Standalone interstitials that show up before the user can access the content.

- Pages wherein the layout makes the upper portion look like an interstitial.

While pop-ups can be useful, they can also have a detrimental effect on your site’s SEO.  If you feel you absolutely must use pop-ups on your site in order to drive interest, do so sparingly.  And for more information and advice, we highly recommend reading the two articles provided below.  Your SEO will thank you.

Read the full article posted on Engadget.

Other Sources:

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