Penalties for Pop Ups on Mobile Devices

Since January 2018, your website could have been negatively affected by the “Mobile Intrusive Interstitials Penalty” rolled out by Google without you even knowing about it. What does that mean? Let me break it down for you…

What does the MIIP mean for my Business Website?

Google’s mobile interstitial penalty specifically targets intrusive interstitials. Note that “interstitial” is a broad term that can be widely applied to most pop-ups, overlays, and modals, but not all interstitials are considered equally intrusive.

As a general rule of thumb, if your interstitials are spammy, difficult to dismiss, or diminish your users’ experience, your mobile page may be devalued. And, because Google’s indexing is now mobile-first, this may hurt your positions in the SERPs more than you realize.

Still greek? Basically, it means that if you have Pop Ups, Overlays or any Interstitials (On the web, interstitials are web pages displayed before or after an expected content page, often to display advertisements or confirm the user’s age – Thank you Wikipedia) that appear on your site when viewed by Mobile Devices, your site will receive a penalty.

For example:

  • Content-covering pop-ups that users are forced to close to continue reading.
  • Standalone interstitials that must be dismissed before users can access your content.
  • Deceptive page layouts whose above-the-fold portion looks like an interstitial.

You should also avoid ads that Google’s known to dislike and has penalized in the past, including:

– Classic interstitial ads and splash ads that interrupt users as they navigate between pages and/or before they reach your homepage.
– New window pop-ups that open as soon as a user clicks on your page.
– Welcome mats, new window pop-ups, and other intrusive ads.
– Overlay modals that are difficult to close and/or easily redirect visitors who accidentally click on them.
– Intrusive lightbox ads and pop-ups.

What does that mean for your website?

A Google penalty means that your website is either no longer listed in search results or that your ranking has dropped dramatically. When your site gets a Google penalty, your target audience can’t find you. When you are invisible to your target audience your traffic, and ultimately your income/turnover, drops.

If you must…

If you must use pop-ups and overlays, you can try to redesign them to be as non-intrusive as possible. One of the things you can change is the timing of your interstitials. For example, instead of displaying a pop-up as soon as a user lands on your page, time your pop-up for when users have finished on your web page.

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