What do pop-ups do to your SEO? There are plenty of considerations, from their timing and how they affect your engagement rates, all the way to Google’s official guidelines on the matter.
What are the factors that matter for SEO?
Timing is a big one. If the element shows up initially upon page load, they will consider it differently than if it shows up after a few minutes.
So, for example, if you have a “Sign Up Now” overlay that pops up the second you visit the page, that’s going to be treated differently than something that happens when you’re 80% or you’ve just finished scrolling through an entire blog post.
Generally speaking, obviously, shorter is better, but you can get into trouble even with very short ones.
If an overlay or a modal or something interferes with a visitor’s ability to read the actual content on the page, Google may penalize those or remove their mobile-friendly tags and remove any mobile-friendly benefit. That’s obviously quite concerning for SEO
If you have an element that is essentially asking for the user’s age, or asking for some form of legal consent, or giving a warning about cookies, that actually gets around Google’s issues.
Advertising, on the other hand, advertising could get you into more trouble. If it’s a call to action for the website itself, again, that could go either way. If it’s part of the user experience, generally you are just fine there.
Where it can hurt is where you get visitors from search engines, they are logged out, and you require them to log in before seeing the content. Quora had a big issue with this for a long time, and they seem to have mostly resolved that through a variety of measures, and they’re fairly sophisticated about it. But you can see that Facebook still struggles with this, because a lot of their content, they demand that you log in before you can ever view or access it. That does keep some of their results out of Google, or certainly ranking lower.
E) Engagement impact
When more people are clicking onto your website from Google and then immediately clicking the Back button when one of these things appears, that is a sign to Google that you have provided a poor user experience.