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Google To Start Punishing Websites With Popups

As of the 10th January 2017 Google’s ranking algorithm is going to start penalising websites that show large intrusive pop up advertisements.

Mobile devices now account for nearly 70% of internet traffic. Due to screens being much smaller than desktops, the pop-up advertisements have caused problems, as they usually take up the majority of the screen. This affects the users overall experience.

Google has given three examples of techniques that effect a user’s experience, and therefore will be penalised. These are as follows:

  • Showing a pop-up that covers a page’s main content. This can be straight after a user lands on a page or while they are looking through.
  • Displaying an intermediary page that the user has to close before they can view the main content.
  • Using a design where the advertisement fills the ‘above the fold’ section of the web page, meaning users have to scroll down to see the main content.

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Google does however make some exceptions:

  • Cookie policy pop-ups
  • Age verification
  • Small banner advertisements


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