Pop-ups can harm SEO. Google frowns upon pop ups that are intrusive or add inconvenient friction to the user experience. If implemented incorrectly, pop-ups can also block search engine bots from reading the contents of your site.
GoogleBot will not interact with buttons in your pop up. If there’s a pop up guarding the site content from loading, it will prevent Google from crawling your website. If a pop up guards the content for users, but not for search engines, this is effectively a form of cloaking – showing different content to users than GoogleBot, which is against Google’s webmaster guidelines.
Google covers pop-ups in their guidelines on interstitials and dialogs. In summary, Google recommends that:
- A pop up does not block the user from visiting the site’s content
- A pop up doesn’t take up the majority of the screen space
- A pop up doesn’t take the user to a different page in order to close or bypass the pop-up
There are industries in which there are legal requirements to use pop ups that overlay the site’s content, which are the exception. But, if you’re using overlaying pop ups to force users to go check out your new deals or subscribe to your mailing list before they can continue browsing the site, you may do some serious harm to your SEO performance.*
*Note that this mainly refers to initial and time-delayed pop-ups. As of the moment of writing this FAQ, we don’t possess information that exit-style pop-ups harm SEO.
Contact Fire&Spark for a consultation on how to make sure your web design stays optimal for search engines.