We all know this: getting people to sign up to your mailing list is super important. But at which cost? When it comes to pop-up, the general rule used to be: “Yes, they are annoying. But somehow, they still work!”.
Which means people used them a lot, and sometimes improperly.
Google caught up, though.
This might be old new to you, but Google started penalizing mobile websites with intrusive pop-ups at the beginning of 2017.
In case you didn’t hear about this, I thought it’d be good to talk about what is a good pop-up and what you should totally avoid if you don’t want to see your rank plummet.
What not to do when it comes to pop-ups
First, pop-ups are not entirely banned by Google. But they are on mobile. This is the first distinction I want you to make.
The problem is that a lot of people created pop-ups for their desktop website and didn’t optimize them for mobile, which meant that the little X button to close the page didn’t show up on your screen. Therefore, you couldn’t access the website at all!
Google figured out that it really annoyed its users and decided to ban them.
What to do instead
But that doesn’t mean that pop-ups are banned on desktop websites. You can still use them, just disable them on mobiles.
Or better yet, use a small banner at the top of the screen instead of a full-page pop-up. Google just wants its users to be able to access the content it promised, but it you take less than 20% of the screen to ask them to join your mailing list, it’s totally legit!
This is what Google says is approved:
The first two examples are pop-ups that are legal requirements (like for cookies and age), so they’re obviously accepted. The interesting example is the third one. It shows the size of a banner that would be accepted.
Think of the app banner that appears if you visit the Instagram website from your phone, for example. That’s the kind of banner that’s accepted.
And what about desktop pop-ups?
There’s one rule I like to follow:
It shouldn’t show up in the face of your visitors before they actually got a good look at your website.
So maybe your 3-second delay is too early. How about giving me at least 30 seconds first, or letting me scroll 70% of the page?
Otherwise, just use common sense to create an offer your visitors might actually take you up on and give them value in exchange for their emails!
Oh, and make sure the pop-ups can be closed at all times! (Because that’s really the most annoying thing!)