Pop Ups – Love 'em or Lose 'em?

Posted by Mary Ann Hegvold on February 17, 2017


Are you trying to decide if you should add a pop up message on your website? Or maybe you're trying to decide if the one you have working well. Here are three factors you should consider related to your  you'll want to review your pop up plan and make adjustments if needed.

1: The Annoying Factor

70% of Americans report being annoyed by irrelevant popups. Who wouldn't be annoyed when the screen is taken over by something that has nothing to do with what you're trying to learn or buy? This applies to person or business website visits. If the pop up isn't somehow correlated to what you're looking for, you're going to give the eye roll (you know you do it) and a quick click to close the window ASAP. But, if the pop up offers more in-depth content related to what you're trying to find, or perhaps an email sign up with the promise of giving them something related to the content of the page, then it wouldn't be considered irrelevant. And that's when things start working.

2: The Abrasive Factor

Have you ever seen a pop up that makes you feel like a jerk for declining? I've seen some really offensive ones like:

Would you like to subscribe to our email to get updates from the veterinarian?
Yes, I love my pets. --or-- No, I don't really care about my pets.

What? Just because I don't want to sign up for whatever they're offering doesn't make me an animal hater. And who wants their visitors to associate these negative feelings with their products or services? Consider choosing text that doesn't give anyone a guilt trip. Here's that same example, but less abrasive:

Would you like to subscribe to our email to receive helpful updates from the veterinarian?
Yes, I love to learn new things  about my cute, cuddly pets. --or-- No thanks, my inbox is already full.

Being kind in your pop up offer could be the difference between a visitor staying or leaving because of how you've made them feel.

3: The Google Factor

Have you seen how your pop up works on a phone? Google is starting to penalize sites that have any of these pop ups:

  • The pop up covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone pop up that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the "above-the-fold" portion of the page (what you see before you have to scroll) appears as though it was a pop up with the actual content lower on the page, forcing you to get past what looks like an ad.

These are called intrusive interstitials by Google. But for the average website user, they're called really irritating. And your website's mobile SEO rankings can drop if you don't follow the guidelines.

Be sure you've experienced your pop up on the phone screen. If the experience is like any of these, you should quickly consider a different format.


What Kinds of Pop Ups Work?

  1. Make sure the content in the pop up is related to what the visitor is looking for.
  2. Don't force the offer upon arriving on the website. At that moment your visitor really doesn't know if that's a good fit. Give them a few moments before showing it.
  3. Place the pop up in a place on the screen that's noticeable, but does not stop the visitor from accessing the content they really want.
    • Top banner
    • Appear in the bottom right corner
    • Center of the screen, but doesn't take over the entire screen

Here are two services that offer free tools for creating pop ups that meet Google's requirements and look good:

If you're thinking about working on your website to increase leads, here is a free guide that you can use to think about some of the details that will make your site great!

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Topics: SEO