Google’s mobile pop-up penalty has started

We’ve been talking about Google’s upcoming penalty for mobile pop-ups, and it’s finally here. Starting this week, if you have a pop-up, or interstitial, on your mobile site, Google is going to punish you by lowering your ranking for the site. For industries with a business model that revolves around mobile, this is a crucial fix that needs to be done right away. Reducing your visibility means reducing your income, and the fix is so simple you can’t afford not to do it.

Everyone agrees that they all hate pop-ups, but we all know that they work, so they’re not going away any time soon. The key is going to be finding an acceptable form that Google won’t penalise. A

ccording to Google, there are a few pop-up types that are allowed. They’ll let you keep cookie notices—those announcements that inform visitors that you’re collecting cookies. You can also keep an in-store app when you want to encourage visitors to use the app instead of the site.

None of these pop-ups, even if they’re the acceptable type, should be larger than the size taken up by a banner. If you’ve got a full-page pop-up that pushes your page content down, Google is going to reduce your mobile search results.

In my opinion, it’s a fair punishment for something that’s annoyed mobile users for a long time. This is something you have to take care of this week.

If you’ve already got an app in-store pop-up, use it as a size template for any other mobile pop-ups you may add. Depending on your industry, it could mean the difference between profit and loss in your business.

This article was first published on

Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.

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