Google’s Newest Update is Punishing Pop Ups
Google announced this week that websites that use intrusive interstitials (such as popups) will be punished. Google’s purpose in this is to make sure your site’s content is easily accessible and there are no barriers preventing users from receiving the content they came to your site for.
I’ve seen a couple of people grumble about this today and I’m familiar with the frustration and the rigmarole that comes with a Google change that may carry implications for me or my clients. But I’d like to play devil’s advocate…
Don’t the content providers deserve a good portion of the blame here? This is a classic cow/milk problem where publishers made the decision that their content should be free. So the milk is free but we still need to make money on the cow or else we can’t provide milk. So the solution is “OK, the milk can still be free, we’re just going to make it really hard for people to use the udder.”
Maybe I’m carrying this analogy too far.
But, whether we like it or not, Google is the only online entity with the “authority” to push these kinds of changes and they are almost always positive and aimed at rewarding good online experiences for users. They mandated the mobile web because companies weren’t making it enough of a priority, they drew a line in the sand over site speed because site owners didn’t care enough, and they are doing this because too many publishers abused pop ups and interstitials. Why should users be punished because publishers didn’t think the milk thing all the way through?
Publishers aren’t the only culprits here, it’s also a reflection on inbound marketing and lead generation consultants (this one not included, by the way) who have been selling popups as a surefire easy way to get leads.
Google is just holding their party line that site features that foster poor user experience will also foster poor SEO.
This change will impact a lot of people and many folks will have to make some tough decisions about their sites. But as online marketers, when have we ever been truly frightened of this kind of change? It’s a challenge to all of us to do better and I actually like that.