Using lots of pop-up ads and interstitial pop-ups? Google is going to punish you.

Google will punish you for pop-up ads and interstitial pop-ups
Google will punish you for pop-up ads and interstitial pop-ups

How does Google punish you? Since it is not a law and order agency, the only way it can punish you is by lowering your search engine rankings. If your business depends on search engine traffic, and if most of your prospective customers and clients and users use the Google search engine, then it can really hit you hard. Anyway, why would Google punish you? Google will punish you if you use lots of pop-up ads.

Pop-up ads can be a big nuisance. You visit a website in search of some information and the moment you arrive you are bombarded with so many pop-ups that while closing them down you forget why in the first place you visited the website. The worst part is, when you’re trying to close particular pop-ups, they trigger more pop-ups.

Pop-up ads and interstitial pop-ups and webpages are a great nuisance when you are using your mobile phone to browse the Internet.

So is Google going to punish every website that has pop-ups? Not necessarily, according to this Webmasters blog post. Content quality still rules the roost but if somehow you are competing on the basis of the pop-ups that you may or may not have and the pop-ups your competitors may or may not have, the websites without pop-ups are going to get an advantage.

Google is going to punish websites having pop-ups and interstitials. Wondering what’s an interstitial? The literal meaning might be different, but in the context of websites, it is one of those hurdles you have to get over in order to reach the main content of the website. You must have noticed that sometimes when you visit a particular website, there is a webpage that prompts you to subscribe to a newsletter or purchase a product or just read some message before proceeding to the website or the web page. That is an interstitial. If your website has one of those, Google is going to punish you.

Ultimately, as Google has been saying since time immemorial, your search rankings are all about quality and ease of access. Quality is paramount to better search engine rankings but along with quality, accessibility and ease of use are also of great importance.

Why has Google decided to punish websites with pop-up ads and interstitial pop-ups?

On mobile phones, regular pop-ups and interstitial pop-ups are a greater problem because they can turn off users. On PCs and laptops there is still a way out as you can open multiple windows on your desktop but on a mobile phone the situation is already quite confined. There is not much you can do but to bear the brunt of pop-ups and interstitial pop-ups. If they repeatedly find such websites on Google then obviously they will prefer to use a search engine that leads them to better websites. This is the big reason why Google is going to punish websites having lots of pop-up ads and interstitial pop-ups.

Google is primarily going to punish websites that have

  • Pop-ups that cover the main content either immediately after you reach them from a search engine result or they are triggered after a while
  • Standalone interstitial pop-ups that you need to dismiss before you can access the main content of the website
  • Above-the-fold portion of the website acting as standalone interstitial – you have to scroll down considerably in order to access the actual content.

This is an interesting development because these days you can see pop-ups and interstitial pop-ups on every major website and if Google has decided to punish such websites, then lots of websites are going to be affected.

About Amrit Hallan
Amrit Hallan is the founder of He writes about technology not because "he loves to write about technology", he actually believes that it makes the world a better place. On Twitter you can follow him at @amrithallan

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