As an affiliate, the position your website ranks at on Google is probably something you care about a lot. And if you don’t, you should. After all, we all know that if you’re not near the top of page 1, you’re virtually invisible to your intended audience.

So it matters greatly that you do everything you can to maintain a good position for as many relevant keyword phrases as possible in the long term. It just makes sense, right?

But the Google algorithm changes so often, it can be hard to keep up with. And some of the changes Google makes can have a massive impact on your ranking position.

One such change came in 2017, in the form of a crackdown on websites which use intrusive pop-ups. These are the kind of pop-ups that block a visitors view of what they expected to find when they clicked on a link in Google. They’re annoying, and Google was quite right to penalize sites using them.

If we think about it, all Google changes focus on improving the user experience for people browsing the net, and this is no exception.

Google wants you to EARN your right to appear

When you’re searching online, how do you feel if you’re looking for something and ‘things’ keep getting in the way? If you’re anything like me, I’ll bet any pop-ups that appear over the text you’re trying to read are clicked away without you even so much as looking at the content on them. And if you can’t find a way to ‘get rid’, what do you do? You click back to Google.

When Google sees this happening, it’s a clear indicator that the site in question is not giving the visitor the information they actually came for. Therefore, why should it deserve to rank highly for it?

In the past, affiliates would see great success from using intrusive pop-ups to sign visitors up to newsletters, get them interested in an offer or to simply sell them a product. But those days are over.

These days, Google is putting more and more focus on websites being ‘mobile first’, due to the fact that more people now browse the net on a mobile device than a desktop PC.

Intrusive pop-ups are annoying on any device, but they’re also literally the worst thing you can put on your website so far as mobile-friendliness goes. As the screens are smaller, it can be extremely difficult – if not impossible for a visitor to find the little ‘X’ to get rid of the popup, leaving them with only one option – to click back to Google. And what does that tell Google? You guessed it!


So why did intrusive pop-ups work so well in the past?

Quite simply, people didn’t know any better. The internet was younger, people were more naive, less skeptical and less ‘banner blind’ than they are now.

Just like chain-mail used to suck in every teenager in the neighborhood through fear of their best friend getting ran over by a truck the next day if they ignored it, these days it’s seen as nothing more than an annoying nuisance which everyone ignores. And the same goes for intrusive pop-ups. No one wants to see them anymore. They do more than just put people off – they annoy them. They make your website look spammy, possibly untrustworthy, and amateurish.

Why would anyone spend time on a site which pushes advertising in their face in an intrusive, annoying way? And why would Google present this kind of website to people if they know it makes them click away? Quite simply, and honestly – they won’t.

It’s time to move on from intrusive pop-ups

Sorry to say it, but you’re going to have to break free from your old relationship with intrusive pop-ups. It’s not you, it’s them, and I’m afraid It’s just not going to work anymore. In fact, if you have these on your site right now, I’d put money on the fact that you’d be ranking higher on Google if you got a pop-up divorce.

Sure, some small pop-ups are ok, possibly even essential, such as:

  • Cookie consent messages
  • Age verification pop-ups
  • Small newsletter sign up banners

But these days, there’s just no benefit to having a full page pop-up spreading across your site. It’s not what your visitor expected, and it’s certainly not what they want to see.

Make the break and improve your visitor’s user experience of your site today. What do you have to lose?

Let us know in the comments below just how your rankings and conversions change when you give intrusive pop up’s a push!