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Google Me, Google You – Goodbye Popups.

by | Last updated: Dec 8, 2022

In this Google related article we look at:
1. Popups – Good or bad
2. Google results – how to manage yours
3. Google Micro Moments – ZMOT what is that?
4. HTTPs – Does it make a difference to your website
5. How to rank well in Google

Popups in advertising – annoying and soon to disappear

MeanIT Google Results
At last Google have decided to punish sites that use annoying popups. Starting with the mobile view, for obvious reasons, in January 2017, these popups will become a negative ranking factor. Marketers have been dramatically over-using this technique, whilst many new companies have sprung up to provide the service. The popups are like having someone approach you as soon as you enter a shop, asking “what can i do for you?”

which is code for what can i sell you. Like slick salesmen in shiny suits, the popups are used to try to funnel you to buy a particular product, sign up to a service or they ask you to subscribe before getting access to promised content. A good website, like a good salesperson should provide useful information and facilitate a sale rather than try to bully you to buy. People will browse many sites to look at products, read reviews, check pricing etc before making a decision to buy. “Buyers have changed the way they buy, so sellers need to change the way they sell.”

Top 10 PopUp Mistakes

  1. Hiding the ‘X’- This is sneaky- if people want to exit a popup let them!
  2. Putting the ‘X’ to the left. Your audience is used to it appearing on the right
  3. Audio- BIG mistake
  4. Filling the screen with a sign up box
  5. Flashing Imagery. Tacky and unnecessary
  6. Having popup appear more than once on homepage
  7. Or worse, configuring popup to appear on EVERY PAGE
  8. Spamming customers who actually sign up to newsletter. These people should be rewarded not punished
  9. Spelling Errors. If you are going to force something on your audience, at least spell it correctly!
  10. Having Instant Chat AND popup. Overkill.

Jackie Edwards writes:

“Understanding Google’s Mobile Pop Up Algorithm Changes

Google Analytics image from UnsplashIf your organisation’s website or blog greets mobile users with a popup attempting to entice guests to join your loyalty program or sign up for a newsletter, you have likely experienced a decrease in traffic to your site this year. Back in August of last year, Google announced they were going to penalise sites with mobile popups. Known as the “popup penalty,” this algorithm change went into effect in January of this year.

What Is the Popup Penalty?

The new algorithm penalises the following:

  • Full-screen popups that have to be closed to get to the content.
  • Smaller popups that make it impossible or tough to read the content.
  • Popups that push the content down and take up the whole screen, so users have to scroll below the fold to get to the content.

Basically, if your popups get in the way of mobile users enjoying your content, Google will ding you. Your SEO suffers when you have an exit intent popup or timed popup that meets any of the above criteria.

Are All Popups Bad?

Under the popup penalty, not all popups are created equal. For instance, Google will still allow popups for accepting cookies and other legal purposes. You can also keep your login popups and small, non-intrusive app banners. Put yourself in the shoes of the user to understand if you need to get rid of a popup. Google will probably dock you if your popup is intrusive enough that it might upset users trying to access your content.

Alternatives to Mobile Popups

You probably can’t stand popups on other sites, even if you use them on your own. No one likes popups. Google is well-aware of this. Yet, popups are great for building email lists, getting people to sign up for your newsletter, and much more. So, how do you collect emails without intrusive popups?

A strong call to action along with a signup footer at the bottom of your website is one way to grow your email list. You might also consider non-intrusive banners at the bottom or top of your site that do not get in the way of your content. Another popular solution is attention-grabbing signup forms in your content that integrate well with your post.

Basically, visitors will want more info when you give them something of value. Google will not penalise your site when you give users the opportunity to engage with your organization without using annoying welcome mats or popup ads.” – Jackie Edwards


Google Results – you can dictate what people see

Hands up who used Google in the last Month?
Hands up who used Google in the last Week?
Hands up who used Google in the last Day?
Hands up who used Google in the last Hour?

When did you last Google your Service or Product? Your Company or your product name? Your own name?

Do it and see what other people are seeing – is there anything there at all? If there is, does it read well? Would it entice people to contact you? How can you improve the


content of the results?

People are constantly Googling what you offer, the product or service, but may not be finding you or perhaps your CTAs (Calls to Action) may be ineffective. Consider the results to be your 24/7 advertising, so get the wording and the flow right. Work on it until it works better and then improve it and then start over again. Check it out on different computers, smartphones and browsers.

This is not an optional suggestion this is grassroots important. Ignore this at your peril, because your competitor will not ignore it.

Google Virtual Assistant

Google will say that they want to be the world’s virtual assistant, that they want to help you find exactly what you are looking for, that they want to find the best answer to your query at any given moment. It sounds so simple and they may see it that way, so they work hard to see that natural language search becomes smooth and that people can voice search, talk to the Google machine, on your phone and get the best answer quickly. Anyone who fulfills the EAT conditions; Expertise, Authority and Trust, will find their answer get used first, if they are correct or look as if they are correct. A perfect answer will appear before all the competition, paid or organic. If I ask who was the highest ever goal scorer in Manchester United, I should get the answer from the Manchester United website, if they have indeed answered that question on their club website. Failing that I would probably get a result from the BBC Sports section. If Google rates this answer as the best, it will use it and see if it gets clicked. Google are also answering many questions right on the page, to keepyou on their website.Then we, the browsing public, vote by clicking, telling Google if they have the best answer. Sound fair? As someone said Google is simply an advertising company with a loss leader in their search engine. They make their money by getting you to stay on their page until you are ready to click on a paid for advert.

Help Google get it right for the searcher and for you.

Take all the questions people ask you about, you, your product or service and answer them in your website, just as if some customer walked through your door. Write them up with every detail, add images or video, add links to relevant material or similar products. Again, this is all very simple, but have you done it? This is crucial to getting good results in search and will become even more important. Google has hundreds of algorithms and a Rater Handbook to work out if your website is fulfilling the EAT criteria.

Google Micro Moments

Googles Micro Moments – If you have not already heard reference to Google and Micro-Moments, it refers to that point in time when someone has a need and does a search, especially when they turn to their smartphones when they want to know something, go somewhere, do something and buy something. This is the new norm in a mobile-first world as Google refers to it, that single point in time when someone wants an answer to a question, so they do a Google search.

A lot of research is going in to this, because search will work best if the correct answers can be delivered quickly, with the most up to date relevant information. Google always aims to be the number one choice for search.
For companies who advertise we are advised to consider this too. How do I get tickets for the 6 Nations? Where can I get a tyre repaired in Galway? Best solicitor in Donegal? Obvious questions that need simple answers. It may seem basic, but try doing a search where you ask a question which brings up a page from your website. If you ask the sort of question that a potential customer is likely to ask, why do you not come up on Page 1? And if you are on Page 1 what happens when you get a click? Do you get a new customer, make a sale, get a new subscriber? Google did a slot of research around what it calls the ZMOT or Zero Moment of Truth. The research highlighted the fact that the old way of advertising and getting a reaction is less effective, because people search for what they want rather than what is being advertised. This can dilute the effect of advertising as we know it and certainly means that people can find answers when they want them as opposed to when they are faced with advertising.

Again, for some people, especially younger people, this may seem like common sense, but the way companies have advertised in the past, means that they are slow to change, to adapt to a new digital landscape, a mobile-first environment, where a smartphone is assisting with answers to every question, anything that people want to know, go, do or buy. The old way of getting to the moment of truth, to the buying decision was to advertise to create a stimulus to buy, whereas now shoppers research what they want to know, where they want to go, what they want to do or what they want to buy. Typically a shopper might look at 10 to 14 sources of information before deciding to buy. You want to be there when they decide to buy, so offer more than just products, offer advice, help, guides and show testimonials, case studies, before and after images etc.

Google prioritises HTTPS websites ?

HTTPS and Google search

Google has declared that websites using encryption by default will rank higher based on the newest algorithms. Scrambling data has become a lower cost option and this decision by Google may see a move towards HTTPS as standard.

There will challenges in terms of latency or delivery speeds, but the technologies exist now that can bypass these issues. It will be seen by many as a signal that Google is leading the way to protect data that is transmitted through the medium of the web. US authorities specifically the NSA, may back this up and look for the same thing. Already Gmail is behind HTTPs as is Yahoos servers and Facebook. Small business will say this is just another way for big business to get a head on the net. Watch this space, but do expect that Enterprise websites will adopt this, sooner rather than later. How will this affect you ?


Search Engine Friendly websites

Ranking highly in Google search

Visibility in Search is vital in your Digital or Online Marketing strategy, which is why we give it such importance when we do a Personalised Web Strategy Proposal for a Client. We optimise the Home page of even the smallest Static or brochure sites. We will do the same for all pages if requested, ensuring that Navigation is simple, logical and Search Engine Friendly, as well as making sense to the expected Human traffic.

Content comes from the Client, but we will happily advise on best practice and train users or Digital Marketers to make the best use of our CMS Content Management System. Quality of content is likely to be the difference between Page 1 and Page 5. This is great news for people who create great original, interesting, useful content – you will be rewarded for organic content with better organic search results.

MeanIT Google Search Ranking

Recent changes in Google Algorithms mean that Search is more ‘Intent’ oriented, so normal people will enter a sentence rather than Keywords and Google is getting better at responding to this Sentence search. Rather than type in Pizza Dublin, we can ask “Where is the best Italian Pizzeria in Dublin ?” Google now looks for Intent and will reply to sentences. Google is getting better at voice Activated search, so a Smartphone becomes a Digital Assistant with all the answers – this will get better and better, much more “Siri-ous” ! Requests for contact numbers or urls are handled more readily, so Assistants like Siri seem smarter and smarter. Call MeanIT Siri !

Tip: Page Title limit it to 70 Characters and limit Description 150 Characters Add Keywords for good measure

Apple gave us Siri and at first we laughed, but now it is getting Sirious.

By 2018 we will use Siri differently, we will be asking Siri rather MeanIT Voice Activated Searchthan typing in to Google. Voice activated search will have arrived. Google has Moto X or Google Now, Get ready for it ! People do not want to have to type keywords, so smartphones will be the medium for asking questions – where will the answers come from ? The Internet of Things makes the world very different for all of us. For Google and Apple it is time for battle.

Google knows that Intent is crucial – what do people want as they talk questions in to their phone ? Look out for SEO opportunities in longer tail search than ever before. Content was King and now it will become Emperor too.

To make up for lost income in Search via computers Google will probably reduce the number of Organic Results to 5 per page rather than 10. They will use their vast resources to answer questions directly as the Semantic Web takes hold and they will want to keep any visitors on the page longer by offering more and more from their stable of products.

About The Author

Do you want more traffic?

Hi, at MEANit we help 34 ‘Professional Services Firms‘ to be effective online annually. Will your business be one of the 34 in 2024?


Written by Michael MacGinty

Michael is a well known speaker, author and coach on SEO and how to use the web to grow a business. He is also WP Elevation certified as a Digital Business Consultant.
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