How Google Sees Your Popups (SEO Tip)

mark l chaves
3 min readJul 1, 2019


This is How Google Sees Your Popups

Rewind to August 2016. Google announces that,

“To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

The excerpt above, is in direct reference to what Google refers to as intrusive interstitial design. Better known as popup windows that block you from what you’re trying to do on a site.

Fast forward two years later. Intrusive interstitial design is still alive and well. Maybe some folks like TripAdvisor can get away with it on the desktop?

This is the first thing I see when I go to TripAdvisor on a desktop browser. I feel this is intrusive to say the least. Luckily, they follow Google’s guidance by not displaying an interstitial for mobile devices.

TripAdvisor on mobile. No annoying popup on first load.

Review Your Popup Strategy

If you haven’t revisited how your site is displaying popups lately, or if you are just planning to implement popups, keep in mind how your visitors (and Google) will react. See if you can reduce or remove any intrusive popups from your desktop and foremost your mobile. Some, intrusive popups are valid in Google’s eyes. It helps to know the guidelines to keep your SEO healthy.

Below on the left is what Google deems as a responsible interstitial. On the right, is what happens when you visit Citilink’s site for the first time on mobile. Immediately, Citilink wants you to download their app. Remember the banner image at the top of this article— where the red X is? Not exactly making their content easily accessible according to Google.



mark l chaves

I slung code for Fortune 500 companies in a previous life. Now, I write and make some photographs. I’ve moved on to Portfolio on