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How Pop-Ups, Overlays, Modals, and Interstitials Interact with SEO

How do pop-ups, overlays, and other elements affect your website? As it turns out, depending on how these aspects affect your user experience, they could be having a negative impact on your SEO. Between standard usage practices and Google’s official guidelines, there are a few ideas of how to balance these website additions and their potentially negative impacts. When it comes to what aspects matter the most, the major ones are:

Time – Do these elements slow down your loading time? Does it take a certain amount of time for them to show up? If a pop-up of some kind is immediately prominent, it may have a bad impact if it increases page loading time or if it can’t be closed for a period of time. In general, if the element doesn’t take long to load or close, it may not be as big of a deterrent for search engines. However, page aspects that load later after first reaching a page and can be closed quickly are better.

User Interaction – Does the element distract from a viewer’s experience? If the element prevents site content from being read or interacted with, which is especially an issue on mobile platforms, then your website may be facing severe consequences with your SEO. The aim is usability, so ensuring that any pop-up sections don’t interfere with site usage is key!

Pop-up Content – What is in your pop-up? If there’s a site-relevant question, form, or even other related media, then search engines may overlook them if they’re adding to the overall site experience. This also applies if there’s a necessary warning about cookies or legal questions, which may be necessary. However, if a pop-up is purely an advertisement, this doesn’t bode well.

Pop-up Conditions – Are there certain conditions in which the pop-ups may or may not show? There are options when making these site additions appear– if you disable them for search engine users, they may be ignored completely as far as SEO is concerned. You can also alter them so that they only appear to users that are logged in, ones that have allowed cookies, or after a certain amount of time on a page. The less these elements appear for users directed from search engines, the better.

Overall, these aspects are the most important when it comes to whether your SEO will be negatively affected by site additions like pop-ups. Altogether, they form the general sense of engagement– which is what really matters here. Your SEO will be negatively impacted if your website tends to use elements that disrupt or undermine engagement, meaning users are having a harder time or are less willing to interact with your site. Take careful care to balance what overlaying parts of your site appear and when, and if you need help finding a good technique, give i3 a call!

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