Google Will Punish Sites That Use Annoying Pop-ups

google pop-ups

Google will take a stronger stand against websites that use annoying pop-ups and other intrusive digital experiences. In a blog post, Google’s product management director, David Besbris, said the company will start penalizing sites that use ads. Particularly, those that take over the user’s screen that causes them to lose control of the browser. “Today, we’re launching the latest update to the AdSense,” said Besbris. He also wrote, “quality raters guidelines to include a new section on intrusive ad experiences”. This section instructs raters to assess whether the page contains any of the following types of ads. Ads that suddenly or unexpectedly shift contents to another page without user action. And also ads that start playing sound without user action


Google will punish sites that use annoying pop-ups

google pop-ups
image source: The Atlantic

The company had previously penalized publishers that used pop-up ads, but the updated guidelines now emphasize that ads. Specifically, those that cause the user to lose control of the browser are more severe violations. Google AdSense, one of the company’s revenue streams, generates about $50 billion in annual revenue. The company said about one-third of clicks on ads today are through mobile devices. It will penalize sites that deliver ad experiences that harm user experience or violate the site’s terms of service. Other companies, like Facebook, have been waging similar battles against intrusive ads. In 2016, Google updated its guidelines to ban ads or pop-ups for surprise subscription services. But that wasn’t the only change that displeased publishers: pop-up ads were banned, too.


What is an interstitial?

google pop-ups
image source; Clever Tap

When an ad accompanies a web page, it might have a “checkout” button. It is an animation that triggers or slows down the page as a form of persuasion. It shows a  pop-up window that asks users to confirm their interest in a product or service, or something similar. The problem is that they’re often hard to ignore and tend to block the user’s view of the page. For example, take a look at this ad from Shopify. It depicts an illustration of a child sliding a “checkout” button. Lesley Carhart is the CEO of AdGuard, a company that develops anti-ad blocking software. “Interstitial ads generally aren’t helpful to users and can make the entire site seem spammed” Carhart said. ” Like the user has missed out on a piece of content.” he added.


What are pop-ups and why do people (or Google) not like them?

google pop-ups
image source: RoundPeg

“We’re updating the section to provide an example of intrusive ads. Google is also updating its Ad Experience Report dashboard to provide easy to understand visibility into the rankings and reports. Google provides to webmasters who receive poor grades. “This new visibility will give website owners a view of their recent ad ranking and detailed reporting” Besbris wrote. “Regarding both ad quality and site ranking” He added. According to Google’s top-performing advertisements, Bing is the highest ranked ad for search ads and Microsoft’s response to Alexa.


Google is annoyed with the pop-ups

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image source: Alchemy

The ad takes over the page or the entire browser. It controls the browser behavior or functions without user action. Google began to crack down on these types of ads or pop-ups last summer. It issued new guidelines for quality raters to help them better assess pop-ups. As a result, Google has cut down on pop-up blocking in Google Search. Afterwards, it resulted in many websites tweaking their code to avoid being labeled as malicious. Users are not the only ones with an issue with these types of ads. In Addition, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have complained that pop-ups cause congested networks. These ads are often placed over their networks to redirect users to other websites.


Why do companies use them?

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image source: Socital

Many websites rely on pop-up ads to make money. The ads are an extremely popular method of selling products online. Mainly because the ad money is generated in less than a second. Advertisers rarely pay for any additional advertisement space. Ads that take over the browser or force a user to download an app are considered intrusive. It may result in Google reducing a site’s ad-revenue. Google will use a scoring system to evaluate how invasive an ad is. Google’s goal, is to make sure sites “do not unnecessarily disrupt users”. Besbris said the changes will affect less than 1% of AdSense publishers. How much do sites make from AdSense?


Google’s new ranking algorithm will penalize sites that use these ads

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image source: SEO Biz World

These are those ads that show buttons to ‘convert to’, ‘redirect to’ ,’buy now’. Google’s new ranking algorithm will penalize sites that use these following ads. First, ads that replace content on the page with pop-up ads. Next, Ads that overlay the whole page with animation or scrolling Google’s new ranking algorithm will penalize sites. Third, ads that display or operate audio, video or other content on their own without any user action. Fourth, ads that contain unexpected color changes, animation, layout or other design elements. Lastly, ads that ask the user to agree to something when they are not signed into a Google account.


Google will punish sites that use annoying pop-ups

google pop-up
image source: The Hoth

Ads that cause the browser to unexpectedly close without user action. According to Bebris, “We’ve seen more than 40 million quality reports from sites using AdSense”. He added, “Since we launched the Quality Raters Guidelines in 2011″ . He also wrote “That’s roughly an additional 300 million user experiences to evaluate” . Google launched its AdSense platform in 2005. In fact, it has been taking steps to improve its advertising standards. Specifically, by taking on the role of a filter for websites. It has assigned websites the AdSense Promotional Classification, which allows website owners to raise money from pop-up ads. With that classification, publishers pay Google when a user clicks on an ad.


What is an interstitial in Google pop-ups?

google pop-up
image source: Clever Tap

The practice of putting ads in a window that automatically shifts or takes over a user’s screen has become prevalent. It’s a highly annoying experience that is especially frustrating when you’re trying to visit a website and you expect to see only a regular pop-up window, which is how ads have been handled in the past. Google’s new ad policies are about making the experience more consistent. Who will Google punish? Google would not penalize sites with less than 1,000 monthly active users. The new ad regulations are intended to target more “poorly performing” advertising. It would be a minor percentage of the more than 200,000 sites currently on Google’s network.


What are pop-ups and why do people not like them?

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image source: Round Peg

Google will start using the new guidelines in January. The company plans to remove advertisers from sites that repeatedly violate its advertising policies, including pop-ups. Google’s search rankings will also be penalized. “In cases where an advertiser continues to exhibit bad ad experiences, we may temporarily withhold their ads from appearing on Google Search, Google Ads, and YouTube.


The pop-up is annoying

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image source: Alchemy

All three of these types of ads will now be considered intrusive ads. AdSense customers with top-tier publishers will be subject to increased monitoring if they show one of them, and they could eventually receive a penalty. The change is a big victory for publishers like, The Verge, Wired and TechCrunch who have complained about these types of ads and Google’s lack of oversight. While some may interpret this decision as the end to abusive ads from AdSense publishers, others will say it’s a barrier to publishing content on sites like The Verge. If your website earns too much money from Google, it’s going to take you more time to deal with pop-up blockers and banner blockers, and you’ll end up pushing out content that isn’t as polished.


Why do companies use them?

advertising
image source: Socital

Partly, they use them for monetization, said Arun Balakrishnan, a senior program manager at Adobe Systems Inc., in San Jose. Many display advertisers want more clicks and traffic, which they can get by making users load a banner ad. If they can trick users into playing a video ad, they’ll get more clicks. As websites compete with each other to attract visitors, some of them use ads as free cash for their business, Balakrishnan said. And it’s hard for a website to decide how intrusive an ad is without measuring how many times a user has seen it, he said. These tactics are nothing new. A Pew Research Center study of online ads last year showed that 92% of desktop display ads were so-called pre-rolls, or video ads that play before a video plays.


Google’s new ranking algorithm will penalize sites that use these pop-ups

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image source: SEO Biz World

“We found that these types of ad experiences can divert a user away from the page they’re intended to visit, often resulting in a user abandonment and poor ad quality ratings.” Starting this month, Google says it will start using a new algorithm to more strictly regulate sites that use intrusive ads, although the guidelines don’t specify what actions the company will take against sites that violate them. Google says it will take a more lenient stance against sites that are firstly, out of its quality program, and secondly, first reported violations. In 2015, Google said it would allow websites to participate in its quality program while still displaying these ad experiences as long as they only displayed one type of ad.

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