Episode 168 – Google 2017 Update: Websites With “Intrusive” Mobile Pop Ups Will Be Punished

Episode 168 – Google 2017 Update: Websites With “Intrusive” Mobile Pop Ups Will Be Punished

Google just announced that websites with “intrusive” mobile popups will be punished and they’ll lower the rankings of these websites starting from January 2017. Listen to the audio below to learn about the new update and how you can continue to use live chat pop ups on your website.


Today, I want to talk to you about an important issue that has recently popped up, actually pun intended. Google just released a statement talking about pop-ups on websites. So this includes live chat, forms that you have to fill in and all of that stuff. Their motivation is that they say mobile is now the predominant force in how people view the web. Most emails are opened up on mobile devices, most website visits now are mobile, not laptop, not desktop. So I talked about this before, a very, very important issue, and here we have Google talking about it. They talked about it at April 21st last year. They want the websites to be mobile friendly or else, meaning they would penalize your ranking. Now, just about a week ago, they came out and they said that you have to change and watch out how you are doing pop-ups on your website, live chat, that kind of thing, otherwise we’re going to penalize you as well. They are giving everyone a grace period. It’s not till January but January will come very quickly. So what do you do? Does this mean you can’t have a pop-up? No.

We looked at Google’s guidelines specifically because we have live chat on a lot of our clients’ sites and live chat gets leads. And some of them, there will be pop-ups or forms that kind of thing. So what Google suggests to do is look at your website on mobile, on vertical format on a mobile device and look how the live chat box pops up if you have it, look at any other pop ups you have, make sure that they don’t cover too much of the screen. Well, here is where it gets kind of dicey. So I would say less than half is probably safe according to their guidelines. Too much is the whole thing. Half, I bet, anything that’s most of the screen, which is more than half, you’re going to get in trouble. So do less than half. So you are going to have to have your live chat modified if you have it; again, if you have a form, same thing. It can’t take up the whole screen. The reason it’s saying is basically the reason they say for everything is they are obsessively focused on their users’ experience. Do people have a good time using Google, do they get the result they want right away, or do they get irrelevant garbage. And when they go to the website, they’ll show up in Google, do those sites help them or do they have articles stuffed full of keywords like “Los Angeles Injury Lawyer”, “Injury Lawyer Los Angeles”, do they have pop-ups that cover the screen that they can’t click off of or get rid of or forms and all of that stuff. Another thing too is do the pop-ups and the forms come up immediately as soon as you get to the site or do they come up after a delay, 30 seconds or a minute. So we have that delay built-in but it’s something you got to look at is on mobile, are your pop-ups and everything delayed or they’re coming up immediately. Why, why is that bad? Because the person doesn’t have a chance to look at your site. It’s like someone coming into your store and you jump in front of them and say, “Hey, buy this or sign up for this right now”, and they haven’t even seen the store, they didn’t even know if they want to buy or not. So same thing with your website visitors. They got to get there, look around just a little bit and decide good site, bad site, stay or leave, then you could put a pop-up in front of them.

Well, some people think, and I am going to go into this briefly, that pop-ups are annoying. They can be but one thing is your experience is not necessarily your potential client’s experience. You are not your potential client, please remember that, especially because you have been an attorney for X number of years and you have expert training, there is no emotion tide into what you do on any one particular case usually, so even if you are defending someone for murder, you have far less emotion in it than your client and it’s actually a good practice not to be emotional because then you get sucked in and make [inaudible – 0:04:21.7] decisions and you know the deal. So when looking at your site and looking at all the stuff, look at it the same way as you are as an attorney, look at it with a dispassionate eye, don’t get caught up in “Well, I like this”, “Well, I think that people would like that, I think this color is pretty”, or, “I like that, I don’t like how this — what you think and what you like – a), I got to break it to you – doesn’t matter. Even what I think and I like doesn’t matter. I have more of an educated view on it, sure, but that doesn’t mean if I like something that it’s going to get people to call more often or click more often or engage. So we do a lot of testing. You should do the same. Again, don’t just go with I like and I want. Same thing with pop-ups. Don’t just assume, “Oh, this annoys me so they are no good”. Our testing and our actual empirical data show that live chat, for instance, will help get you 5 to 10 per cent more leads. That’ll help, that’s why I want to put it on your site. Other things hurt but this is just again databased analysis instead of “I like, I want, I feel, I think” analysis which really serves nobody.

So hopefully this helps you. If you need any help in getting ready for the January update, if your website is not yet mobile-friendly, you got to get on that. But if you are worried about what’s going to happen come January, the time to act is now, not the last second before Google penalizes you. So to take action now, call 888-225-8594, or email Richard.Jacobs@speakeasymarketinginc.com.


Richard Jacobs

About Richard Jacobs

My name is Richard Jacobs, and I've discovered quite a bit about the plight of solo practitioners and small, 2-5 attorney firms like yours these past 12 years.

I've come to understand the unique challenges in marketing ethically and effectively that attorneys face because I have:

  • Helped over 180 attorneys author their own practice area book and become the 'implied expert' in their practice area
  • Helped hundreds of attorneys successfully navigate Google's search algorithm changes, growing their websites from 2 potential clients calling a month to 4+ calls per DAY for some clients.
  • Interviewed and promoted over 507 attorneys nationwide, in practice areas such as:
  • DUI / DWI
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Bankruptcy
  • Auto Accidents
  • Social Security Disability
  • Slip & Falls (Premises Liability)
  • Real Estate
  • Estate Planning / Probate
  • Wage and Hour Claims
  • Expungements / Post Conviction Relief

Before you decide to invest in your marketing, it makes sense to first request your complimentary, custom, no obligation video website review.

Richard is the author of 6 books published on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.com

Richard is available for speaking engagements on direct marketing for attorneys and has recently spoken at the following legal conferences:

  • PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association)
  • Las Vegas DUI Summit – Private event for DUI attorneys
  • New York Boutique Lawyers Association
  • Perry Marshall & Associates Marketing Academy (Marina Del Rey, CA)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)