In Google’s Office-hours Hangout recorded on 25 March 2022, Google’s John Mueller discussed whether using popup banners on your website had a role to play in affecting your search performance and overall rankings. Answering with a resounding confirmation, yes, popup banners do affect a website’s rankings and quite possibly other aspects of core Web Vitals, and not in a good way. In a question posed by one of the viewers that went on to ask if banner or banners popping up right on the pages could influence rankings in any way, John went on to answer by taking into consideration CWV Metrics like Cumulative Layout Shift, Largest Contentful Paint, and Google’s Page Layout Algorithm. Let’s have a full picture of the story in question.
Yes, Popup Banners Negatively Affect Page’s Rankings
Here is what the viewer asked.
“Could my rankings be influenced by a banner popping up on my page?”
To which John acknowledged that it could very well affect it in a negative way. But also added that there a plethora of things that start coming into play when one uses popup banners on the website that end up being intrusive and obstructive in providing a seamless user experience for the viewers.
He said, and we quote.
“And yes, they could be, as well. There are multiple things that kind of come into play with regards to banners. On the one hand we have within the Page Experience Report; we have that aspect of intrusive interstitials. And if this banner comes across as an intrusive interstitial, then that could negatively affect the site there.
The other thing is that often with banners, you have side effects on the cumulative layout shift, like how the page renders when it’s loaded. Or with regards to the …I forgot what the metric is when we show a page… The LCP I think, also from the Core Web Vitals side with regards to that page.
So those are different elements that could come into play here. It doesn’t mean it has to be that way. But depending on the type of banner that you’re popping up, it can happen.”
What is CLS and LCP and what are its Core Web Vital Standard?
As per Google, “Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is a Core Web Vitals metric that you can use to quantify the impact of layout shifts on your site, both in the lab and in the field.
The standards for Core Web Vitals recommend that your site’s 75th percentile CLS is less than 0.1 to be considered “good”. This standard covers all layout shifts on your site, not only those caused by ads.”
Whereas LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) is an important, user-centric metric for measuring perceived load speed because it marks the point in the page load timeline when the page’s main content has likely loaded—a fast LCP helps reassure the user that the page is useful.
Couple the above two with Google’s Page Layout Algorithm, which was designed to de-rank websites with interfering popups and you’ve got yourself quite a conundrum. While a non-interfering popup might get away with it, but it might end up impacting the other Core Web Vitals metrics we discussed above and still affect your page’s ranking in a negative way. The takeaway – either do away with using popup banners entirely and focus on other non-interfering ways of dealing with whatever your popup intended to deal with, or make your page’s CLS and LCP metrics so strong that the popup doesn’t end up causing a huge dent in the way they function. Watch John Mueller’s full response to question at the 39:31 minute mark and may be also stick around for the rest of the discussion for some other valuable insights.
Source: Search Engine Journal