In Google’s SEO Office Hours, John Mueller responded to a question about whether popup banners could affect SERP rankings. John responded to the question by describing the technical explanation of how banners could be harmful to search rankings, as well as other Core Web Vitals concerns.
The answer goes far beyond the headline discussion. The reason is more technical because it relates to Core Web Vitals ranking factors. They can influence by popup banners, which can have an impact on your website rankings.
Core Web Vitals
John Mueller mentions two aspects of the Core Web Vitals metrics in his response. As a result, before jumping to his answer, it is critical to define these two aspects first.
- CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift)
- LCP (Largest Contentful Paint)
CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift)
Cumulative Layout Shift is a Core Web Vitals metric that measures how a website page’s layout changes while it is loading. Fonts and images are the main factors that influence the metric. Slowly loading images may cause the words to shift to the bottom. And Fonts that take a long time to load may cause the content of the webpage to shift.
LCP (Largest Contentful Paint)
Largest Contentful Paint, or LCP, is a metric that measures the time it takes for a site to load the largest content blocks (image or text) beginning when the site first loads.
Page Layout Algorithm
The Page Layout Algorithm, also known as the Top Heavy Algorithm, was introduced by Google in 2012. The objective of this ranking-related factor was to lower the ranking of websites that show obtrusive popups.
Can Ranking Get Affected by Popup Banners?
The someone who requested the question was interested in understanding only one thing. Is it still possible for popups to influence rankings ten years after the Page Layout Algorithm was introduced?
“Could my rankings be affected by a banner popping up on my website page?”
John Mueller replied:
“And Yes, they can be, too. Various factors influence the way banners are displayed on web pages. On the one hand, in the Page Experience Report, we deal with intrusive interstitials. If this banner is perceived as an intrusive interstitial, this could harm the website.
Another issue is that you can experience adverse effects on cumulative layout shifts when banners are used. Ex. How the page renders when it is loaded. Or about the LCP – the part of Core Web Vitals.
It means that various elements could be in play in this scenario. It does not mean that it has to be this way, and this is just a matter of what kind of banner you are putting up; it could happen.”
Popup Banners Have an Impact on Several Ranking Factors
The current situation is more complicated than an annoying popup with low rankings. A less intrusive popup banner can still hurt your website rank. Why? Because of the impact on Core Web Vitals like CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) and LCP (Largest Contentful Paint).
If popup banners affect your website page search ranking, you should concentrate on technical SEO. The search console bubble chart can help you understand and correct flaws in your website.