Why can’t we have our cake and eat it too?
But does it affect Search Engine rankings? Maybe. Maybe not.
Recent comments such as this by Google’s John Mueller mentioned in SERoundtable make it clear that they would prefer you NOT to force registration immediately AND that they may pick the pop-up up as main content alongside the page it popped up on. Not always undesirable but not always desirable either.
In the real estate industry, it is a regular question that comes up in many venues. So I thought I would dedicate a little bit of time to it. I am going to try and look at it as Google does. At least as they look at it right now. Let’s take a look at some real estate sites.
Google thinks it knows everything. I am not saying that in a belligerent tone. I am saying it because it is true. They think that all immediate pop ups obstruct the users from seeing what they came there for. In their opinion, that is a UX faux pas. And they have the power to enforce that. Again, this is clearly how they think right now.
If you wish to avoid that,there are only three possible solutions: Delay the popup on the current page for x number of seconds, only allow the popup on the second or third page, or finally, eliminate popups and forced registration altogether from your site. Those are the possible solutions. So let’s look at them:
- Delay the pop up. Yes this can help in some cases. It depends on two things: First, how the pop up is coded. If it is coded so that Google does NOT index the content of the popup then it is LIKELY to not be a problem. What we ARE seeing here at Small Business Marketing Shop is that more and more, Google is actually picking these up. Addditionally, we are seeing that even when there are delays in how soon the popup happens, SOMETIMES it still picks it up. While this may be a short term solution, we think that this also creates a second problem. How long are people staying on that real estate page for example? Will they even stay long enough to be invited to register? Real Estate pages come in a couple of flavors: Neighborhood pages like this one or Details pages like this one. Neighborhood pages nearly ALWAYS do not require registration. But the details pages like the one linked above often do. Those are the ones that are the issue for most REALTOR sites. Notice that this one pops up right away. Looking at the analytics, often people leave the page quickly because they are browsing or they have found that they either want or dont want whatever home is for sale.
- Trigger only on the second view or later. This helps improve things SLIGHTLY because it does not typically trigger a registration pop up from Google. Here is an example of that. And then view a second details page. And finally on the third page you get asked to register. The issue is this: If you are doing Pay per Click,the statistics are that you LOSE what you have paid for because often people will only look at a couple of pages and then leave. That is why most every PPC person recommends immediate registration.
- And not having registration at all REALLY does not accomplish much because then Google is happy, but you have no leads.
So what is my proposed solution?:
Here is what I think needs to be done. (Listen up Real Estate Website vendors 😉 ) I think you need to create TWO pages for every area. One to be a PPC page and the other to be an SEO friendly page. THEN, make sure that the PPC page is in an area of the site that is off limits to bots and is not indexed. Trigger Registration immediately on that page and the only traffic going to that page is PPC.
The SEO side would have registrations after X number of views. This eliminates the issue with Google getting upset at popups but still (after a couple of views) actually does generate registrations off of organic traffic.
This gives you an added benefit for social media advertising. Some people like to put listings out on social media. You can then choose which solution you would like (immediate registration vs after a while) .
Ok, that’s my idea. Who wants to build it? 😉 Have at it. (I am SURE that I am not the only one to think of it and I am equally sure there are better ideas out there. I just want to start the discussion.
My thought is that IF we had a site that could do both an indexable IDX with forced reg only after the 2nd ,3rd,4th , or x to the nth view of a details page AND an immediately force reg page for pay per click applications, we would have our cake and indeed eat it too…
What are your thoughts?
Let’s put together some ideas and best practices.