With the recent news of Goole planning to penalise pop-ups and interstitials on search result pages in Jan 2017, I became concerned as we often use Hotjar to create survey popups on some landing pages for CRO purposes.

Even though these pop-ups are not deceitful or malicious, could this become a negative impact for our SEO?

  • Pop-ups don't need to be deceitful or malicious... to be deemed undesirable to users. They are annoying and dampen user experience period. Aug 29 '16 at 18:25

If appearing on your mobile site, then yes, they may not rank as highly.

Helping users easily access content on mobile

You can see with the examples they give, they don't mention if they are deceitful or malicious, simply that they obscure the content:

Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.

Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.

Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

To continue to have a pop up while avioding the penalty, you will need to use small smart style banners, such as the example they give:

Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.

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Although this is only on mobile devices, you can still continue to show them on desktop. (Until they decide to penalise pop ups on desktop too)

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