Content Upgrades Solve Google Punishing Pop-ups

I was late to the party finding out that Google started punishing sites that showed pop-up boxes when the user first went to the site or post.

But Google is doing that, and while they say it is “one of many” signals or criteria they use to rank a page, I didn’t want my site to get downgraded because of it.

Problem is, I’ve had a pop-up for years, an opt-in box that offers an ebook in exchange for their email address, that converted pretty well. Would I get fewer email subscribers if I removed the pop-up? What could I do to solve this?

Enter Content Upgrades to Solve the Pop-up Punishment Problem

What is the pop-up exactly? It offers an ebook for an email address. Well, that is nothing more than a content upgrade or lead magnet.

The only difference is how it is offered: the pop-up blocks the site or page so the reader has to dismiss the box or enter their email address. It’s in-your-face.

But content upgrades have been converting well for me without being in pop-ups. Instead, I embed them at least halfway down each blog post using

In fact, one of my content upgrades on a blog post got 41 email subscribers! For my blog post traffic, this is a huge number. Even on less popular posts, I got 5 to 15 email subscribers, again a great result for me.

Too Labor-Intensive to Craft Content Upgrades for Each Post

But making a content upgrade for each and every post can get onerous. Not to worry: for posts that I’m too busy to make a content upgrade for, I’m using my tried-and-true general purpose ebook that ties in with most of my blog posts and using that as the lead magnet.

And, with, I can make three lead magnets with the same ebook, but different headlines and subtitles, and A/B test it out by round-robining them into blog posts.

The experiment is now ongoing, as I am seeing whether my email subscribers drop off. I am also checking to see if my general traffic increases now that I have just stopped the pop-ups, hoping that if Google did punish my site for them, it will revisit that and reverse it automatically at some point.

The takeaway: content upgrades, embedded into blog posts, can replace the big pop-ups and welcome mats that Google now punishes.

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