Skip to main content

Most people agree website popups are annoying. But here’s the thing, they work. We utilize these for almost every one of our private clients. It’s a great way to get patients to move forward to the appointments page.

However, with Google’s Core Vitals Update, implementing pop-ups can be risky.

Here are a few tips for doctors using popups on their website to keep their SEO scores healthy:

Don’t Make Your Popups Difficult for the Patient

Annoying patients, in general, is not a good idea. So the online popups should not be overly intrusive.

The term Google uses for this is interstitial. It’s a broad term, but it applies to spammy and challenging to dismiss popups. Because Google has a mobile-first indexing strategy, check how the popup is experienced on mobile.

If you’re hesitant to use popups or aren’t sure how to implement them best, the slide-in option is a safe place to start. You’re generally safe if they take up 15% or less and can easily be dismissed.

Use Timed Popups

This strategy applies well, especially with larger, overlay-styled popups.

We like to implement a three-second delay for the popup to appear and then also have it auto-dismiss after 3 seconds.

Use Cookies to Set Intervals on When the Popups Appear

Nobody likes to see the same popup appear multiple times when you’re on the same website. We recommend setting a two-week cookie with the popup. That way, if the same patient comes back to your site multiple times, they aren’t always seeing the popup.

Set Popups to Appear on Other Sources Than Organic Search

This is a bit of an advanced strategy and should have limited use, but at the current time, this is a bit of a loophole if you find the more intrusive popups to be more effective.

To do this, you would want to set your popups not to display when someone is coming to your site from a Google search or wait to implement the popup until they visit a second page.

However, if you’re like most of our clients, the majority of traffic comes from Google searches. So if your appointment popups are converting currently, and you’re ranking well, you may want to skip this one.


If this is the first time you’re hearing of this, and your site is ranking fine, I have good news – you likely aren’t affected by this. On the other hand, if you have found your site affected, you will want to update your popup strategy and possibly connect with an SEO expert specializing in physician marketing.