Recently, we published a blog post in which we discussed that using pop-ups is something that Google does not like. In fact, if the popups you use on your website appear to be too annoying and intrusive, Google may penalize your website. Furthermore, we also explained a few creative ways of using popups without hurting your search engine rankings.

The focus of that article was precisely on using pop-ups ads creatively in a way that you don’t incur the wrath of Google. This time we wanted to focus on lead generation.

As we all know that lead generation is a very important aspect of online marketing. If you are not converting as much as your random website visitors into highly qualified leads, you are leaving a lot of money on the table. And while using too many popups and intrusive ads can risk a search engine penalty, it’s hard to compromise on lead generation.

In this blog post, we highlight several creative ways that you can use to generate leads without using annoying pop-ups and risking your search engine rankings.

The Importance of Fantastic Content

Before we begin sharing specific tips, let’s make one thing clear.

To make any of the following tips work, you require absolutely fantastic content on your website. It means you can’t have filler content that just contains fluff, rehashed, or useless information. Instead, focus on actionable tips and tricks (just like this blog post) that your readers can use to solve their specific problems.

Once your blog is full of such amazing content pieces, you will build certain credibility and authority in your niche. That’s extremely important if you want to continuously generate new leads without using annoying popups.


Because when you use pop-ups, you try to use different types of enticing lead magnets, free reports, guides, demos, or free trials. These free goodies encourage your website visitors to sign up.

However, when you are not using popups, you kind of lose that weapon from your armory.

That leaves you with the only one thing to convince readers that they should give away their email information and subscribe to your list, i.e., extremely helpful content that they can’t find anywhere else on the web.

If it means you only publish 3-4 blog posts per month, it’s fine. There is no rule that says you have to publish multiple blog posts every week. As long as the quality of your posts is amazing, the quantity does not really matter in the long run.

Exclusive Content for Email Subscribers

Now, once your readers have established that your content is truly amazing, they would naturally want more of it.

That’s one point you can leverage to increase your list of subscribers.

Highlight it on your blog — and even mention it in your blog posts whenever you get a chance — that you offer exclusive content to your email subscribers.

What do we mean by ‘exclusive’ content?

It refers to information that you do not share in your blog posts, social media posts, etc.

Make no mistake; you will have to do extra efforts to create new content exclusively for your email subscribers, but it’s worth the effort. Also, you do not have to regularly send your subscribers exclusive information — unless you specifically mention it on your website. Even once a month would be more than enough, as long as the quality is beyond their expectations.

Once you start advertising that your email subscribers get exclusive information, you give the rest of the website visitors a very valid reason to subscribe to your email list. Furthermore, the bribe in this case (exclusive content) is very relevant — which reduces the unsubscription rate.

Content Upgrades

While in the previous technique, you mention some “exclusive” content, with content upgrades you tell them exactly what they are going to get.

But content upgrades are different than lead magnets.

Content upgrades are relevant to the blog posts you advertise them in. Moreover, they are not marketed as lead magnets either. They just represent some extra information — relevant to a specific blog post — that some of your readers might want to get their hands on.

Here is a great example of content upgrades.

The following screenshot is one of Brian Dean’s blog posts, Google’s 200 ranking factors.

Within the text of this blog post, he used the following content upgrade.

As you can see, the content upgrade is very relevant to the blog post it is promoted in.

A reader who is reading a complete list of Google’s 200 search engine ranking factors (which, you know, can be easily overwhelming) is likely to be interested in a checklist that shows how to tap into the 10 most important Google ranking factors.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

More importantly, this is not a pop-up. You can promote the content upgrade within the text of the blog post, and it wouldn’t look odd. Additionally, you can highlight the content upgrade in a different color — as shown in the above screenshot.

The Perfect Placement for Content Upgrades

As we just discussed, content upgrades are not promoted as lead magnets or popups. You include them within the text of your blog post.

But that does not mean you should plug them anywhere and expect the best possible results. Just like anything else, there is a strategy you can use to identify “hot spots” and present your content upgrades there to maximize conversions.

Look at the following image.

A recent study by Google revealed the three most viewable positions on a page above the fold.

It should give you a very good where to plug your content upgrade promotion to get the best possible results and the highest possible conversion rate.

Furthermore, do not be hesitant in experimenting with different places. What works for someone else might not work for you. So experiment with different positions and track which one produces the best results for you.

Pop-Ups Alternatives

While pops are the most obvious way of generating leads, there are alternatives to that option. And if you are trying to avoid popups on your website to get better search engine rankings, you can be creative and use some of the other options.

HelloBar is one of such tools that you can use to generate leads without being annoying and intrusive.

HelloBar sits quietly on the top of your page — as can be seen in the following screenshot — and does not get into the way of visitors reading content or finding information on your website.

By the way, is HelloBar effective enough for lead generation?

It certainly is.

Buffer generates 33% of their leads with HelloBar — their second-biggest source of leads after a slide-up popup.

The effectiveness of the HelloBar primarily depends on the impact of your offer and call-to-action.

Final Words

Popups are a proven way to generate leads. However, the SEO world is changing, and Google is focusing more and more on user experience. This is a growing trend now, and we do not expect it to be changed any time soon.

Therefore, everybody must prepare for it and find other ways to achieve the same things without risking their search engine positions.

By using the techniques mentioned above, you can continue generating lots of leads from your website without the help of any annoying pop-ups.