What is Pogo-sticking?
Pogo-sticking is a term used in SEO that refers to user behaviour when a user clicks on a search result, visits the page, and then quickly returns to the search results page to click on another result.
This behaviour indicates that the user did not find what they were looking for on the first page and instead continued to search for relevant content.
Why is it important for webmasters?
Pogo-sticking is important for webmasters to be aware of because it can indicate a problem with the website content or user experience.
If users frequently click on a page and quickly return to the search results, it suggests that the website did not meet their expectations or provide the information they were looking for.
However, since it can happen because of many reasons, do not worry that much if it does not happen too often.
On the other hand, if pogo-sticking is happening frequently and consistently, it may be worth investigating and taking steps to improve user experience and engagement on the website.
Ultimately, website owners should aim to provide high-quality, relevant, and user-friendly content to reduce the likelihood of pogo-sticking and encourage users to stay on the site.
Difference between bounce rate and pogo-sticking
Bounce rate and pogo-sticking are two different metrics that are used to measure user behaviour on a website. While they are related, they have distinct differences.
Bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who visit a website and leave without clicking on any other pages or performing an action.
The bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of single-page visits by the total number of visits to the website.
Pogo-sticking, on the other hand, refers to a user's behaviour when they click on a search result, visit the page, and then quickly return to the search results page to click on another result.
While both metrics can indicate a lack of user engagement and relevance, they measure different aspects of user behaviour.
In short, bounce rate measures the number of single-page visits, while pogo-sticking measures the frequency with which users quickly leave a page to continue their search.
Causes of pogo-sticking
There can be the following factors making a user perform pogo-sticking:
Poor content quality
Websites with errors, bad formatting, and inadequate structure can discourage users from staying on the site and lead to pogo-sticking.
Slow loading time
If the page takes too long to load, the user may become frustrated and leave the page to find a faster-loading alternative.
If the user is searching for a highly competitive keyword, they may quickly leave a page if they do not find what they are looking for and move on to the next result.
Irrelevant title tags and meta descriptions
If the content on a webpage does not correspond to the title tags and meta descriptions, users may click away after realizing that the content does not match their search query.
Too much advertising
Websites with too many ads can negatively impact user experience and slow down page loading times, leading to user frustration and increased pogo-sticking.
If the content on a website does not match its intended purpose, users may quickly click away in search of more relevant information.
Users may abandon a website if it takes too long to load, especially if they are on a mobile device with limited data or a slow internet connection.
Videos and animations
Users may find it irritating when a website has excessive advertising or automatically launched videos or animations that interrupt their browsing experience.
Poor user experience
Websites with poor design and user experience can frustrate users and cause them to quickly navigate away from the site.
This includes missing menus, inappropriate fonts and colours, and other design elements that make it difficult for users to interact with the website.
Is it a ranking factor?
Many SEO marketers have held the belief that pogo-sticking is a crucial factor in Google's ranking algorithm.
However, Google has stated that it does not utilize pogo-sticking as a ranking signal.
It is made clear by John Mueller while answering a question on Google Search Central. He said:
“We try not to use signals like that when it comes to search. So that’s something where there are lots of reasons why users might go back and forth, look at different things in the search results, or stay just briefly on a page and move back again. I think that’s really hard to refine and say “well, we could turn this into a ranking factor. So I would not worry about things like that.
Nonetheless, this does not necessarily mean that pogo-sticking has no impact on your website's reputation. Pogo-sticking is a clear indication that visitors do not find your webpage valuable.
Essentially, if the majority of users bounce back to the search engine results page after visiting your site, it is a strong indication that your website is not meeting their expectations.
Should we worry about it?
Pogo-sticking can occur for many reasons, such as users wanting to compare multiple options or quickly browsing through different pages to find what they need.
Additionally, some users may accidentally click on a search result and quickly realize it's not what they were looking for, leading to a quick return to the search results.
Therefore, not all instances of pogo-sticking necessarily indicate a problem with the website or its content.
However, it is essential to remain vigilant and consistently monitor if pogo-sticking happens repeatedly.
In such instances, it is advisable to make necessary adjustments or modifications to your website.
How to reduce pogo-sticking?
Reducing pogo-sticking requires improving the user experience and providing valuable, relevant content. Here are some strategies to reduce pogo-sticking:
Improve content quality
Ensure that the content on the website is accurate, informative, and relevant to the intended audience. Content should be well-structured, easy to read, and free of errors.
Align title tags and meta descriptions with content
Ensure that the title tags and meta descriptions accurately reflect the content on the webpage. This will help users find the information they need and reduce the likelihood of pogo-sticking.
Optimize website speed
Improve website speed by optimizing images, reducing server response times, and minimizing HTTP requests.
A faster loading time will improve the user experience and reduce pogo-sticking.
Use appropriate advertising
Avoid using excessive advertising or autoplay videos that may disrupt the user experience. Instead, use appropriate, targeted advertising that adds value to the content.
Improve user experience and design
Use clear, easy-to-navigate menus and appropriate fonts and colours. Ensure that the website is mobile-responsive and optimized for different devices.
Use internal links
Include internal links that direct users to related content on the website. This will encourage users to stay on the site and explore additional content.
Use analytics tools to monitor bounce rates and time on the page. Identify pages with high bounce rates and analyze user behaviour to make improvements and reduce pogo-sticking.
Remove spammy pop-ups
Pop-ups can interrupt the user's browsing experience and cause frustration, leading to a quick return to the search results.
This can negatively impact user engagement and increase bounce rates. Removing spammy pop-ups is also an effective way to reduce pogo-sticking on a website.
Pogo-sticking may not be a direct ranking factor in Google's search algorithms. However, pogo-sticking can impact a website's reputation and credibility by indicating low-quality content, poor user experience, and contributing to a high bounce rate.
Therefore, it is important for website owners to focus on providing high-quality, relevant content, improving the user experience, and reducing pogo-sticking behaviour to improve their website's ranking in search results.