Home Digital Marketing What Is Pogo-Sticking in SEO and How Do You Fix It?

What Is Pogo-Sticking in SEO and How Do You Fix It?

by Jyoti Ray

If you are an SEO professional, you might already be familiar with many SEO-related terms, including bounce rate, algorithm, anchor text, backlinks, etc.

While each SEO term has its own unique set of definitions and parameters, a few terms often confuse people—for example, bounce rate and Pogo-Sticking.

So, what is pogo-sticking? How is it different from bounce rate? We will answer these questions and tell you how to optimize for them.

What is Pogo-Sticking?

A pogo-stick is a spring-loaded jumping stick used for recreation.

In the context of SEO, Pogo-sticking is the act of clicking on a search engine result and then quickly clicking on another result.

Pogo-sticking is generally attributed to poor search engine optimization. It occurs when a web surfer clicks on your web page and returns to the search engine results page because your site wasn’t relevant or well optimized for that person’s search query.
For example, if you search for “GoDaddy alternatives” on Google, you get hundreds of results. And, as usual, you will click on the first result.

pogo-sticking in seo

However, if the website takes too long to load or doesn’t find what you were looking for, you’re likely to leave and visit another website.

Next, you visit the following website but decide not to stay because of the excessive pop-up advertisements. Then, repeating this pattern, you abandon the website and visit the fourth one.

So, the practice of rapidly switching from one website to another is known as pogo-sticking.

In some cases, pogo-sticking can be a good indicator of your site’s ranking in SERPs. If you are getting a lot of pogo-sticking, it likely means something is wrong with your page title, meta description, or content.

You can use this information to adjust your web marketing strategy.

What is the Difference Between Pogo-Sticking and Bounce Rate?

Both bounce rate and pogo-sticking metrics are similar but with some differences – let’s explore them.

Let’s first understand bounce rate.

Bounce rate is the metric of people who visit a single page on your site and then leave without interacting with anything else.

For example, the user may spend 10 minutes reading that page, but Google Analytics will record it as a bounce if they don’t click to another page on your site.

For example, you run a website about dog breeds, and you have a page about chihuahuas.

If a user lands on that page, reads it for five minutes, and then closes the browser, that would be recorded as a bounce even though the user spent some time engaging with that page.

In contrast, pogo-sticking refers to when someone clicks on a search result on Google, goes to that page, sees that it doesn’t match what they were looking for, and then clicks back to the search results page.

This could happen multiple times before the user finds what they were looking for.

Both metrics help understand different things about how users interact with your website. However, neither metric by itself provides a complete picture of user engagement.

What Causes Pogo-Sticking?

Here are the common reasons for pogo-sticking.

1. Thin Content

One of the main reasons your users leave your website is because of thin content. These pages have less or no value to the user, leading to high bounce rates.

Your users want to find valuable information, not just short snippets of text or a single image. So if you’re providing them with thin content, it’s no wonder that they are bouncing back to the search results page.

Review your content and determine if it provides value to the user. If it does not, then you should consider removing or updating it.

2. Slow Site

When using the internet, most people want things to happen immediately.

If users have to wait around for images or videos to load, or if your webpage takes too much time to load, your visitors may leave the site before it appears.

There are many reasons why your site could be slow, but the most common reasons are poor quality hosting, unoptimized images, too many ads, etc. To avoid this, make sure to implement a special page speed optimization strategy that will help make your website run faster and rank better.

3. Clickbait Headlines

Overly sensational headlines can drive high click-through rates and lead to quick abandonment of your page.

If a user clicks and doesn’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll bounce back to try another result.

Some of the more common phrases used in clickbait headlines include:

  • You’ll never believe…
  • Shocking photos of…
  • The real reason behind…
  • This will change everything you know about…
  • 3 Ways Elon Musk Will Change Your Life…

4. Poor Site Design

Your page design is the first thing visitors see. If your design looks poor and outdated, your visitors will feel uncomfortable and may decide to go somewhere else.

This could be anything from a confusing site structure to sites that look unprofessional. Maybe there’s too much text and not enough white space, or it’s just not organized well.

In many cases, the website is not optimized for mobile devices, which leads to a poor user experience.

5. Content Mismatch

People will likely bounce from your site if your content doesn’t match the search query. 

For example, if a user searched for “how to cook asparagus” and landed on a blog post about asparagus facts, they probably wouldn’t stick around.

Is Pogo-Sticking a Ranking Factor?

Now, you may be wondering whether pogo-sticking is a ranking factor or does it impacts your search rankings.

Many SEO professionals believe pogo-sticking is a ranking factor. However, Google’s John Muller has stated that pogo-sticking is not a ranking factor. Here’s what he said:

Quotation starts:

“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. When we look at our algorithms overall, when we review which algorithm changes we want to launch, we do look into how users react to these changes. But that’s something we look at across millions of different queries, and millions of different pages, and kind of see in general if this algorithm going the right way or is this algorithm going in the right way.

But for individual pages, I don’t think that’s something worth focusing on at all.”

Quotation ends:

How to Minimize Pogo-Sticking

Now that you know the causes of pogo-sticking let’s discuss how to fix them.

1. Understanding the Search Intent

One of the most important things you can do to reduce pogo-sticking is understanding the search intent, which means the motive behind the user’s search.

For example, someone searching for “dog food” may be looking for information about dog food or looking to buy dog food.

keyword in google search query

If you want to be helpful and provide the best possible experience, you need to understand why users are searching for the terms.

While some people may just be browsing for information or entertainment, most people have specific questions or problems that need answers.

Once you figure out what they’re looking for, you can provide them with content that matches their intent.

Here’s how Google presents different kinds of content based on user intent. If you search “how big was the Titanic,” Google shows you an article (user intent: information).

titanic google search results

But if you search “Titanic movie,” you get an image gallery (user intent: entertainment).

titanic movie search results

2. Speed Up Your Website

To reduce pogo-sticking, look at the speed of your website and see what is slowing it down. 

Once you have a good idea of how long it takes for your pages to load, you can work on improving them.

To test your website’s speed, you can use GTmetrix to pinpoint the problem areas.

Go to GTmetrix’s website and enter the URL you would like to test. Then hit the analyze button, and in just a few seconds, you will have a bunch of information about your site’s performance.

gtmetrix scores

As you can see from the screenshot above, I have quite some room for improvement.

Visitors are more likely to stay on a website that loads quickly; the industry standard is to load pages in two seconds or less.

There are many ways to improve your website’s page loading speed. Here are they:

  • Invest in quality web hosting
  • Implement CDN
  • Use caching plugin
  • Optimize and lazy load your media files, including images
  • Don’t use code-heavy landing page builders; for example, Unbounce is infamous for adding lots of code bloat to landing pages built with that page builder.
  • Keep your software, plugins, and themes updated.

3. Invest in Your Website’s Design

Like it or not, your website’s appearance plays a significant role in how long visitors stay on your page.

If your design is bland, unappealing, or confusing, it will take seconds for people to decide that they don’t want to stick around. They’ll click the back button and go back to the search results page.

According to Custom Content, “61 percent of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content.” And, a great design lets you present unique content that sets you apart from the competition.

If your site needs a refresh, consider hiring professional designers and developers to create a new look for your site. Web designers know how to use photo effects to enhance the images you wish to add to your website.

This will improve the look and feel of your site, but it also helps users stay on your pages longer – which means fewer people will hit the back button after clicking through from the SERP.

4. Produce High-Quality Long-Form Content

If your content isn’t good enough, users will leave your site and try to find something better.

This is why it’s essential to create high-quality content for your site.

High-quality content is in-depth, well-researched, and written in a way that’s easy for users to understand. It also answers users’ questions and helps them complete their tasks on the web.

When you create unique content, your website visitors are much less likely to bounce off your site, whether they come from search engines or social media sites.

So how do you create high-quality long-form content? You can start by following this step-by-step guide:

  • Target an audience and set a goal
  • Write down the article structure
  • Plan the research thoroughly
  • Use statistics and facts
  • Include visuals
  • Use headings and design elements
  • Update the article regularly

5. Make Your Content Easy To Consume

Several reasons could cause a pogo-sticking problem, but if your content is difficult to read, it could be one of them.

Reading off a screen is much different from reading a book. When people read online, they skim and scan content rather than reading every word.

The way your content is formatted and presented plays a huge role in its readability and quality. So, you must pay attention to the content.

Here are some things you can do to make sure your content is accessible to the eyes:

  • Use shorter paragraphs (1-3 sentences): Long blocks of text can be overwhelming and cause readers to stop reading before finishing your content.
  • Use bullet points and numbered lists: They help break up text and make it easier to scan through.
  • Format your content with subheadings: Use as many headings, subheadings, and bullets as possible to break up your content. Headings also help search engines understand what your pages are about.
  • Add alt tag to your images: Make sure images have alt tags to be read by search engines and screen readers.
  • Improve the readability of your content: Improving your content’s readability is key to engaging your readers. It means your readers can quickly and easily understand what you write. You can improve your readability by using effective writing techniques.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, pogo-sticking is when someone lands on your site and quickly bounces back to the SERPs. This can happen for a variety of reasons.

Thankfully, there are ways to reduce pogo-sticking, and we have listed 5 different tips that you can implement today.

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