What Is Pogo-Sticking in SEO? Keeping Visitors On-Site

Adam Steele
Mar 20, 2024
what is pogo-sticking

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If your website suffers from glacial load times, titles that set false expectations, or content that misaligns with search intent, you’re not just inviting pogo-sticking—you’re practically building a launchpad for it.

Even worse, you’re rolling out the red carpet for your competitors, handing them the perfect chance to swoop in and charm the audience you’ve tirelessly worked to attract.

So that your site isn’t falling victim to a similar scenario, let’s

  1. pick apart “What is pogo-sticking,”
  2. nut-out the most common reasons your site is failing to retain visitors,
  3. and explore strategies to keep your engagement metrics trending in the right direction.

What is Pogo-Sticking in SEO?

Picture this all-too-familiar situation: you enter a search query into your search engine of choice, click on a promising search result, and then find it’s not what you were hunting for.

In a split second, you hit the back button and return to the search engine results page (SERP). You jump from one search result to another, repeating the process until you land on what you’ve been hunting for, solving your query, and quenching your curiosity.

That right there is pogo-sticking—dissatisfaction, dissatisfaction, ah-huh, this is what I’ve been looking for! This type of user behavior is a tell-tale sign to search engines that maybe, just maybe, your site didn’t quite hit the mark in answering a searcher’s query.

Learn more: Interested in broadening your SEO knowledge even further? Check out our SEO glossary, where we’ve explained over 250+ terms.

Pogo-Sticking vs. Bounce Rate

As we’ve just seen, pogo-sticking is a quick in-and-out visit—this rapid-fire, back-to-SERP action then off to another search result is what defines pogo-sticking behavior.

Bounce rate is a tad different. It involves a user landing on your site but not taking any further action. So they might flick through a product page or even watch an embedded video, but they don’t take any further action: no navigation, no signing up for newsletters, no adding products to their cart.

If you were to read this entire guide and then leave our site without exploring our website further, that would be recorded as a bounce.

You won’t do that, though, right… Right?

Causes of Pogo-Sticking

To grasp why your website visitors might be experiencing immediate dissatisfaction, prompting them to swiftly return to their search results, it’s time to ask: what’s sending them packing? Let’s find out.

Content-Related Issues:

  • Visitors leave if content doesn’t match user intent.
  • Poor-quality content that’s vague, unengaging, or dull quickly loses the audience’s interest.
  • Clickbait headlines frustrate users by overpromising and underdelivering.
  • Buried or paywalled information leads to visitor drop-off when essential info is hard to access.

Technical Issues:

  • Slow page loading is a major turn-off for visitors, testing their patience.
  • Intrusive ads overwhelm and disrupt the browsing experience.
  • Untimely pop-ups disrupt the user’s experience.
  • An outdated web design makes a site seem less credible and out of touch.

Pogo-Sticking and Search Engine Rankings

Let’s start this section by stating that pogo-sticking isn’t a Google ranking factor. This isn’t just a hunch, as confirmed by John Mueller in this video.

Specifically, John said: “We try not to use signals like that (pogo-sticking) when it comes to search. So that’s something where there are lots of reasons why users might go back and forth, or look at different things in the search results, or stay just briefly on a page and move back again.”

So, if pogo-sticking isn’t a ranking factor, is it still something you should address?

Assuming your goal is to retain your visitors’ attention, encourage purchases, maximize ad revenue, or foster meaningful engagement, reducing the occurrence of pogo-sticking is undoubtedly important.

Let’s tackle how in the following sections.

Using Analytics to Identify Pogo-Sticking

So, pogo-sticking isn’t a ranking factor—roger. But that doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to it.

Web analytics tools like Google Analytics give you the inside scoop on what’s happening beneath the surface. Metrics like bounce rate, time on page, and behavior flow will show whether your visitors engage with your SEO content or bounce around like a pogo stick.

For instance, a high bounce rate combined with a short average time on page could be a signal of pogo-sticking.

But here’s where it gets interesting. You can track your visitors’ journey by diving deeper into the behavior flow reports. Are they landing on your homepage and leaving immediately, or are they checking out multiple pages before bouncing? These insights into user behavior will help you pinpoint where the disconnect might be happening.

Strategies to Minimize Pogo-Sticking

Let’s roll up our sleeves and tackle how to minimize pogo-sticking.

The Role of Content Quality in Preventing Pogo-Sticking

Content quality is your bread and butter. Here’s how to ensure your content is up to scratch:

  • Consider SERP features like Google’s “People Also Ask” for insights into what users are actively searching for.
  • Make certain each web page clearly addresses the user’s search query, aligning content with user intent.
  • Keep your content fresh and up-to-date with regular updates.

The Role of Website Design and User Experience in Preventing Pogo-Sticking

Website design and user experience are the frameworks that hold your content. Here’s what to concentrate on:

  • Guide users effortlessly with a clear and logical layout.
  • Keep loading times quick, as user patience is limited.
  • Ensure your site looks great and functions well on all devices.
  • Use pop-ups and ads sparingly, focusing on minimal intrusions.

Pogo-Sticking FAQ

Q1: Can Pogo-Sticking Be Completely Eliminated, or Is It an Inevitable Part of User Search Behavior?

Answer: Completely eliminating pogo-sticking is a bit of a stretch since it’s inherent to user search behavior. However, you can definitely turn the tide by making your content spot-on relevant and ramping up your site’s user experience.

Q2: Are There Any Specific Industries or Types of Websites More Prone to Pogo-Sticking?

Answer: Yep, eCommerce and news sites often get more pogo-sticking action, mainly because their content is always changing and needs to be super timely. Also, any site that gets a little too creative with catchy but misleading titles is asking for more bounces.

Q3: How Can Small Businesses Specifically Address Pogo-Sticking on Their Websites?

Answer: For small businesses, it’s all about keeping things clear and straightforward. Make sure your content really resonates with what your visitors are looking for, and keep your website easy to navigate. Oh, and don’t forget to keep things fresh and fast-loading.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Ready to get started? That’s where little old us, Loganix, steps in.

Whether you’re grappling with SEO content strategizing, looking to optimize your site’s design and usability, or aiming to improve your overall search engine optimization efforts, we’ve got your back.

🚀 Let’s turn those quick exits into lasting engagements and drive your site to the top of the search rankings with our suite of SEO services. 🚀

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

Explore Services

Written by Adam Steele on March 20, 2024

COO and Product Director at Loganix. Recovering SEO, now focused on the understanding how Loganix can make the work-lives of SEO and agency folks more enjoyable, and profitable. Writing from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.