Used to explain a user clicking on a search query and quickly navigating back to the results, the act of pogo sticking signals to search engines the page visited did not provide the information sought after on behalf of the user.

Pogo sticking is commonly confused with bounce rate, in which a user lands on a page and then exits the site without viewing additional pages. While bounce rate calculates sessions that started and ended with a certain page, pogo sticking happens within the first five seconds of viewing a page.

Pogo Sticking and SEO

Pogo sticking behavior weakens ranks in the SERPs. Google’s main goal is to surface the most relevant results per query, and pogo sticking may imply that the page isn’t relevant to people searching for this specific query. If you’re experiencing a high volume of pogo-sticking on your website, then you should rethink your SEO strategy. It’s possible that your content strategy is off, or that you’re targeting the wrong people.

If you’re looking to learn more about the implications of pogo-sticking on SEO, there’s a very good Whiteboard Friday video by Rand Fishkin from MOZ which provides more details on the pogo-stick problem.

There are a number of factors that contribute to a user pogo sticking, each of which should be investigated further for optimization in order to provide the greatest possible user experience.

Here are a few to consider looking into:

  • Does the content match the user’s expectation or answer their query?
  • Is the content engaging and does it include high-quality visuals?
  • Do critical elements on the page load quickly enough to keep the user’s attention?
  • Is your site mobile-friendly or responsive?

Whatever the case, put yourself in the shoes of the searcher.

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