how does pogo sticking affect your SEO?
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
When it comes to search engine optimization, pogo-sticking isn't the device for jumping off the ground or the extreme sports you think it is. Pogo sticking is a phenomenon with which Google (partially) determines the relevance of websites in their search engine results pages. A lot of digital marketers mix up pogo-sticking and bounce rate and this is the reason why I am writing this article.
So What is Pogo Sticking?
So a visitor goes on the Google search engine looking for something. They arrive on the search results page and then click on a website. Pogo sticking occurs when this visitor (immediately) returns to the search results page and then clicks on another website via the same search results page.
This can happen several times during one search query. In that case, the searcher isn't finding what they're looking for on the websites they've visited. At some point, the searcher visits the last website on the search results page and maybe they seeker find what they are looking for.
Pogo sticking also has to do with the speed with which people click back to the Google results page. When a visitor clicks back to Google within 5 seconds, this is a clear negative signal for Google RankBrain that the website they clicked on did not meet the visitor's expectations and needs. If your website often gets the pogo-sticking effect, your ranking on the Google results page will drop. Websites that do not show this pogo-sticking effect tend to rise.
There are various reasons why a website could be subject to pogo and these are:
A website that is not suitable for mobile (Another reason to make your website mobile friendly). The website is not responsive and difficult to read for mobile visitors.
A slow website. Due to the impatient nature of web visitors, this is a major reason for pogo-sticking.
Irrelevance information on a website. If you try to attract a lot of visitors with certain keywords, but the relevance is missing on your landing page, many visitors immediately exit the web page.
Bad web design.
The meta title and description of the webpage do not match the information that can be found on the web page.
The website is not user-friendly.
The website looks outdated or unreliable.
The Differences Between Pogo Sticking and Bounce Rate
Pogo sticking and a web bounce rate are easily mixed up. A bounce is when a web user visits a page on a website and exits the website without visiting other pages. In this case, the user leaves the website after seeing only one page.
There are a number of differences between pogo-sticking and a bounce:
A bounce can occur with traffic from different sources. Pogo sticking only happens in search engines (paid or organic traffic).
A bounce is not always negative, pogo-sticking is. A bounce on a blog, for example, is quite common. The web visitor may be searching for information, and finally, leave the website when they've found it. Pogo sticking simply means that the searcher couldn't find what they were looking for.
How Do You Find Out if Pogo Sticking is Taking Place on Your Website?
If your website is linked to Google Analytics, then you have insight into the behaviour of website visitors. If the bounce rate is 95% or higher and the average time on a page is very low (within five seconds) then it is likely that one or more of the points above apply to your website.
The Impact of Pogo Sticking on Your Website's SEO
Google has stated that pogo-sticking has no direct impact on the findability of websites in the Google search engine. However, Google admitted that they use "click data", such as pogo-sticking, to test and/or develop the algorithm.
Pogo sticking, therefore, has no direct influence on Google search results, but it does affect Google’s algorithm. And the algorithm ultimately determines the search results.
Pogo sticking (and other forms of click data) is one of the reasons why you should never write SEO content only for search engines. The user-friendliness of these types of texts is often so low that website visitors return directly to the search results page.
How Do I Respond to Pogo Sticking?
Everyone who is engaged in SEO must respond to pogo-sticking if they want to keep web visitors and potential customers on their websites. It is a knife that cuts on two sides. On the one hand, it helps business know that there is something wrong, so they can improve their websites in order to improve the user experience (in many cases).
In addition, it helps with maintaining and/or improving their positions on Google results pages.
But how exactly do you do that? You can read that in the following 6 tips:
Ensure that the content on the page is relevant and of high quality: If you are active in a specific sector, chances are that you know a lot about the subject. Use your expertise to inform visitors. Always put yourself in your customers or visitors' shoes.
Write content for website visitors and not for search engines: Search engines are getting smarter and can recognise "spam" texts faster than ever.
Ensure a good flow of information on your website: If someone arrives at a website from the search results page, they must be able to easily go through your website. Your website layout should be user-friendly and visitors should be able to easily find the information they're looking for.
Think about a nice and suitable website design: If a website has a good design and an appropriate look, this reduces pogo-sticking. A well-arranged website ensures that visitors can easily find what they are looking for.
Target the right keywords during search engine campaigns: In the campaigns, focus on keywords that describe your services. This increases the relevance of your website and ensures that visitors to your website are really looking for your services.
Use a big font size for your texts: Big font sizes are easy to read. Think about it: if a web visitor who found your website via Google search can't read the texts on your website, they're going to hit their "back" button in the blink of an eye.
Add internal links to your texts: Adding internal links to your blogs helps keep web visitors on your website. Internal links send visitors deeper into your site and that makes it less likely for them to go back to the search results.
If Google realises that users find what they are looking for, Google will reward you for this. This reward comes in the form of maintaining and/or improving your ranking on their result pages.
Do you also want to respond better to the needs of your target group? We are happy to help you with that! Is your website not yet responsive? We are also happy to help you!
If you have questions or comments about this blog, please let us know!
Are you already trying to solve your pogo-sticking problem? We are curious about your strategies and are willing to help you if you need our help. Share your experiences with us in the comment section below!