Creating a website for your business or personal project was the first step in launching your online presence. Your next focus is ranking on search engine results pages (SERP) and expanding your reach. While making use of SEO features, following best practices and optimizing for keywords can help you rank high on a SERP, this doesn’t automatically guarantee that your content provides the reader value. Your content could still provoke “pogo sticking,” or when a web visitor bounces between different search results to find a page that best answers their original query.
Keep reading to learn more about pogo sticking and the best practices to avoid it happening to your website.
What is pogo sticking?
Pogo sticking is an SEO term describing the user behavior of going back and forth between articles on a SERP. Let’s say you search for a keyword on Google and can’t quickly find the answer you want in the first listed article on the SERP. You go back to the results and click another, but a large advertisement pops up and keeps you from reading the article. You return to the SERP and keep clicking on articles until you find the answer in the format you need. This is an example of pogo sticking: leaving a page immediately after clicking on it, either because of content or user experience, and opening another option from the results page.
Pogo sticking shouldn’t be confused with bounce rate, or the SEO metric representing visitors to a webpage who leave without taking action, like filling out a form or clicking on an internal link. A user who “bounces” may technically read an entire page but then leave, while someone pogo sticking “sticks” around for only a glance or two before turning back to explore other options on the SERP.
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Why is pogo sticking important
Pogo sticking indicates whether a webpage immediately engages its reader. If users continually click away from a webpage after a few seconds, this indicates that the content on the page needs improvement.
What causes pogo sticking
Outdated web design and content can cause pogo sticking. Thankfully, the antidotes to pogo sticking can be applied quite easily, and they will increase your business’s visibility on Google as well as improve your website’s overall quality:
Clickbait content looks spammy and relies on sensational headlines to entice people to read. While clickbait-y titles generate more clicks, it can also lead to higher visitor turnover, thereby increasing pogo sticking and bounce rates.
If an article’s metadata doesn’t match the content on the page, then users will likely leave the page. The metadata should indicate what a user can expect on a page, so it’s important to always deliver on that promise.
If a user needs to dig through mountains of text and media to find the answer to their search query, they’ll likely leave and find more accessible information. To avoid this scenario, place the most important information for a targeted keyword so it can be clearly spotted upon first glance on a website.
UX design fail
User experience (UX) design fulfills a user needs, providing them with a positive experience as they browse through your website. Factors such as good page load time, page layout and mobile optimization can enhance how a user interacts \with your website.
How to avoid pogo sticking
Once you've found the cause for a user to pogo stick on your page, you can correct the issue:
Optimize UX. Your webpage layout needs to be clear and easy-to-follow. Make sure your website is mobile-responsive and cut back on using pop-ups.
Check load speed. If a page doesn’t load fast enough, users will close it. Website speed optimization should be one of the first things to test for pogo sticking.
Provide value right away. Place the answer to a search query above the fold or highlight it on the page.
Add internal links at the top. Place relevant internal links above the fold to better guide your users.
Consider the content’s formatting. Anything from typography, images, videos, widgets, or even the length of your blog post may impact how users experience your site. Use the appropriate text size, font and visuals for your target audience.