Pogo-Sticking

What is Pogo-Sticking?

Definition

Pogo-sticking in SEO refers to the behavior where a user quickly navigates back and forth between the search engine results page (SERP) and the websites listed in the search results. This occurs when the user clicks on a search result, quickly determines that the page does not meet their needs or expectations, and then returns to the SERP to try another result. Pogo-sticking is often considered a negative signal to search engines, suggesting that the content on the visited page was not relevant or satisfactory for the search query, potentially affecting the page’s search ranking over time.

Types

Pogo-sticking is generally considered as a single behavior type in the context of SEO, but it can occur in different scenarios based on user intent and satisfaction levels:

  • Informational Pogo-Sticking: Occurs when a user is seeking specific information and returns to the SERP because the content was not informative or relevant enough.
  • Navigational Pogo-Sticking: Happens when the user is trying to find a specific website or page but clicks through to the wrong site from the SERP.
  • Transactional Pogo-Sticking: Takes place during attempts to complete a transaction or find a product/service, but the user returns to the SERP due to issues like high prices, lack of trust, or poor user experience.

Examples

  • Informational Example: A user searching for “how to bake a chocolate cake” clicks on a search result, finds the recipe too complex or not what they were looking for, and quickly goes back to the SERP to try another link.
  • Navigational Example: Someone looking for a specific brand’s website but accidentally clicks on a similarly named but unrelated site, then returns to the SERP to find the correct one.
  • Transactional Example: A user looking to buy a new laptop clicks on a search result, is dissatisfied with the selection or prices, and returns to the SERP to explore other vendors.

Impact on SEO

Pogo-sticking can have several implications for SEO:

  • User Satisfaction: High rates of pogo-sticking may indicate to search engines that a page does not satisfactorily meet user needs for a particular query, which could negatively impact its ranking.
  • Content Quality: It suggests that the content may not be of high quality or relevance to the search query, prompting search engines to reassess the page’s usefulness.
  • Engagement Metrics: Search engines might use pogo-sticking as part of their algorithm to assess user engagement and satisfaction with search results, influencing how they rank pages.

Mitigation Strategies

To reduce pogo-sticking, website owners and SEO professionals should focus on:

  • Improving Content Relevance: Ensure that content closely matches the search queries it ranks for.
  • Enhancing User Experience: Make navigation intuitive and loading times fast to keep users engaged.
  • Providing Clear Value Proposition: Quickly demonstrate the value or answer the user is seeking right at the beginning of the page.

Addressing pogo-sticking is essential for maintaining and improving search engine rankings by ensuring that users find value and relevance in the content provided.

Nedim Mehic

Nedim is a senior technical SEO specialist, and the co-founder of Beki AI. On the Beki AI blog, we share new and innovative strategies to SEO and content marketing.

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