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Pogo Sticking: Definition, Causes, and How to Avoid It

Last updated: Dec 01, 2022

What is Pogo Sticking?

Pogo Sticking is a term in SEO that is used to describe a situation where a user cannot find an answer from a website page that is displayed in the SERP. It is a situation that is monitored by Google and can cause your website to be penalized if it continues.

For example, you type the search query "SEO guide" in the search field. But the results shown at the top do not answer your question. Next, you close the page to find the information you are looking for on another website.

By leaving the page quickly, then returning to the SERP, you have done an activity known as "Pogo Sticking." This indicates that the top-ranking pages are not credible and relevant to the search query.

What Causes Pogo Sticking

There are several factors or causes for the phenomenon that causes users to close a page quickly. It's important to note that this situation isn't always caused by bad content or user experience. However, these two aspects also tend to be the root of the problem.

There are two kinds of causes related to this issue, namely the content and the technical side of the website page itself. The issues related to content include:

  • Clickbait content: the information displayed does not match the title or meta description
  • Spammy content: too many keyword inserts that cause keyword stuffing
  • Irrelevant content: the article does not represent the website's niche
  • Bad writing: content full of errors in spelling and grammar

On the other hand, there are several reasons that cause this phenomenon that are not related to content, such as:

  • Long loading times
  • Too many pop-ups
  • Confusing page layout
  • Bad website structure
  • User idly browsing

The Differences Between Pogo Sticking and Bounce Rate

This pogo-sticking situation appears to be similar to that of bounce rate at first glance. However, both are distinct in terms of definition and causes. Here's the description:

Pogo Sticking

Bounce Rate

Click on the page but return to the SERP againPercentage of visitors that visit a page
Bad impact on website credibilityIt does not necessarily affect badly on SEO
Content is marked as irrelevant to the queryWebsite visitors only spend a short time reading a page

How to Avoid Pogo-Sticking Issues

The issue of users visiting each page looking for answers in the SERP is not too serious. However, if this happens continuously, page ranking will decrease, which will make Google re-examine the credibility of your website.

In order to avoid this problem, you can apply the following methods: 

Use Table of Content

Most users want to find information easily and quickly. Therefore, provide a table of contents on pages that have many sub-chapters. With this table, users can read at a glance and sort out which points are the focus of their search.

Add Internal Links

In addition to displaying the table of contents in a neat format, adding internal links is also needed to prevent users from returning to the search page. Having links that point to other pages on the website can make users curious and interested in reading your content further.

Apply E-A-T

Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, or E-A-T, are aspects that are upheld in content creation. This concept prioritizes user convenience in digesting information rather than fulfilling requests for increased ranking on Google's SERP.

The application of E-A-T can be started by presenting quality content. In other words, you need to create content written by experts in the field. Then, the content must reflect the reputation of the website itself, which will guarantee brand credibility to users in the SERP.

Update Content with New Information

Apart from publishing high-quality and SEO-friendly  articles, you also need to update the information in old content. By providing new information, you can grab user attention and increase organic traffic on pages that have updated content.

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