“Pogosticking” is an extremely important matter that good SEO consultants must understand when troubleshooting website SEO. This negative effect of users reaching a website and immediately clicking the back button is damaging to the page rank of a website. It suggests to Google’s indexers that there is some kind of problem that prevents users from actually utilizing a website. A high incidence of pogosticking a website needs serious attention to determine what the problem is, and to keep users from leaving the moment they arrive.  

What Is Pogosticking?

“Pogosticking” is when a user clicks on a link in their search results to enter a website, and then immediately clicks the back button to leave that site - only to go on and click another link in their search results. When this happens, it indicates that for some reason the user was not satisfied with what they saw at the initial website they clicked on, prompting them to leave that page and try other options.

Pogosticking vs. Boucebacks

While pogosticking is related to bouncebacks, they are actually two different things. Bouncebacks are when a user reaches a site and stays for a bit, but never actually clicks to go to another page before leaving the site. Pogosticking is a nearly immediate reaction where the user clicks off the site after quickly glancing at it and deciding they will not find what they are looking for, or there is some problem with the page prompting them to leave. Users who pogostick typically continue on down the list of SERP's generated from their initial query to find the information they are looking for. 

Causes of Pogosticking

SEO consultants assert that some of the common causes of pogosticking, and the reduction in SEO that can result because of it, include the following:

  • Dissatisfaction With Content - The user gets to the page and finds nothing of relevance according to the search results that brought them there, or is otherwise dissatisfied with the content on that page.
  • Pages That Load Too Slowly - When a website takes more than a few seconds to load, many users will not wait, choosing instead to click back to the search results and try another, faster loading website.
  • Autoplaying Videos or Pop Up Ads - Anything that happens automatically upon clicking onto a page without the user’s interaction will cause many users to click right back off.
  • Website Design or Function - Colors, font style or type; layout not viewing properly - or other viewing problems; navigation that does not work; or other reasons why a site would offend the user are common reasons for pogosticking.

What Pogosticking Means for Websites

Pages that experience high rates of pogosticking have some kind of problem that offends the user, causing them to leave the site. This is not only detrimental to business, but it is also detrimental to SEO. A website with a high rate of pogosticking indicates to Google that the website is not providing good value to users, so the page will eventually lose its value and page rank.

The answer to this is to determine why the website is experiencing this problem, and correct it. Better content, removing pop-ups or auto-plays, sticking to a user-friendly and responsive website design, and other techniques are all important in reducing pogosticking. A website must provide the information requested in the easiest, and most user-friendly way possible in order to attract and retain traffic. 

The good news is it is fairly easy to detect pogosticking by using website analytics tools - such as those available for free in the Google Webmaster’s Toolbox. The best SEO consultants must monitor websites for pogosticking, and analyze any affected pages carefully to determine what is driving traffic away. Correcting the problem can usually reduce pogosticking rates, improving SEO and quality website traffic as a result!

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