Ever wondered why your website isn't ranking as high as you'd like on search engine results pages?

You've optimized your keywords, your site speed is lightning-fast, and your content is top-notch.

So, what's missing?

The answer might be something you've never heard of: SEO Pogo-sticking.

It's a little-known concept that can have a big impact on your SEO performance.

In this comprehensive guide, we're going to demystify SEO Pogo-sticking and arm you with strategies to tackle it head-on.

Understanding pogo-sticking

Imagine yourself on a trampoline, bouncing up and down, unable to find a steady footing.

Now read this.

Pogo-sticking refers to the behavior of users clicking on a search result, visiting the page, and quickly bouncing back to the search results to click on another result.

pogo sticking

User searches for the term, clicks on a result in SERPs, reads the content a little, clicks on the back button, and returns to the SERPs.

It's a clear sign that users didn't find what they were looking for and are actively searching for better answers.

Many people confuse pogo-sticking with bounce rate, but they have different purposes. Pogo-sticking is all about the user's search experience and dissatisfaction, while bounce rate measures the percentage of users who leave after viewing just one page. Understanding this distinction is essential for effective SEO optimization.

The interplay of pogo-sticking, user intent, and SEO

When users can't find the information or experience they're looking for on a webpage, they tend to exhibit pogo-sticking behavior.

So, it's crucial to align your content with user intent by crafting content that directly addresses user queries and fulfills their objectives.

By understanding your target audience's needs, you can tailor your content to match their intent, which reduces pogo-sticking, increases engagement, and enhances the overall user experience.

Remember, satisfied users are more likely to stay, explore further, and convert into valuable customers.

But what Google has to say about this?

While the specifics of how Google looks at pogo-sticking remain undisclosed, insights from John Mueller on user intent, shed light on their perspective.

Mueller emphasizes the importance of fulfilling user intent and aligning content with user needs.

But here's some proof to show you that Google can detect pogo-sticking:

You may have noticed this:

people also search for results

When you click back and forth in the SERPs, Google displays “People also search for” or suggestions in search results that guide you to refine your search queries and find more relevant results.

It means Google is already tracking your pogo-sticking behavior, and it makes sense for them to penalize websites with high levels of pogo-sticking. Therefore, it is essential for you to optimize your user experience and content to minimize pogo-sticking and improve your website's performance.

How to track the pages that might have been affected by pogo-sticking?

Head over to Google Analytics.

Go to all traffic channels. Now click on Organic traffic.

Here set the primary dimension as the Landing page.

google analytics landing pages
  1. In the advanced search settings, set the minimum page views to 70 (or higher, depending on your traffic).
  2. Set the page visit duration filter to less than 50 seconds.
  3. Sort the results in ascending order by average page visit duration for organic searches.
  4. Identify the pages with an "Avg. Time on Page" of less than 17 seconds.
  5. Optionally, consider sorting the results by bounce rate as well.
    bounce rates

If a top result in SERPs has a very high bounce rate and less visit duration, expect the rankings to drop. To avoid this, make a list of all such posts and reconsider them. Update the posts by adding relevant content that drives massive value to your readers.

Make sure that the content satisfies the users' query. Think from the user's perspective and ask yourself, "If a user searches for this keyword, what would they be looking for?" You can also use feedback or survey mechanisms to know what users are looking for.

Use rank trackers to monitor the rankings of your content. Check whether the rankings have improved since the updates.

Here are some other tips:

  • Use a high-quality professional theme on your site for an attractive blog design that keeps readers engaged.
  • Split long paragraphs to increase audience retention duration.
  • Use professional images and videos to make your blog more appealing. Videos are especially effective in keeping readers engaged.
  • Focus on improving content that has less than 10 seconds of audience visit duration.

Effective strategies to minimize pogo-sticking

Understanding the triggers that lead to pogo-sticking can help you make targeted improvements to your content and website design.

Here are some of them:

Here are a few things that can contribute to users bouncing off your website:

Here are some reasons why users may bounce off your website, also known as pogo-sticking:

Avoid misleading headlines

One of the biggest reasons for pogo-sticking is click-baiting.

Using misleading headlines or exaggerated claims can frustrate users who realize that the content doesn't match their expectations.

Make sure that your headlines accurately represent the content within, and avoid using click-bait tactics.

Break up your content

Long, uninterrupted blocks of text can be overwhelming and make it difficult for users to find what they need.

To improve readability and accessibility, break up your content into smaller, digestible sections with clear headings, bullet points, and visuals.

This makes it easier for users to find the information they need quickly and efficiently.

Also, include a table of contents to make it easier for users to navigate your content efficiently, reducing bouncing and the likelihood of pogo-sticking.

Make sure that it is well-structured and easy for users to find what they need. This not only ensures that your content meets their needs and answers their queries effectively but also helps to improve the overall user experience.

Optimize your content for readability

Complex jargon and long sentences can discourage users from reading further, leading to pogo-sticking. To optimize readability, use concise sentences, varied sentence structures, and plain language that appeals to a broader audience.

This ensures that your content is engaging and easy to read.

I have a dedicated guide on Readability Level and SEO.

To write blog posts with high readability scores –

  • Use alternative words.
  • Use short sentences.
  • Aim for improved Flesch-Kincaid readability level.

Provide a good user experience

Distractions like pop-ups, auto-playing videos, and slow-loading websites can negatively impact user experience, leading to an increased bounce rate.

To provide a seamless and distraction-free browsing experience, optimize your website's performance. Ensure that it loads quickly, is responsive across different devices, and has a visually appealing and user-friendly interface.

Answer these questions.

  • Are there any annoying pop-ups on your site?
  • Are there any auto-playing videos?
  • Is your site poorly designed, with little or no CSS?
  • Are there any slow-loading pages?
  • Do you have a mobile responsive theme on your site? (mobile search market is increasing drastically)

Make all the tweaks that encourage the user to remain on your site for a longer duration.

Improving each of these areas can help you optimize your website for user satisfaction, reduce pogo-sticking, and increase engagement and conversions. Remember to focus on the user and create content that satisfies their needs and expectations.

By addressing these issues, you can improve the user experience, reduce pogo-sticking, and increase the likelihood of users staying on your website.

Regularly update and improve content

Keep your content fresh, relevant, and valuable to users.

Regularly review and update your existing content, adding new insights and examples to maintain its relevance and encourage users to stay and explore.

Here’s the process we follow:

  • List down the obvious improvements to make reading our blog post.
  • Analyze commonalities among top-ranking pages.
  • Identify important missing topics and ideal word count using Frase.
  • Check if there are factual inaccuracies and outdated content.
  • Optimize the article for SEO.
  • Create a revised outline and finalize the headline.
  • Write the blog post with the outline and markup open.
  • Optimize the final article again using Frase.
  • Do blog content editing with tools like Grammarly and Wordtune.
  • Add to Accuranker (for rank tracking) with the tag – “Q3 2023 – Content Upgradation”.

Is it Google’s mistake?

Not all pogo-sticking leads to the demotion of your blog post.

Google may mistakenly rank your site for an irrelevant query.

In these cases, users may land on your page but then return to the search engine results page (SERP), navigate to another result, and then return to the same search results page.

Then, finally, they modify their search query.

In fact, more and more people are dissatisfied with Google's search results these days.


It's because all the results on the SERP for their old query may be irrelevant, and your content might have ranked for the wrong search term.

It’s clearly not your mistake here!

In this case, it may be the mistake of the user's search query or Google itself.

If more and more users stumble across the same irrelevant results and modify the same search query, Google reconsiders the results of the search query.

Summing it up

It is clear that Google takes SERP pogo-sticking into account.

Google may track this using data collected by Google Chrome and Analytics. It's a good idea to avoid internal linking to uninteresting content. Always use descriptive anchor texts or make use of link titles properly.

By doing so, users can easily understand the content they'll see after clicking the link, which can help avoid internal pogo-sticking.

If not already, Google will likely adopt internal pogo-sticking tracking in the future. This applies to links across different sites as well.

When writing blog posts, consider user intent. Think about what answers users may be looking for in a search query and include a table of contents to help visitors understand what they'll get from your post.

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