Courtney Eckerle

Marketing 101: What is pogo sticking?

July 21st, 2017
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Pogo sticking is, sadly, not all fun and games. In fact, for marketers it’s one of the most annoying scourges of the search engine marketing world.

Essentially, pogo sticking is when a user searches, clicks on a result, and almost immediately (within five seconds) clicks back to the search result page. The implication of this is obvious — they didn’t find what they were looking for, which indicates it wasn’t a relevant result.

It’s important to note the difference between a bounce rate and pogo sticking because, while they are related, they are not the same. A bounce rate is where a high percentage of visitors visit a single page of a website. It’s not always bad, maybe they found what they were looking for on Page 1, or bookmarked it for later.

Pogo sticking is always bad, and Google will strike down almighty punishment.

Obviously, you will not be penalized if it happens once or twice. But, if it’s happening often, it’s important that you take notice and figure out where the disconnect is between what people are searching for and what they’re finding on your website.

So why would this be happening to you? The answer is most likely found in one of the internet’s small annoyances:

  • Slow page loading time
  • Videos that autoplay
  • Too many pop-up windows
  • Confusing, cluttered or outdated design
  • Poor usability

Another common cause of pogo sticking is exactly what Google thinks it is — spammy, poorly spelled, and/or not-relevant content.

For example, if you decided to put up a lot of clickbait articles that don’t actually follow through on the promise of the headline, that could immediately deter readers. Similarly, if they click through and see that the article is really one paragraph stuffed with keywords, that would turn people off too.

Another obstacle may occur if you’re not clearly an expert or thought leader on the subject you’re talking about. For example, if MarketingSherpa were to post an article about boats. Someone would click onto our website, notice the lack of nautical design aspects, and within seconds conclude (correctly) that our article will not help them.

Pogo sticking is a place where Google is helping by hurting.

If people aren’t satisfied with what they’re finding on your website, that’s valuable information. You don’t deserve to rank highly until you can quickly provide people with what they’re searching for.

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Courtney Eckerle

About Courtney Eckerle

With a focus on aspirational, customer-first marketing, Courtney’s goal has been to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. This has included writing over 300 case studies, moderating live event interviews, and producing video content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was a correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS Institute.

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