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Pogosticking, Bouncing and Long Clicks

Baffled? Don’t be – Pogosticking, Long Clicks and Bounces are terms that represent ways to look at:

  • your web pages relevancy,
  • and appear to be ranking signals.


Bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of users who visit your page and don’t do anything else. You may presume that:

  • this is time dependent,
  • a visit that lasted just a few seconds,
  • but actually you can visit a page for 20 minutes and still qualify as a ‘bounce’ on this metric.
  • It just means you went to one page and did nothing else.

Pogosticking, Bouncing and Long Clicks

It can be misleading because if you have a great page, many users may do nothing when they get to it. Particularly if it has useful, long form content. Or they may bookmark or share it somewhere. So this introduces another concept – ‘long clicks’. It relies on how long the user was on that page. This metric is thought to be an important ranking signal.  But there is a further issue here.

What if you have a short amount of text and the user gets their results in 10 seconds and leaves?

  • This would give you a higher bounce rate,
  • and at the same time time the visit was a short click (time on page and at the same time only one page visited)
  • rather than a long visit, but the user was actually satisfied.

So ideally, (and Google has a patent on this already), the volume of content on the page can be used to estimate a healthy amount of time a user would spend, therefore adjusting what would be qualified as a ‘long click’ or a ‘short click’.

This is potentially more useful than just looking at bounce rate or average time on page.

A short average time on the page but a longer time on site, or higher number of pages per session, can infer that the site is good, but also that the particular landing page was potentially not useful enough, and that means users may be a lot more likely to leave unsatisfied.

A long clicks metric is essentially related to ‘average time on page’. You can find in your Google Analytics console. It can be unreliable to look at bounce rate. ‘% Exits’ is another metric available to you in your analytics console. It measures the percentage of users on that page that used it as the last page on your site during a session. So if they came to another page, navigated to that, and then left. This could indicate where you are losing people.

Pogosticking, Bouncing and Long Clicks

‘Pogosticking’ is a term about user behavior after visiting your site. Suppose somebody types in a query like “caring for armadillos”. Google serves up a result about a pop band called smokin’ armadillos. You click on this, but then leave quickly and go back to your serp, and then you select a different link in that page.

This is ‘pogosticking’, you could call it a short click with a return to the SERP for choosing an alternative site. It would mean that the result for that particular search query was not useful. It is a bounce, but a bounce with an additional search, and a short time on the page. If a visitor conducts a ‘short click’, bounces (one page visited) and then goes back to the SERP and clicks a different link, or refines the search, that would be obviously a strong indicator to Google that it matched the wrong web page to the user query, and should down rank you. We don’t get from Google this additional information about subsequent sites a visitor goes to after being on your site, but there is no question that they would have it.

Pogosticking, Bouncing and Long Clicks

As you can tell, all this information – some of which is available to you or you can estimate with ‘proxy’ metrics in analytics – is great for a search engine to determine a pages ranking for a particular query. No metric by itself is enough, but combining this information is what gives a picture of relevancy. At the current time many marketers have inferred that pogosticking is a method used to strongly influence ranking – but Google is very secretive about it’s methods.

Nevertheless, Google does utilise user behaviors in their algorithms, and there is general rules that will improve SEO efforts, reduce pogosticking and short clicks, which you can expect to be bad for your business anyhow, given that you are likely to need to improve your page or site if users can’t get what they want. For example, site navigation improvements and related content on your site will reduce your bounce rate by keeping more visitors somewhere on your site. Remember a user does not bounce if they navigate somewhere else on your site, even if they clicked in two seconds. We can use common sense principles for improving metrics of user engagement that are obviously useful to you, and Googles algorithms will pick up on in general-

The content should match what is displayed on the SERP – make sure title and description meta tags match what’s in your page.

Provide content that actually delivers what will be expected if someone clicks on a google result. So don’t make the content too thin or hard to read and find out what they are likely to be looking for, put it in.

Likewise, spelling errors and bad presentation/grammar, will suggest there is no really useful information available.

Speed – a page that loads quickly reduces bounce rate, short clicks and pogosticking.

Mobile friendly website, which displays properly in different devices.

One should gain results just from doing this.

This should increase average time on page, which you can see in your analytics. If this is useful content, then good site navigation also reduces bounce rate further and number of pages per session is then a positive indicator which you can measure in both bounce rate and average pages per session which you can see in analytics easily.

If you have a good page which doesn’t need additional site exploration, then bounce rate may be an inefficient measure of user satisfaction – here we would look at average time on page as an important metric






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