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Website Quality & Pogo Sticking

The Search Engines look at many factors when deciding how to rank a website. One facet that has recently received a higher profile within the SEO community is the concept of PoGo sticking.

What is PoGo sticking? It’s a term used by the industry to describe how visitors to the search results page hop from one site to the next. You work your way down the search results page until finding the site that answers your question.

Let’s say you click on the very top result and visit that site. After fifteen seconds, you decide that wasn’t really the site you were looking for and you hit the back button or perform the search again.

Back on the search results, you click on the second site and spend thirty-eight seconds there. That’s better, we know you were reading a few paragraphs from an article of interest. But you went back to the search and clicked the third result, so we also know that you didn’t get the answer to your question on site two.

Finally, you spent three minutes on the third site and from there disappeared; never returning to the search page. We know you found what you were searching for.

SERP Results

If we obtain an average of the time spent on these sites and average the number of times people return to search again, we will discover the site that best answers the question for this search query. The search engines consider this a quality site for that keyword and will rank it accordingly.

So while site number one in the search has more backlinks, we know that site three answered the question for this search more often. If you are a search engine and you want to deliver quality results, the obvious answer is to move site three into the top position. Site three, with fewer ranking signals, now ranks number one.

To be clear, nobody knows how much power PoGo sticking carries with the search engines. At this time, most professionals don’t believe this factor outranks backlinks. But it is clear that this ranking signal is beginning to carry more weight.

How do we apply this new knowledge? First, we must understand what the search engines think each page is about. We have clients who are often stunned at the answer! For example; let’s pretend that you are a wedding photographer. Obviously you have a page on your site that is filled with photographs.

Under one photo, you talk about the beautiful bride you shot along the river. The next caption mentions the lovely bride you photographed in the chapel. You think you have a page on photography and the search engines think your page is about beautiful brides.

Clearly visitors to this site have searched one query and you have created a page with a different query in mind. What your visitors are searching for may be different that what your clients are searching for. The result is that the search engines believe you have a low quality site. You must create a Google Webmaster Tools account and use it!

Mobile Phone in Hand

There are a couple of other factors you need to look into to combat PoGo Sticking. An important one is knowing how your site works on smart phones. Obviously, anyone who visits a site they cannot read with buttons they cannot use will go right back to search.

Another other issue is site style and usability. Can the visitor navigate the site with ease? If not, they will return to the search page. Navigation is completely under your control and there is very little excuse for not getting this one right.

If you want to know more about this important issue, please contact us.

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