Pogo-sticking is an SEO phenomenon, where a particular site has a decent visit duration but the audience simply can’t commit to a single page. So, like with riding an actual pogo-stick, they bounce from one page to another, often in a back and forth manner. This isn’t the same as the bounce rate (a far more notorious term in the world of SEO), mostly because these people still remain in your domain. It is, however, a negative ranking signal. From the pragmatic standpoint, it causes a major problem where you spend time, effort and dedication to develop a page that receives virtually no attention from your audience. So, here are some UX design tips to help you avoid this common SEO trend.
Answer their question as quickly as you can
The first thing you need to realize is the fact that your audience enters a page with a certain expectation – a question of sorts. If you can’t answer their question in the first 10 seconds, chances are that you will lose their interest for good. Why? Well, according to some modern estimates, humans of the digital era officially have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. If they can’t find the answer to what they’re looking for, they’ll simply go someplace else in quest for answers. Some of them will assume that the next page brings the answer, which creates an urge to click the next link. The cycle goes on and on.
Your three primary objectives here are to get their question answered, build their trust with your business and make them come back for more. One more issue that we have to address is the one of mistaking pogo-sticking with an ordinary exploration of your domain. Remember “You want your audience to visit as many pages as possible!” Still, you also want them to linger around a bit and get familiar with your brand.
An intuitive navigation
One of the things we’ve mentioned in the previous section is the importance of managing the expectations of your target audience. There’s nothing that can disappoint as quickly as an unrealistic expectation, so, manage this with care. So, when clicking on the link or the “Next Page” button, you want your audience to know exactly where they’re about to land.
Another issue that intuitive navigation can help you resolve is one of the accidental clicks. Think about it, your average reader sees a button or a link that they are confused by, so they decide to figure out what it is with a trial-and-error methodology. They click on the link and once they see where it leads, they return back. All it takes is for them to do this several times (with several links/buttons) and there you have it – a pogo-stick phenomenon. All it takes to remove this problem is more intuitive (and more transparent) navigation. In the era of phishing transparency also helps you build trust with your audience.
While the above-listed methods may seem straightforward and effective, the truth is that you really need an extensive analysis in order to fully understand user behaviour. This is why you probably need the services of a specialized SEO agency. You see, managing expectations starts with your SEO campaign and your keyword research. The keyword that an average internet user types into the search box of their search engine of choice are what they expect to see on results. This is the main reason why black-hat techniques don’t yield positive long-term results. It’s also the main reason why you need professional assistance.
Making your content readable
One more reason why people abandon your pages is due to the fact that your content isn’t readable. First of all, you want your content to be sectioned in paragraphs (between 100 and 150 words each) and you want to learn a thing or two about the use of whitespace. Second, you want to minimize the use of passive voice in your content and you want to watch out for the length of your sentences. Heavy use of sub-headlines (properly formatted with H2 and H3, of course) is also a priority.
The next thing worth discussing is the importance of picking the right vocabulary. You want to sound like your audience, which is a harder task than you would assume. Oversimplifying may make you look like someone who lacks expertise in the field. It may also make you sound condescending. This is especially true if your average audience member has some prior knowledge of the industry. On the other hand, being too technical (especially if it’s too complex for your audience) might also drive them away. In other words, make sure to speak the language that your audience is comfortable with. In order to do this, however, you need to know your audience.
While eliminating (or at least minimizing) pogo-sticking may have been your original intention, the above-listed methods are beneficial in other ways, as well. They also improve your other SEO efforts, raise the overall quality of your content and help you establish adequate digital marketing practices. By making better content, improving the overall UX design and connecting with professionals, you’re taking the next step towards improving your online presence. At the same time, there isn’t a single downside to the above-listed four practices that you need to fear. A true win-win scenario.