Google’s John Mueller has revealed that a user behavior known as pogo-sticking is not a signal when it comes to ranking search results.
“Pogo-sticking” is a nickname given to the act of quickly navigating back and forth between pages in search results.
Site owners may be concerned that it’s considered a negative ranking signal when users quickly back out from a page shortly after landing on it.
Mueller confirmed that’s not the case. In fact, pogo-sticking is not something worth worrying about at all.
This topic came out during a recent Google Webmaster Central hangout, where a user asked the following question:
“If we’ve got some legacy content, or content that maybe we’ve neglected and could be focusing our efforts elsewhere, and the user clicks on that, has a poor experience, and clicks back to the SERP. That’s obviously bad for SEO. Is that something that would affect that page only, or would it have an effect on the rest of the website?”
Contrary to what this particular site owner believes, Mueller responded by saying Google doesn’t use signals like that when it comes to search.
There are a number of reasons why users might go back and forth between pages in search results, which would make it difficult for Google to turn that behavior into a ranking factor.
In short — Mueller says it’s not something worth focusing on as a site owner.
The full question, along with Mueller’s response, can be seen in the video below starting at the 51:18 mark.
“We try not to use signals like that when it comes to search. So that’s something where there are lots of reasons why users might go back and forth, or look at different things in the search results, or stay just briefly on a page and move back again. I think that’s really hard to refine and say “well, we could turn this into a ranking factor.”
So I would not worry about things like that. When we look at our algorithms overall, when we review which algorithm changes that we want to launch, we do look into how users react to these changes. But that’s something we look at across millions of different queries, and millions of different pages, and kind of see in general is this algorithm going the right way or is this algorithm going in the right way.
But for individual pages I don’t think that’s something worth focusing on at all.”