[Dwell time and pogo-sticking on SEO] What they are and how to prevent them from affecting your positioning


Ever heard the terms “dwell time” and “pogo-sticking”?

If you’re currently trying to improve your site’s positioning, you must’ve run into these two strange concepts, though you may not have a full grasp over their meaning quite yet.

Fear not! In this post, we’re going to tell you what they’re all about.

For starters, however, all you need to know is that they’re really important if you want your site to make it to the top of Google’s results page.

Why? Because Google’s famous algorithm takes these two metrics into account to determine if users find a given result useful.

Want to know how dwell time and pogo-sticking affect your site’s SEO?

Then read on because this will definitely interest you. 😉

👉 How do dwell time and pogo-sticking relate to SEO?

Are they the same thing?

Not at all, but they do go hand in hand, and they both have an impact on your site’s position on Google.

Let’s examine them closely.

✅ 1. Dwell time

As the name suggests, dwell time refers to how long a user spends on a given site.

This metric measures how much time goes by from the moment a user lands on a website to the moment they go back to the search results page.

Here’s an example to help you get a better idea of what we mean.

Suppose somebody googles “aluminum-free deodorant” to find different brands offering this kind of product. The list they get would look like this:


Next, they’ll click on the first result that catches their eye or the one that best addresses their query.

Suppose now they click on the first result, then give the page a quick glance, but realize it’s not what they’re looking for. Consequently, the user goes straight back to the search results page.

This means the dwell time barely reached 5 seconds.

As you can imagine, the longer a person spends on the site, the better it is for the site in question since Google will understand that the page must have offered sufficiently interesting and relevant content to make the user stay longer.

In other words, the page will be better positioned.

Note: Even though they sound similar, don’t confuse dwell time and bounce rate, as the latter measures the users that leave the site without making a single click. Therefore, this metric doesn’t shed much light on the relevance of the information found by the user.

However, dwell time does tell us quite a bit about the user experience. If someone spends 5 minutes on a page instead of 5 seconds, that means they’ve found what they were looking for.

✅ 2. Pogo-sticking

Pogo-sticking is when users visit different sites from the same results page on Google.

Interestingly, pogo is a dance consisting of jumping around. So, if you think about it, it makes sense because it’s as if users were jumping around different sites until they find one they like.

Let’s go back to the previous example.

The user in question leaves the first page after not finding what they were after.

So what happens next?

He clicks on the second result. The page takes time to load, so they go back to the search results. He clics on the third link but can’t find anything either. Again, he clicks on the “back” button.

That’s what pogo-sticking is.

Every keyword has an average pogo percentage. In other words, it’s normal for certain searches to have a specific number of back-and-forth visits by users.

The problem is when your site’s pogo-sticking is above average, as that makes Google think you’re not giving users what they want.

Which leads us to the next point.

👉 Tips to prevent pogo-sticking and dwell time from affecting your positioning

What makes users stay on your site and not jump to another one too quickly?

Good user experience.

If it’s good, you’ll keep your shop away from pogo-sticking and improve your dwell time. To help you out here, we’ve put together a list with some tips. 😉

✅ 1. Create high-quality content that’s relevant to the user’s search intention

Think about it.

The better content your site has to offer, the more likely it’ll be for users to stick around and read it. But it’s not just about offering thought-out content, it must also be relevant.

And what does that mean?

It means your content needs to reflect the keyword used in the search.

But how can you figure out the user’s search intention?

Easy peasy.

Google that keyword in incognito mode.

Let’s google, for example, “waterproof tents”, and see what kinds of results come up. At the top, you should see some links with the content that best suits the keyword used in the search.

We don’t mean by this that addressing the user’s search intention will earn you better positioning in and of itself. However, you’ll have a hard time ranking up without this part of the equation.


So what does this page show exactly?

At first glance, it looks like what people are trying to find are posts comparing different models of waterproof tents. Therefore, for this specific keyword, you should create a post comparing different models of waterproof tents.

✅ 2. Mind your site’s loading speed

Patience may be a virtue, but common it is not, when it comes to the online world.

If your site takes too long to load, users will leave sooner than you think, which means:

  • Shorter dwelltime
  • More pogo-sticking

In other words, worse positioning, because if the user experience hasn’t been very good, Google won’t be happy about it.

And you don’t want that, right?

That’s why you should do everything in your power to speed up your site.

If you don’t know how, here’s a post where we explain how to improve your site’s loading speed.

✅ 3. Avoid 404 error pages

When someone wants to get to a site that’s not available or simply doesn’t exist, they bump right into a 404 error.

What happens next?

They turn around and head back to the results page, something Google’s not fond of, as we’ve already seen.

But don’t panic!

Here’s an in-depth post on how to spot these errors and how you can use them in your favor.

One good idea is to customize this page by including a link to your homepage. This will keep users busy exploring your site, which will result in a longer dwell time.

✅ 4. Get hold of a smart search engine such as Doofinder

Once users click on your site, they’ll be more likely to stick around for a while if you have a smart search engine offering relevant content.

Many online stores using Doofinder have confirmed that their average dwell time – the time users spend on their websites – increased significantly thanks to using our intelligent search engine.

Specifically, Tauton’s (a camping brand) dwell time increased by 22%. Click here to learn more.

And that’s because this search engine improves the user experience.

But how?

  • Personalized results that vary according to each user’s behavior, giving it value.
  • Product suggestions that will keep people navigating through your site by showing related results.

Among other functionality, of course.

But if you want to see for yourself, don’t forget there’s a 30-day free trial waiting for you.

✅ 5. Don’t overlook your site’s navigability

Navigability refers to how easily users can navigate through your website.

The more navigable your site is, the longer users will spend on it because they’ll feel at ease moving around it. Of course, this means enhanced dwell time.

If you want your site to be navigable, make sure it has:

  • Site structure: Your site must have the right hierarchy if you want users to move around it smoothly and intuitively.
  • Appropriate design: This will help users move around your site as if they were being walked through a beautiful shopping street.

The easier your site’s navigation is, the easier it’ll be to interact with it (that is, the better web usability it’ll have).

All these factors combined will contribute to an enhanced user experience.

👉 In a nutshell, more “dwell” and less “pogo”

Offer relevant content that suits the user’s search intention, make sure your website is fast, and its navigability is simple and intuitive.

To put it simply, be sure your site offers a positive user experience. At the end of the day, that’s what Google values on top of everything else.

Happy users are the key to preventing dwell time and pogo-sticking from having a negative impact on your SEO.

Have you taken good notes on these tips?

We hope you’ll put them into practice and that you’ll find them useful to boost your position on Google in the future. Time to get to work!

Avoiding “pogo” and increasing the “dwell”! Let’s do it! 😉