What is Dwell Time in SEO?
Google has long focused on user experience. One of the many ranking factors they consider when evaluating websites is dwell time. Dwell time is a metric that measures how long a user stays on your website. Dwell time is also called Time on Page.
The longer someone dwells on a website, the more likely they are to find what they are looking for and convert into a customer.
Why is dwell time important for SEO?
Dwell time is an important metric for search engine optimization SEO because it indicates how interested visitors are in the content. If the visitors spend a lot of time on the website, it means that you offer them valuable information that interests them. If visitors leave your website after a few seconds, it means that you need to improve the quality of the content. For search engine algorithms, this can mean that the visitor returns to the search results, visits another page and finishes the search there. Consequently, the user signals how relevant a visit to your site was based on the bounce rate and dwell time.
In this blog post, we will discuss how you can measure and improve dwell time!
How can I measure SEO dwell time?
Dwell Time can usually be measured by any website analytics tool. Google Analytics, for example, gives the average time on page in the behavior reports. Here you can see per page how long visitors engage with your content on average:
6 best practices to improve dwell time
1) Quality Content
Provide quality content that addresses the topic in the best possible way. All possible questions and relevant sub-points should be covered. However, this does not always have to be more content. For a simple answer to a question, the answer with other important points is sufficient.
Let’s take this blog post as an example. A definition is enough to define dwell time, but helpful tips to improve this metric seem useful to me.
2) Internal linking
Internal cross links are not only good for SEO, as they signal how important a page is on your website, but also refer the reader to other relevant content. Thus, the dwell time can be increased, and the bounce rate reduced. The best way to start is with an internal link analysis to find potential improvements. (See what I did here)
3) Rich Media
Using videos, audio files, and images can improve dwell time. Rich media files like podcasts or infographics also have the side benefit of generating natural backlinks. Videos can be an SEO ranking factor in their own right in search results and also other platforms like YouTube. The same is true for image files via social media accounts and search engine image search. Accordingly, rich media can not only increase dwell time, improve user experience, but also be their own traffic sources.
However, it is important to consider the size and loading speeds of rich media files. It is important to always optimize the page speed.
By the way, in the screenshot above, the page with a 7:55 min dwell time has a video embedded.
4) Appealing design
The design and layout of the landing page should always be appealing. The most important thing is that it should be a responsive website design that adapts to the different screen sizes. The width of columns, text size, and size of clickable elements should always be user-friendly.
If these factors are not present, you should consider redesigning and relaunching the website.
Using games or gamification to obtain information usually keeps users on the site longer. This should look native and no artificial gamifications should be implemented just to keep the user on the page. This can also have a negative effect. Quizzes or small tests, which are closely related to the search intention, work particularly well here.
6) Ungated Content
If you put content like virtual webinars or white papers behind a download gate, but they don’t generate many leads anymore, you should consider making the content freely available as long as it is still relevant. Search engines can point directly to ungated content. Ultimately, this content was created and made available for download because it contains valuable information that readers engage with for a long time.
If you leverage these 6 tips and keep your content up to date, you can optimize your website and get better SEO results. Dwell time is just one SEO metric, but it can also tell you a lot about your website.