Consider how you search for things on the internet. Most likely, you enter your search terms and click on the first relevant result. Then, you scan the content on the page to see if it has the information you need. When you find what you are looking for, you keep reading. If not, you click back to the search results page.
The amount of time you spend on a page after landing on it from the search results page is called the dwell time. It’s an important ranking factor, but not many people are tracking it.
What Is Dwell Time?
Dwell time is tracked from the time you click on a link on the SERP (search engine results page) until you click back to search results or otherwise exit the page. If the dwell time is low, Google assumes that the result wasn’t relevant.
Dwell Time vs. Bounce Rate
The difference between bounce rate and dwell time comes down to timing. If someone immediately exits a page, that is counted as a bounce. It will only count as dwell time if they spend at least a short amount of time on the page.
Why Is Dwell Time Important?
Dwell time is important because it gives marketers information about one of the most important components of SEO: search intent. When a page accumulates a significant amount of dwell time, that indicates users are finding information that matches their search intent. When dwell time is low, that indicates that the page may contain certain keywords but isn’t aligning with user intent.
How to Fix Low Dwell Time
When a page has an issue with dwell time, there are two things to consider. The first is that you aren’t optimizing for the right keywords. Research the focus keyword of that page. Is it a good fit? Maybe it needs to be adjusted. Sometimes, lengthening a keyword phrase to make it more specific will improve your page indexing. This will help it align better with user search intent.
What happens when your keyword use is okay and it matches user intent? In that case, the issue is likely the content itself. It may be relevant but have one or more of these issues:
- Not mobile friendly
- Too few or poor-quality visuals
- Difficult-to-read formatting
- Outdated content
Look at your content objectively. How would you perceive it as a potential customer or someone seeking information?
How to Calculate Dwell Time
Dwell time is calculated for you if you use Google Analytics. It’s shown as “average session duration.” This is the total amount of time for all sessions within a period of time divided by the total number of sessions.
However, the average session duration is calculated for every web page you have. For dwell time, you only want the pages that are accessible from search results. So you might narrow your search to just landing pages. You can also add a segment to analytics for organic traffic only.
Improve Dwell Time with Net Profit Marketing
If you’d like to improve this or any other SEO metric, Net Profit Marketing can help. We have SEO professionals ready to work with you. Contact us to discuss your SEO strategy.