Dwell Time and SEO – Why is Dwell Time Important?

Dwell Time SEOBefore we answer the question of why dwell time is valuable, we must answer one of the question: what is dwell time? Well, dwell time is the length of time a search engine user spends on a website page before returning to the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

For example, let’s say a Google or a Bing user searches for “veganism for beginners” once they have entered their search query, a bunch of results will be returned by the search engine. The next step that the user will take is to click on one of the results.

So, the time that the user spends on the website page that they have clicked on before returning to the SERPs is called dwell time. In this guide, you will find out why dwell time is essential and how it can help you rank better in search engines. So, all you have to do is read further.

Bounce Rate Vs. Dwell Time Vs. Time on Page

There are several other SEO metrics that dwell time is sometimes confused with by SEO professionals. dwell time is not bounce rate, nor is it time on page. Take a look at the following definitions for clarity.

  • Bounce Rate – This is a metric used to calculate the percentage of sessions spent on a single page of a website. For instance, bounce rate measures users who only visit one page on a site before leaving. That user could have wholly closed the page or moved on to another website. Also, it does not matter whether a user spent five seconds on a page or two hours once they have left; it is considered a bounce. Another thing that should be considered is that not all users come from SERPs.
  • Time on page – the average time spent on a page before clicking anywhere else on the website is a metric used by Google Analytics. So, these users may have gone to another page on the website or navigates to another site entirely. Plus, we should also consider that not all users whose average time is measured came from the search engine results pages.

Is Dwell Time a Ranking Factor?

Search engines such as Bing have confirmed that dwell time is used in their algorithms, which affects rankings. Many SEO professionals have always speculated that dwell time is a ranking factor, especially after the quality of content became very important to search engines.

In a 2011 blog about quality content, Senior Project Manager at Bing, Duane Forrester, alluded to the fact that dwell time was a great metric to measure how good the content was.

So, the longer a user spends on a page before returning to the search engine results page indicates to the search engine that the information of the page is useful. Therefore, it is suitable for users. This also meas that it will be suggested to other users who may be looking for the same content.

If users spend less time on a page before returning to SERPs, it tells the search engine that the content on the page is not useful for the user. Subsequently, the website will be suggested less.

However, it is essential to note that Google has not overtly mentioned dwell time as a ranking factor. But it has been included in its machine learning models.

How to Improve Dwell Time

How is Dwell Time Calculated?

There isn’t a specific tool that search engines have made available to calculate dwell time for users automatically. You can manually set up a command (with a JavaScript code) on Tag manager to calculate dwell time. Follow these steps:

  1. Log onto Tag Manager
  2.  Click new Tag
  3. Select Custom HTML Tag.
  4.  Name the tag “GA- Dwell Time – HTML.”
  5.  Insert JavaScript Code
  6.  Click Save.

How Can I Improve My Dwell Time?

There are a few things that you can do to make sure that you are optimized for a longer dwell time. Here are a few steps that you can take to make sure you have quality content.

1.      Use the APP Method in your Introduction

The app is an acronym for Agree, Promise, and Preview.

  • Agree – Your introduction should begin with something that your users are most likely to agree with, like “starting a business is difficult.” This shows that you understand their problems.
  • Promise – once you’re done with your statement of the agreement, you should promise the user that you will deliver valuable information. For example, “while starting a business is difficult, there are a few strategies you can use to mitigate this difficulty.”
  • Preview – You should tell your users what they will get on the page. Like, “in this guide, you will find five strategies to help you start your business.”

2.      Insert Videos

It would be a good idea to insert videos in your content since search engines have started ranking them in SERPs.

Also, studies have found that pages that have videos on them have a longer average time than pages that don’t. It would also be useful to insert a video because it would ensure that a user’s dwell time is longer.

3.      Focus on Readability

It is essential to make sure that your content reads well for your users. If it is too difficult to understand, that will almost guarantee an exit from them.

Many tools help content writers ensure that they are producing content that is readable for users on the internet. So, it is a good idea to make use of them.

4.      Write Longer Content

Studies have revealed that longer content generates more backlinks than significantly short content. The long-form content was found to have produced 72.2% more backlinks. This should tell you that users are looking for more information and you should provide it.

5.      Improve Page Speed

Google has confirmed that the speed of a page is a ranking factor. Therefore, it only makes sense to make sure that you improve the loading speed of your pages.

6.      Optimize for Mobile Devices

Since a lot of people, these days are using their mobile devices to search for information. It makes sense to makes sure that your content is responsive to mobile viewing. In previous years, it was found that 48.91% of website traffic in the world came from mobile devices.

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