What is Dwell Time & Why Does it Matter for Your SEO?
# SEO Knowledge
Dwell time refers to the duration between when a user clicks a link on the SERP, enters a webpage, and subsequently returns to the search results page.
What Does Dwell Time Mean?
Dwell time is the amount of time a user spends on a web page before navigating back to the search results on SERP. It's like a length of time of how long visitors hang around and engage with your page and content.
It’s important to know that the calculation of dwell time starts and ends with the SERP.
This concept holds significant importance, particularly in the SEO field, where user experience is everything. We will explain more in the following paragraph.
Does Dwell Time Matter in SEO?
Now, let's tackle the big question: Does dwell time really matter in SEO?
To answer that, we need to understand how dwell time differs from other related metrics that people often get confused with dwell time, like bounce rate and time on the page.
Dwell Time vs. Bounce Rate vs. Time on Page
As these three metrics are about giving insights into user behavior, many overlook the distinct nuance among them. Let’s look at the bounce rate and time on the page first.
This metric measures the percentage of how many users leave your site after viewing a page.
It doesn’t specify where the users head afterward. As long as they leave your site after viewing just one page on your site, it can be seen as a single bounce.
Time on page:
The idea of this metric is similar to dwell time. It shows the length of time a user spends on your page before heading somewhere else. Still, just like the bounce rate, it doesn’t limit users’ later destination. It can be another page on your site, other URLs, or back to the SERP.
It is essentially the amount of time a user spends on your pages.
The main difference between these 3 metrics is that only dwell time specifies the starting destination and the final destination of a user. Only when they are both SERP can it be seen as the dwell time spent on one page as it considers the entire user journey.
Is Dwell Time a Ranking Metric?
One of the burning questions in the world of SEO metrics is whether they directly influence rankings. When it comes to dwell time, the answer is still a bit hazy.
There is still no definitive proof from Google to say that it uses dwell time as a ranking metric for its results.
Well, here we are not going to delve into the debate about whether dwell time can impact rankings or not, but we will analyze if poor dwell time can harm SEO performances.
Firstly, does lower dwell time show users are not satisfied with your content?
Generally, we would believe so. If users quickly leave your page, it's often interpreted as a sign that they didn't find what they were looking for, resulting in a low dwell time.
Here we beg it differently. We have talked about the zero-clicks searches in the CTR article before. There is a scenario in which the user’s query is satisfied immediately by the information presented solely on SERP. In such cases, users may arrive at your page, find the information they need right away, and then leave. Doesn't this indicate that your page effectively fulfilled the search intent?
In contrast, a longer dwell time can be a double-edged sword. It might suggest that your content is engaging enough to keep users lingering for an extended period. On the flip side, it could also imply that users are spending more time searching for information on your page as they might be poorly structured. It all comes down to the search intent behind each keyword.
In conclusion, whether dwell time directly influences Google's ranking algorithms remains uncertain. However, it does serve as a crucial metric for creating a better user engagement experience. It's essential to remember that neither short nor long dwell times inherently translate to good user satisfaction. It all depends on the target keyword.
How to Calculate Dwell Time?
Now we understand the importance of dwell time, but how do we calculate it?
First thing first:
There is no formula to calculate dwell time.
But we do know the definition of dwell time, and we can get the data we want for the page by checking the average session duration on Google Analytics. This is the closest way to know how long a user stays on a page.
Check Dwell Time in Google Analytics
Access your GA account, click “Behavior”, then “Site Content”, and then “Landing Pages.”
Hit “Add Segment” next to the “All Users”, then check the box of “Organic Traffic”, then hit “Apply.”
Since dwell time is about visiting from organic results, adding this segment can make sure the data presented is related to the SERPs.
The “Average Session Duration” shown in the table can be depicted as the “Dwell Time” we are looking for.
You can compare the durations across all pages to filter out the pages with poorer performances in dwell time. Now, let’s learn how to increase dwell time!
How to Increase Dwell Time
There are 2 perspectives when it comes to improving your dwell time: the content and the technical part. They are equally important, so when you’re planning your dwell time strategies, don’t forget to take both into consideration.
Here we offer a set of best practices to help you achieve optimized dwell time.
Target User Intent Always
It goes without saying that the goal is to satisfy users. This is also applicable when we want to increase the dwell time. Your content should never wander off the path to resolve a user’s query for a specific keyword. Always keep user intent at the forefront of your content creation process.
Presenting what people are looking for is only the first step to making them stay on your page.
Hook Your Audience Fast
The introduction of an article is like a virtual handshake, and it bears the responsibility of captivating the reader's attention at first sight.
It's the decisive moment when users determine whether to scroll down or make an early exit. To succeed in this critical task, you must deploy the art of the hook – that irresistible bait that lures them in.
Use a question as bait to tempt the curiosity among readers. Keep the tone intriguing and engaging. Also, hint that you will provide the answer eventually to encourage people to read till the end of the article to get the reward.
Catch and hook users’ attention the first sight they see your page.
Avoid Making Clickbait
Clickbait can be an effective way to draw visitors to your page, no doubt, but once users realize you’re using clickbait and not able to deliver what users want to read, then they will turn back to SERPs without hesitation.
Resist the temptation to use clickbaity design in your meta title and meta description.
It may offer a temporary surge in traffic, but the negative impact will outweigh the benefits it brings, leaving you with a bitter aftertaste.
Multimedia is Your Friend
In today’s digital landscape, people are used to getting information from pictures, videos, and even shorts. They want variety, so embedding multimedia into your content is a good way to capture people's attention. Try to include relevant shorts and videos in your content. They work as breadcrumbs that lead users further down the content rabbit hole. Also, creating infographics is also a good way to glue people to your page as they need time to pause, ponder, and engage, thereby increasing dwell time.
When seeking to prolong dwell time, embrace multimedia as your loyal companion, but do so with discernment and relevance in mind.
Plan Internal Links Well
Query often comes in packs. It is hard to satisfy relevant queries in just one article. When you’re writing your pieces, try to include more related topics and connect them with anchor texts. By building a network of articles, once users are hooked to your content, they will follow every subtopic you design and stay on your website. If users had a better alternative for them to read on, they would hardly go back to SERPs. A longer dwell time is in your bag.
Brainstorm a few subtopics to write articles with and plan your internal link network well by burying relevant anchor texts.
A well-connected network helps users navigate within your pages, increasing dwell time and user experience.
Update Your SEO-Friendly Content
Outdated content drives users away. Especially for time-sensitive topics, regular updates are imperative. Keep your content current to entice users to linger longer on your page.
Don’t Keep People Waiting to Load a Page
Creating a smooth viewing experience is the first step to achieving longer dwell time. Let’s face it: People can be impatient. If your page fails to load within seconds, visitors will click away without second thoughts. Also, if it takes too much time to load pictures on your page, you might get the same reaction from users.
It is best to keep the loading speed of your website at its best.
Mobile-Friendly Pages are Must-Does
With mobile devices dominating web usage, mobile-friendliness is non-negotiable. Ensure your site and pages are easily accessible on mobile.
Neglecting mobile optimization risks losing visitors who seek on-the-go information but bounce from unfriendly sites.
Improve Your Dwell Time in SEO with Welly
By now, you've grasped the significance of dwell time and how it plays a crucial role in SEO. It's the glue that holds user engagement together and directly impacts your website's success. But if you're feeling overwhelmed with all the strategies and metrics in SEO, don't worry. We've got your back.
If you're eager to delve deeper into SEO for more insights and guidance or receive an SEO audit report, don't hesitate to reach out to Welly through the yellow button below to elevate your SEO performance to new heights! Let's click and conquer!