What is dwell time and its important in SEO?
Dwell time is a metric that is referenced a lot on social media, articles, and other presentations. It has been a very popular topic to be discussed in the SEO line but sadly it remains misunderstood in the SEO community. It is considered an integral Google ranking signal though not by all.
What is dwell time?
Dwell time is actually the total time a user spends on looking at a web page after clicking a link on the search engine result page. Mostly it happens to you when you search or evaluate for an answer which you found instantly or might be a failure for which you hit back instantly. It should be noticed that the more time spent searching your answer on the content of a page you clicked to visit, the higher the probability that page satisfied your needs.
In short, it is the time spent after the user clicks on the search result link and returns back to the same page. It is the metric to calculate user engagement and session duration.
Suppose you have an e-commerce site, you will have a low dwell time. But why? The answer is the user takes very little time to take out information about their requirements from pages like these. They will just skim through your site and return back if they do not like it. On the other hand, the site which contains lots of content and info requires a lot of dwell time.
Many questions about dwell time are yet to be answered like Is dwell time really a google ranking signal or will it affect the digital marketing career.
How dwell time is different in compare of bounce rate and time spent on page?
There is a very small difference between dwell time, time spent on-page, and bounce rate. Many people have a misconception that they are all the same.
We have already discussed dwell time. Now let us see what the bounce rate and time on page is.
Bounce Rate — It defines the visitors which leave the web page without taking any actions like clicking any link or interacting with a page like purchasing etc. A very high bounce rate indicates that the site is performing very poorly and people are not liking the content. Still some sites like weather forecast or date and time sites can have a high bounce rate which indicates that the user found his information immediately.
Time on Page — Time on pages defines the total time a user spends on the page while skimming through the website. This metric helps you to know how interactive is your content and your page and a very high exit percentage tell you that your content was not up to the mark and users didn’t find it valuable. Some ways to determine this time includes scroll depth and navigation from one page to another.
This helps you increase your SEO and your page interactions and optimization.
Why the dwell time is important?
Firstly why do people exit out sites? Reasons include spam sites, very slow page loading, misleading content, too many ads, and popups, not mobile-friendly websites and many more.
Here comes the role of dwell time. It determines how long the website is able to keep the user engaged. The longer time the user spends interacting with your page, the higher is the value of your page. Thus in short it acts as a metric to show the quality and relevance of your site.
If you have a well-optimized content, it provides the best insight for your page, thus a high dwell time. It is one of the most important ranking signals that search engines consider thus improving your website search ranking. Clearly good content will lead to improvement of your search ranking and dwell time a kind of ranking signal.
Is Dwell Time A Google Ranking Signal?
This is put up in words by google to date and also google hasn’t confirmed that dwell time is a ranking signal. Dwell time being a metric to find a quality, engagement, and other important stuff about your website cannot be ignored though. It helps the search engines determine a website page’s relevance and usefulness.
It becomes essential for you to know how to calculate dwell time and use this data to boost your SEO strategies and optimize content for your users to be more interactive and engaged. It will help you better user experience for users visiting your site.
How To Calculate Dwell Time?
It is done using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager(GTM). It uses the bounce metrics obtained from search engine result pages. Also, there are some youtube tutorials as a guide for calculating Dwell time.
Calculation of dwell time involves code on GTM. This code has two parts. Part one detects if the online search came from google and adds the #gref to the URL.Part two detects when did the visitor return back to the same SERP. This calculates dwell time and feeds data to google analytics.
Very less dwell time shows that your site isn’t performing well and the content is not informative. More than 2 to 3 minutes of dwell time gives an idea that your page has relevant and informative data and the user has found his/her query there on the page. More than that time makes your content very engaging and helpful to the visitor.
How To Improve Dwell Time?
After learning a lot about dwell time now is the time to learn about how to improve the dwell time. Here are a few practices you need to perform to attract more visitors to your page to make your page more interactive and popular.
1. Understand search intent
The most important part for you to know is what your target audience search and want for like information and thus optimize your site accordingly. An extensive keyword search and audience in-depth analysis is required. This will help you keep the right keywords on your site leading to covering all topics users wants and solving their queries which in turn helps you to improve and boost your SEO.
2. An Interesting Intro
A powerful and good introduction can lead visitors to keep reading your content. As in today’s world, people just skim through the site if they do not find it interesting or relevant. Good intro to your page glues your customers to your page. Use images, links, proof, previews to improve your dwell time SEO. A short preview/index helps users to know what content your page has.
3. Engaging Content
The most important part of your page is your content. The content should relate to your target audience’s wants and requirements. A careful hunt is required for audience content format and the type of content and relevant information they want.
Some important points included in creating bullet points to show important points, using subheadings, providing useful links and images, facts, and a powerful conclusion.
4. Maximize Internal Linking
This helps you to keep your audience on your page more integrated and engaged. These help in website navigation and page interaction. Also, beware of not putting a lot of irrelevant links which can cause you to lose your audience who will take it as spams. This can cause you the penalty and thus is not encouraged. The best idea for overcoming this is to use anchor tags for your content to provide useful links.
Your content should be well organized and readable. Make your content clear, well-spaced, and ready to read with highlighting important points for the target audience. This is very important for your SEO. For making your content interactive and readable you should keep your sentences short and make your points clear, write in a conversational tone, properly organized hierarchy with bullet points and important images, and links(anchor tags).
6. Improving Site Structure
Don’t make your site too Dynamic. Make it very simple so that people can find what they need at the first go. Focus on readability and interactive content which will keep people engaged. A short and simple website with all information user wants can attract more audience to your page. Here comes the role of web design and SEO.
7. Using Images and Videos
Using interactive images or short clips can increase your site traffic and make people read your content more interestingly. Also, this captures the target audience’s attention if you use proper and apt images and videos. People will be more on your site and thus would help them explore more of your content. Keep a few things in mind like using JPEG or PNG format images, no use of copyrighted images or videos, image files names should be customized, optimized tags, compress images, etc.
8. Improve Page Speed
Page speed matters a lot when it comes to user interaction with the web page. Many users leave the page when it takes a lot of time to load. So larger loading time leads to higher bouncing rates and thus lowers the dwell time. Thus optimize your site images and links so that it doesn’t take much time to load.
9. Mobile-Friendly Website
Most of the users use mobile phones and thus they tend to use mobiles to search for something they want or information they want. For this, your site needs to be user friendly so that it appears on the web page and thus users are able to navigate through it efficiently.
More users are attracted when you keep your site simple and navigable. Optimize your site such that it becomes mobile-friendly and users don’t need to zoom content to view your content and it adapts to the screen of the smartphone.
10. Avoid Clickbait Headlines
Lastly, try not to have clickbait headlines. This makes your site’s reputation go down amazon users and makes them give a bad review about your site. It annoys users, attracts the wrong audience to your site, and has a very bad effect on bounce rates. This makes your sites search rankings go down and result in a bad reputation.
Use creative headlines and give meta descriptions and produce great content to improve user experience and engagement on your site.