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What is Dwell Time and How Does it Affect SEO?

What is Dwell Time and How Does it Affect SEO?
03 Dec 2018

How much time did you spend staring out the window today when you were supposed to be doing…well…anything else? Did you have prolific thoughts while your brain was parked on the landscape? Did you achieve maximum ideas with minimal effort because your mind took you exactly where you needed to be the moment it wandered into the wide-open space outside? 

Sometimes, when people park their thoughts in a single spot, great things are brewing behind the scenes. This is the idea that inspires the analytics that drive dwell-time statistics. 

So, what is dwell time, you ask? Great question! Let’s take a deeper dive into one of the essential pieces of data Google uses to determine your site’s value, shall we? 

Definition of Dwell Time for SEO 

Dwell time combines a certain amount of art and science to the internet experience. It’s a measure of how your users utilize your website by factoring in how long they hang out on certain pages. The longer your people stay on a page, the more interesting your content is (in theory, at least). As far as the search engines are concerned, if traffic is sticking around longer than average when it stops on your pages, you’ve got to have something valuable to offer the community at large. 

In the eyes of the search engine results pages (SERPs), you get pushed to the front of the class if you’re able to provide information that searchers are seeking. In other words, when your pages entice people to take in the content you’re providing—whether you’re entertaining audiences with video clips or informing them with tasty word bits—the length of time people spend on your pages is reflective of the value your site offers in the eyes of major search engines. 

How Does Dwell Time Affect SEO? 

Google’s algorithms are complicated; there are dozens (if not hundreds) of factors that go into the ranking of every single site during every single search. One thing that’s known for sure, however, is that the amount of time people spend on certain sites certainly does matter to the major search engines. 

The key comes in creating content that makes relevant sense to the natural audience of your products or services. In internet terms, dwell time is the opposite of bounce rates; in the world of SEO ranking, the longer people stay, the more valuable your brand’s sway. 

Bounce rates are determined by how quickly visitors leave your pages after they arrive. The quicker they leave, the higher your bounce rate, and the worse your SEO ratings are likely to be because that means your title tags, meta descriptions, and end content don’t match up with the information consumers were actually looking for when they landed upon your pages. A few bounces are natural, but an overabundance of bounces means you’re doing something wrong, and the search engines will penalize you for improper use of your cyberspace. 

On the other hand, if people aren’t going anywhere, you must be doing something right. Long dwell times mean the average user is sticking around for longer periods of time; the search engines smile upon sites that roll out the welcome wagon when visitors come to town. 

How Do You Improve Dwell Time for SEO? 

There is no one-size-fits-all answer because The Google doesn’t always reveal answers it doesn’t want the public to hear, but one thing is for sure—the more valuable consumers find your site, the more likely they are to linger. You need to produce awesome content that provides information and present your findings on a site that’s designed with the end user in mind. Easy navigation and an optimal user experience are your ideal entryways into improved dwell time. 

Beyond these elements, work to: 

  • Minimize load times 
  • Understand how keywordscan work for you

Zero Gravity Marketing doesn’t dawdle when it comes to improving our clients’ dwell times. If you’re ready to increase awareness and bolster the way search engines handle your brand, you’re ready to set up an initial meeting with our results-driven ZGM web design and traffic-driving gurus!