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Dwell Time

What is Dwell Time and why it Matters in SEO?

August 05, 2021

In Google Analytics, you can determine your dwell time by looking at “Average Session Duration,” which tells you how long visitors are staying on a website on average. The total duration of all sessions measures it, or visits, in seconds, divided by the total number of sessions.

A session starts when a user goes to a site. Following 30 minutes of inactivity, or when the user goes, the session expires. The inactivity cut-off exists so you can perceive an official report of your metrics without false inflation.

You can discover this metric already determined for you in Google Analytics, presented in minutes and seconds. You can see it in 2 places in particular — first when you sign in to your Google Analytics home, and you’ll notice “Average Session Duration” presented on the homepage, which means the average dwell time on any of the accounts you’re tracking in Google Analytics:

If you need to search “Average Session Duration,” or dwell time, for individual landing pages or blog posts, you’ll require to press “Behavior” on the left side of the page and then “Site Content” > “Landing Pages”:

Here, you’ll notice the dwell time presented as “Average Session Duration” in the table. It’s essential to note — “Average Session Duration” can represent dwell time, but the 2 aren’t the same. Dwell time can only develop from the SERPs, whereas Common Session Duration might also estimate someone’s time on-page after they’ve visited from another landing page, social media page, or clicked on an email link.

Luckily, you can account for this variation by easily adding a segment, “Organic Traffic,” to ensure you only see landing page metrics compared to the SERPs.

“Average Session Duration” can assist you to analyze which landing pages are working well in terms of dwell time and which could be better.

What Is Dwell Time
What Is Dwell Time

Average Dwell Time on Websites 

The business benchmark for average dwell time is reflected somewhere between 2-4 minutes. It usually gets around this time to explore a website and get a feel for the design.

You’ll see this business standard in Google Analytics when exploring benchmark metrics. To discover these metrics, go to “Audiences” and then “Benchmarking” on the left side of the screen; then, select whether you want to see industry standards across devices, channels, or locations.

For our goals, let’s glance at the industry standard for “Business & Industrial” across devices. As noted in the small numbers below the more significant percentage, most businesses have an average session between 2-3 minutes.

Most marketers recognize that it’s rare to see average session duration times over 10 minutes or less than one minute, so if you’re watching for a goal, between 2-4 minutes is where the average typically lies.

When you’re watching at metrics, it’s a great idea to look at all of them to get a full scope of how your website is performing. If you’re ranking high on the SERP, that indicates that your SEO is excellent, but if your website isn’t presenting useful information, your session duration might underperform.

To offer a holistic experience for consumers, staring into the meaning behind session duration is required.

Dwell Time Meaning
Dwell Time Meaning

How to Improve Dwell Time

A less dwell time indicates that when a user searches a query on Google and then clicks on your website, she’s disappointed with what she finds there — for whatever reason, it didn’t match what she was looking for or didn’t provide the complete answer she needed. There are plenty of choices for combatting this.

Make sure your introduction meets the reader’s purpose and serves good UX practices 

First, have a look at your introduction to our UX at the top of the screen. Is it simple to navigate, and does the text outline what the reader will notice on the rest of the page? Great of all, does it help the user see what she’s watching for quickly — either with a table of contents or by using short paragraphs and bullet points to make the content more digestible?

User activity could be an important component of a low dwell time, especially at the top of the page — since readers who aren’t impressed with the above-the-fold UX won’t stick around long.

Content matters, too. You might discover you have a low dwell time if your introduction is difficult or doesn’t get to the point fast enough. Alternatively, maybe your content isn’t meeting the user’s intent.

Take a look at other high-ranking articles on the SERPs to understand better why this reader is searching for this topic. Intent matters.

Consider the next example: You understand you have a low dwell time for your essay, “How to Delete a Theme in WordPress.” When you click into the article, you find that the introduction focuses on why WordPress might be a good web hosting solution and statistics to support the claim.

But readers who’ve just explored “how can I delete my WordPress theme?” likely previously have an account and don’t require to be convinced of the health of the tool — they need to delete a theme.

If your article isn’t hitting a great note with users from the get-go, that could be an important contributor to low dwell time.

Ensure the page is fast and clean

Lazy loading time is a meaningful deterrent to high dwell time — if your page getting too long to load, users likely won’t stick around long.

Additionally, once users are scrolling the page, if they notice the images aren’t loading perfectly or an unimpressive experience, they might abandon the page.

This indicates that having clean code and following SEO best practices for a fast load time (including compressing your pictures and caching your web pages) is important to increase your dwell time.

Guarantee the page loads fast and efficiently across browsers and devices, too. A great mobile experience is important here since a lower dwell time on mobile will contribute to a more down dwell time overall.

Have good internal linking

Dwell time is eventually the amount of time someone visits a page before returning to the SERPs. So, including links to your other blog posts or landing pages is an excellent opportunity for keeping them engaged on your site for longer.

Follow good link-building practices to create the proper infrastructure for both the SERPs and user experience. The key is guaranteeing your links are related to the topic at hand. A blog post about social media, for example, should link to other posts about YouTube or Instagram — not website development.

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