Free Guide: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Download the Guide
Fill out the form to get your guide
Thank you! You have been subscribed.
Close
The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Free Guide:

The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Read the Guide
The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Free Search Engine Optimization Guide
View The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Free Guide:

Generate more traffic, leads, and sales with search engine optimization

In this free guide, you will learn:

  • What search engines are and who uses them.
  • What search engine optimization is and how it works.
  • Best practices for search engine optimization.

Is ‘dwell time’ the next big thing for SEO?

By Kaitlyn Petro

Kaitlyn Petro also recommends this free guide, The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization.

Is ‘dwell time’ the next big thing for SEO?

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), there is so much you need to pay attention to.

There’s on-page, technical, and off-page SEO, and within those buckets, there are a plethora of elements you need to audit, report on, improve, and manage.

Free Guide: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

It’s an ongoing debate amongst experts exactly which SEO metric is the most important to track.

Some say it’s organic traffic, while others say it’s an increase in keyword rankings. Others claim bounce rate or pages per session are the ones to focus on. Narrative SEO Founder Franco Valentino swears by Google impression rate (found in Google Search Console).

And now HubSpot has released a recent article talking all about the importance of "dwell time."

In truth, we know that analyzing all of these metrics is critical to making the best decisions to optimize our digital footprint. We put forth all of this time and effort to ensure we have an overall healthy website that people can actually find. After all, SEO is all about attracting users to your site over your competitors’, right?

Sure, but do we ever stop to think about what happens after the user clicks on your search result?

The point that HubSpot is making with its focus on dwell time is that SEO success doesn’t just stop when someone gets to your site. The results or answers you’re providing them with still need to do their job; if they don’t, the user is going to find what they need somewhere else.

Enter dwell time.

What is dwell time?

According to Search Engine Journal, “Dwell time is the length of time a person spends looking at a webpage after they’ve clicked a link on a SERP page, but before clicking back to the SERP results.”

We’ve all done that. If we’re looking for an answer to a specific question, and we don’t find it on the first result we click on, we’ll go back to the search results to find a better resource.

As consumers, we know we want the best answer to our question, and we know we want it immediately. But as marketers, we often forget to solve for this when creating content or optimizing for search.

Luckily, tracking dwell time can help improve the relevancy of page content, thus improving the relevancy of a website in Google’s eyes.

In fact, dwell time has become such an important factor in SEO that AZ Big Media and other sources are saying it will take great prominence in your 2020 SEO strategy.

Grit Daily even goes as far to say that this year, articles will become lengthier than normal because dwell time increases when a user spends more time reading. And when dwell time increases, Google rewards those pages with more organic traffic.

With that said, it’s important you begin to monitor this metric for your own site.

How to analyze dwell time

Here’s the bad news: dwell time is not an SEO metric that you can directly measure using a third-party tool like Google Analytics. Unfortunately, only the search engines have access to reports like this.

The good news? There are other metrics you can measure to get an idea of what your dwell time might be, and there are also a few things you can do to increase your dwell time.

Key performance indicators like average time on page and session duration can be looked at to gain a better understanding of the activity taking place on your web pages. Bounce rate is helpful, too.

Average time on page is simply the amount of time a visitor spends on one of your pages, on average. It’s different from dwell time because it also tracks people coming to your pages from a source other than the SERP, like a social media post or an email, for example.

Session duration describes how long someone spent on your site. This could be on one page or more, and again, they may not have come from the SERP, so this cannot be considered dwell time, either.

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who visit just one of your pages and then click off your site without continuing to explore additional pages, menu links, or resources.

All of these KPIs can be viewed in Google Analytics, so we’re able to define what “good” and “bad” numbers look like.

A good average time on page is 2-3 minutes, and you’ll want to aim for the same timeframe when it comes to session duration. An average bounce rate is anywhere between 40-55 percent.

By knowing these numbers, you can begin to garner if your dwell time is good or not.

For example, if you have a great average time on page and session duration, but the bounce rate for a couple specific pages is extremely high, you can assume those pages need some work in regards to content or messaging, and you can create a prioritized strategy to improve them.

Don’t forget — when reviewing these numbers in Google Analytics, filter by source (organic) so that you can see the reports for visits from the SERP specifically.

Adding dwell time to your overall SEO strategy

If you want to start improving your dwell time, you’ll first need to come up with a benchmark to work towards. (Tough without being able to actually measure it, right?)

According to Impression, “to set your benchmark, you should record the current bounce rate and time on page for the page you’re looking to improve.” Then you can try some of the following tactics:

  • Draw people in with an introduction they can’t stop reading
  • Make sure your content is digestible by using shorter sentences and content chunking techniques
  • Make content skimmable, and add visuals where applicable
  • Answer a question or search query, and be the best at doing it
  • Include internal links to keep people on your site
  • Make sure your page load speed is acceptable (40% of users will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load)
  • Ensure your website is mobile optimized

If you successfully improve your website’s dwell time, you’ll begin to see the average time on page and the session duration increase, while the bounce rate decreases (from organic sources, of course).

As I mentioned before, Google rewards websites with higher dwell times, so don’t waste any time implementing this in your SEO strategy.

The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Free Guide:

The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Generate more traffic, leads, and sales with search engine optimization

In this free guide, you will learn:

  • What search engines are and who uses them.
  • What search engine optimization is and how it works.
  • Best practices for search engine optimization.

Topics:

Search Engine Optimization
News
Published on January 24, 2020

Recent Articles

Video SEO: How To Optimize Videos To Drive Traffic to Your Website
May 9, 2022 • 8 min read
37 Eye-opening SEO Statistics To Nail Your 2022 Search Strategy
April 28, 2022 • 10 min read
10 Reasons Why Your Website Is Not Ranking In Google
February 10, 2022 • 15 min read
9 SEO Best Practices for Stronger Organic Traffic in 2022
November 18, 2021 • 12 min read
Google Shares New Tools to Audit Website User Experience
August 12, 2021 • 3 min read
Google: Website Content Quality More Important Than Quantity
August 10, 2021 • 3 min read
How Long Tail Keyword Research Can Drive Business
August 9, 2021 • 7 min read
How to Optimize Videos On Your Business Website for Search
July 23, 2021 • 4 min read
Google: 'Here's how to prepare for the future private web'
July 16, 2021 • 4 min read
Too many internal links in content can confuse Google about site structure
July 9, 2021 • 5 min read
Google July 2021 core update rolling out over next 2 weeks
July 2, 2021 • 4 min read
Inbound Marketing Help: My Traffic And Leads Are Down. What Can I Do?
June 28, 2021 • 5 min read
Finally, Google page experience core update is rolling out
June 18, 2021 • 3 min read
What is a Featured Snippet? [Definition + Examples]
June 10, 2021 • 4 min read
Google June 2021 core update live, July core update coming
June 4, 2021 • 3 min read
Google's June page experience core update will be mobile first, then desktop
May 21, 2021 • 3 min read
Google confirms demise of Q&A search feature, Question Hub lives on
April 26, 2021 • 1 min read
Big Google algorithm update moved to June with new performance report
April 21, 2021 • 4 min read
No, changing page publish dates won't increase Google search rankings
April 10, 2021 • 4 min read
Google: 'zero-click search' claims and data 'misleading'
April 5, 2021 • 6 min read
3 quick SEO fixes that will increase your website rankings right away
March 30, 2021 • 5 min read
10 Google Analytics metrics you absolutely must track (updated)
March 29, 2021 • 5 min read
Meet the new Google My Business review management view
March 20, 2021 • 2 min read
Google Ads help: Top 10 reasons your Google Ads campaigns are failing
March 10, 2021 • 10 min read
Google 'price drop' structured data for e-commerce can grab buyer eyes
March 9, 2021 • 2 min read