What do we mean by Dwell time and bounce rate?

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There’s no doubt that Google has around two hundred ranking factors that we know a little about. We know, through SEO experts and our experience, that by analyzing our data we can come to a conclusion about whether these metrics have an impact on ranking or not. Dwell time is one of those that is not mentioned significantly by Google to be a ranking factor, SEO experts say the opposite.

Dwell time

Google pays great attention to user experience, and dwell time is undoubtedly one of the major factors that play a significant role in it.

In this post, you will learn about dwell time and the difference between it and the bounce rate, and how to make it play for us if done correctly.

Are you ready to go?

What is Dwell Time?

Dwell time is simply the time that a searcher spends from the moment he clicks on a result in the SERPs to the moment he returns back.

Let’s have a look

In this image, you can see a post of mine about how to find content ideas for your blog. If you click on the post, the dwell time starts ticking.

how to find content ideas

Suppose that you spend five minutes reading this post, then you go back to the results page, and the dwell time is five minutes.

This will give Google an indication that my post is important and deserves a push.

You may now ask, does this require writing a post about it?

You will know when you finish reading how important it is and how valuable it is in the ranking process.

What is the bounce rate?

This may be confusing somehow.

Bounce rate highly resembles dwell time but they are not the same.

It is the time spent on a page from the first click to the moment you go back to the SERPs or another page without taking any action. No scrolling and no clicking on the page.

This time is calculated by Google, but this doesn’t tell you that the searcher was satisfied with your content the way dwell time does.

This is because dwell time gives the indication that the user is taking action (reading, scrolling down, and clicking), so the time is real, while with bounce rate, you could click on the page, have a coffee break, come back, and click back without taking any action, and the time is also calculated.

This is why dwell time is considered the real-time engagement with your pages.

What is vital about dwell time?

Google is now integrating machine learning into that process. So, the training models on when someone clicks on a page and stays on that page, when they back or when they are trying to figure out exactly what that relationship is.

Google

As we can see, Google doesn’t clearly announce that dwell time is a factor, but we can understand that it is taken into consideration somewhere.

Although Dwell time is not shown on Google Analytics, (bounce rate is), it is believed that it is a major ranking factor in google.

How to Calculate Dwell Time

If you go to check your dwell time on Google Analytics, you’ll search forever to find it, and you’ll find nothing.

Do not panic.

As I told you before, dwell time does not appear on google analytics.

What we can do is analyze the “Average Session Duration” metric, which will tell us the average time spent on your pages.

  • First of all, go to the Google Analytics Home page (this is applicable only on Google Universal Analytics).
approximate Dwell time
  • Click on Behavior
google analytics behavior
  • Click on “Site Content”
google analytics site content
  • Then landing pages
google analytics landing page
  • Add Segment
google analytics add segment
  • Click on Organic traffic
  • Scroll down to see “Average section duration.”
average dwell time

Now you are able to see how your pages are performing in terms of the average time spent on each page.

This is a great advantage since you can easily distinguish which page has the best score (time).

All you have to do is to analyze this page and compare it to other weaker pages, then ask yourself:

  • Is it more optimized for SEO?
  • Are there more images on it?
  • Is it the word count that had an extra impact?

These questions and more give you a full overview of how to change or tweak your posts that exist, and those you are going to write later.

All these changes and more will be discussed and put under the microscope in order to increase our dwell time and decrease our bounce rate.

How to Increase Dwell Time

Increasing the dwell time means automatically decreasing the bounce rate.

The more time spent on your website, the more dwell time and the lower the bounce rate.

Obviously, there’s no magic stick to measure your dwell time, and there’s no exact number to consider.

However, there are many techniques to use in order to boost this time period.

Create longer contents

It’s not chemistry.

The more words you push the user to read, the more time he is going to spend on your page.

This time consumption will definitely affect your dwell time positively and boost your SEO.

But

Keep in mind that the quantity of words doesn’t necessarily play a positive role, the quality of your content is what matters the most.

This is not something you can apply to all your posts, but it depends on your niche and topic.

For instance, if you are writing about how to convert an image from PNG to WebP, you won’t exceed 500 words, but if your topic is about how to do on-page SEO, then you have a lot to write about.

Tl; Dr

The more your topic is long and optimized, the more time users are likely to spend on your page.

Embed videos

A post containing a video is more likely to consume time than posts with no videos.

This is simply because if you embed a two-minute video into your post, you are more likely to gain two extra minutes if someone watches it.

If you haven’t started a YouTube channel (like me), it’s time to think about it if you have time.

Then embed videos into your posts.

The videos should be relevant to your topic otherwise they will negatively affect your dwell time.

Use internal linking

If you don’t really consider link building as a ranking factor in search engines, read this full guide about internal linking.

Internal linking is one of the best win-win situations when writing a post.

The user will have the opportunity to find what he is looking for in a single post, and you will gain more time on your website.

Isn’t that amazing?

I advise you to read the full guide to know how and where to implement your internal links, and how to choose the relevant ones.

Use as many relevant links as your post can bear, but do not stuff it with unuseful links.

Prepare for the best user experience.

When you write a post, you address two main things: SEO and user experience.

Although user experience is an act of optimizing for SEO, we can take it on its own.

Here’s how to optimize your post for SEO. After reading this guide, you’ll master on-page SEO.

Now let’s move to the second factor, user experience.

In order to enhance the user’s experience, we need to optimize our post to meet the requirements, which are:

Mobile-friendly pages

Check that your theme is mobile-friendly. Most people use mobile phones to surf the internet.

Keep your content above the fold

Do not use a big image directly below the title.

Start with text to show users that they can find a quick answer to what they’re looking for.

Put the text and image next to each other or push the image below the introduction.

Make sure you have a fast page load

Always check that your page is easily accessible and fast to load.

Use this analyzer and fix any mistakes you may find.

Note: One of the page speed factors is related to the hosting company and this is unchangeable unless you go for another host.

Use lots of headings

This shows how much effort you’ve put into your post to help users find what they want in a detailed way.

Use bullets

Using bullets makes skimming your topics much easier.

Use lots of images

They are the best illustrative materials to enhance the user experience.

But hold on.

Images should be compressed and converted into WebP format, otherwise, they ruin your page speed.

Some platforms don’t support WebP, and WordPress does.

Add a comment section

Adding a comment section is vital to your website for many reasons.

It builds a relationship between you and your users, gives you more topic ideas, and overall, increases the engagement time.

This keeps users more time on your page increasing the dwell time that will eventually play positively on your side.

Conclusion

Increasing your Dwell time plays an important role when we talk about ranking.

Even though it is not announced by Google (Bing declared it is a ranking factor), it is clear that it is a factor as SEO experts say.

Dwell time management should be part of on-page SEO. That’s why we should gather all the elements mentioned in this post to increase it and keep our users satisfied and spending the most time possible on our pages.

Was this post helpful? let me know in the comments section, and share it to spread knowledge among others.


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