Dwell time

David Kusserow

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Average dwell time is a measurement of how long users spend on a website on average. It is an indicator for the quality of a page and plays a role in the evaluation by search engines for the findability in the search engine results.

Definition

The average time on site shows how long users stay on a page on average and is usually given in minutes and seconds.

To determine this, tools such as Google Analytics measure the time between page view and exit by a user. There are no universally valid values for what constitutes a good or bad dwell time.

Depending on the topic of the page, you can interpret different values as good. Only a comparison with other sites in your industry will show whether you should improve your dwell time.

From the time your users spend on your site, you can draw conclusions about how interesting your content is. Dwell time is clearly measurable and a key performance indicator (KPI) for you.

Also, search engines like Google use the time spent on a website to calculate its place on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Therefore, it is also a factor in the search engine optimization of your site.

Dwell time

How can you interpret the dwell time?

A continuous analysis of the length of stay of the users of your page provides you with an important indication of how interesting the users find your page. If the average time spent on your site increases, then you can assume that your visitors are getting value from your site.

For you, a high dwell time is a sign that you are delivering the right information to your audience, that you are preparing it well, and that your site’s technology is working. Because even the most appealing and exciting content will not keep a visitor on a page if long loading times and an unclear information architecture disturb him while surfing.

What to do when dwell time drops?

A short or declining average length of stay, on the other hand, is a sign that you need to revise your site. The bounce rate provides even more precise information here. Try to figure out where your site’s weaknesses lie. Does it suffer from too long loading times? Can’t your users find their way around the site? Or do you need to work on your content?

If you can, it’s worth finding out if you’re targeting your audience correctly. To do this, you can experiment with different meta information or try out different landing pages. Maybe just improving your writing will do the trick.

If you’ve geared the copy too much for search engine crawlers, it may be hard for humans to read. A WDF*IDF analysis will help you optimize for search engines, but maybe a semantic optimization of your site is more worthwhile.

How can you use the dwell time for your SEO work?

Because dwell time is a KPI that expresses the quality of a website, search engines include it in their rankings. The significance of the average time on site depends on the industry and the interaction with other key figures and is only of limited value on its own.

Another problem is that the length of stay can only be measured correctly if visitors interact with the page again at the end of their visit.

Dwell time is especially relevant on pages that are particularly content-oriented, such as news sites or wikis or blogs like the page you’re on right now. Texts that are pleasant to read and informative are particularly important for a high retention rate. Here, methods such as the Flesch reading test or a semantic analysis can help you.

Additionally, you can use calls-to-action or interactive elements to keep your users on your site longer. You can use graphics, images, and videos to break up your text and create a more enjoyable user experience.Average Time on Site is especially important for e-commerce sellers. Because it is certain that with a higher dwell time, the willingness of customers to make a purchase increases. Here, the average dwell time is closely related to the conversion rate. That’s why working on dwell time and customer retention is an especially important part of search engine optimization.

Conclusion

Dwell time is a basic indicator that shows you the quality of a website. However, the value without a comparison to other topic-relevant pages is only of limited significance. Therefore, you should continuously keep an eye on your value in order to be able to react if it deteriorates.

Search engines include the average length of stay in their ratings. Therefore, the value is relevant for the position of the page in the SERPs. By improving dwell time, you can rank your site higher on Google and co.

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