What does dwell time mean?

  • 12 / 05 / 2023
  • Agata Cnatalska
What does dwell time mean?

Digital content creators may encounter many different terms along their publishing journey. Some of these can be irrelevant to their websites, but some can significantly impact their success! How can you tell these two apart? Well, for instance, by reading guides like this very one! Dwell time is a phrase you might have already come across, so let us explain what it is and if it’s something you should actually care about!

Dwell time meaning

Dwell time is a metric indicating whether the website has met the user’s needs. In other words, it determines if the content has provided an answer to the question entered by someone in the search engine (and, moreover, if the website is comfortable enough to provide users with a pleasant experience). Although it may seem bizarre, you can’t really tell what dwell time you achieve, since search engines don’t share that data. However, it’s worth being aware that this metric is considered in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) arranging processes.

Dwell time demonstrates how much time the user spends on a given website, from entering it (after clicking its link from the search engine’s results) to leaving it and getting back on the SERP page (to continue their research to find the best answer to their query). It’s also worth adding that dwell time is not the same as average session duration (a metric you can find on your Google Analytics home screen). The first one applies to the traffic coming exclusively from SERPs. In contrast, the second one measures users’ time spent on a page, no matter where they got there from.

Dwell time SEO

Why is dwell time important? The answer is simple – for SEO reasons! All search engines’ purpose is to provide users with the results that best match their queries and provide good quality content. To do so, they developed some indicators that helped them evaluate if a given website fulfills that task. Simply speaking, dwell time clearly demonstrates whether the website is worthy of taking a high position in the search engine’s results, so the higher it is – the better!

source: https://giphy.com/

How to increase dwell time:

1. Ensure a great User Experience

Let’s be honest, people will not stay long on an unpleasant website that is poorly constructed, nor consume texts that are hard to read. Reader’s eyes might get tired quickly if you overuse white letters on a black background or apply a low contrast ratio between text and its surroundings. Make your content the main character of your website, and ensure that it’s easily readable and looks decent. Remember that graphics or any other additional elements cannot be overwhelming. To provide a high-quality website to your audience, try to keep everything nice and clean!

2. Rank for the right keywords

Don’t use a keyword just because it has a high volume (which means it’s often searched by the users). This rule applies especially to crucial places like the title – first and foremost, it has to indicate what a person entering your website will be able to find there. When a user sees the title of your article, they will surely expect your text to reflect that! If they later discover that it’s far from the truth – they will leave your website quicker than they got there, as they’ll feel, in a way, deceived. So make sure only to use keywords that resonate with the content you’re creating.

3. Don’t test users’ patience

If your website has some technical issues, like loads really slowly, people might get impatient and leave. These days, we practically live in a constant rush. People value their time and don’t want to waste it on waiting, so they often prefer leaving a poorly developed website and keep on looking for answers elsewhere. And even if your content could resolve all their problems, it doesn’t matter, for they won’t wait long enough to read it – so work on your website’s performance optimization!

source: https://giphy.com/

4. Structure your content wisely

Nowadays, people tend to scan the entire website to evaluate if they want to read it, instead of just reading it from start to finish. You shouldn’t downplay well-constructing your content! Similarly to what’s described above, even if you provide the best answer to one’s query, they will likely not read it if it’s in the form of extremely long, plain text with no divisions whatsoever. You probably remember from school that every text has to have a beginning, its main part, and an end – that’s true also when it comes to online creations. Smart headlines, bold short fragments containing important information, listings, white spaces, graphics, it all really matters!

5. Care for search intent and context

Applying LSI keywords facilitates the search engine algorithm’s task to clearly understand if your content’s context (what a tongue twister) is in line with the query entered by the user. You can also apply some tactics to help you create content that responds precisely to your audience’s needs. One of them is trying to find your users’ search intent (i.e., the reason why somebody is looking for something online). Understanding and considering it during your content creation process will let you prepare texts adapted to that particular need.

6. Don’t attack users

Aggressive popups encouraging visitors to subscribe to your newsletter just as they entered your website are surely not the way to go. Have you ever opened a webpage, and after being “attacked” by popups, you just left without even looking at the main content? I surely did! It’s great to invite your visitors to interact and try to engage them more in your work, but do that at the right time – for instance, as they finish scrolling your article.

source: https://giphy.com/

Dwelling on SEO…

A long dwell time indicates that the publisher created excellent content providing both: the right answer to the user’s query and a great User Experience. It’s an indicator considered by search engines when creating website rankings, so you really should bear it in mind during the content creation process. Of course, you cannot tamper with your pages’ dwell time results, but you can look after a whole bunch of factors that influence that! Go on and verify your content with the help of the list above, and look for places on your website that might need some improvements. This will favor much more than dwell time! Sometimes, changing one seemingly negligible aspect can make your content skyrocket in search engine results. Ready, set, go!

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