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How to Increase Dwell Time

Get people to stay on your site for longer with SEO

If you've got a website or a blog, you may have heard of the term Dwell Time. In this article, you will learn what it means, how to measure it and what you can do to increase your website dwell time!

What is Dwell Time?

Dwell time is the time a website visitor spends looking at a site after clicking a link on a SERP (search engine results page) and before leaving the site to return to the SERP again. All visitors are taken into account, no matter if they are on desktops, mobile devices or tablets.

What is a good dwell time?

Your goal should be to engage the visitor, your target audience, so they stay on your website longer. Preferably they should move around from one page to the other, reading your content and taking action - giving your business a call, purchasing a product, filling out a form. A poor dwell time would be considered anything under 2 minutes, and a good dwell time is around 2-4 minutes, according to SEMrush.

Your website performance is more than measuring the number of clicks on a page - it's about meeting your visitor's needs and satisfying them enough to keep them on your website.

Why is Dwell Time Important?

Experts claim a longer dwell time has a positive impact on search position and that it is considered a ranking factor. Since it affects your SEO, you should improve your dwell time and drive more website traffic.

How Does Dwell Time Impact SEO?

The amount of dwell time a visitor spends on your site signals to search engines like Google whether or not your site satisfies the visitors' needs. Search engines favour sites with more dwell time as their job is to present the best websites to the users. They want their users to be happy about the result of their search.

An increased dwell time can therefore influence your ranking on Google and other search engines, and is something you should spend some time on.

Want to learn more about SEO and how it affects your website? Read our SEO Basics blog post

How to Measure Dwell Time

Log in to Google Analytics click 'Behaviour' - 'Site Content' - 'Landing Pages', and create a new segment. Choose only to view Organic traffic. You will now see the metric' Avg. Traffic Duration'. This metric will indicate the average time visitors spend on your website pages or blog posts.

Look at the results and analyse them - do any pages have more dwell time than others? Head over to those pages and determine what makes them different from pages with less dwell time. Do they contain more images, more text or a video?

woman working on the SEO of her website on a laptop

How to Get a Longer Dwell Time

So - how do you get people to stay on your site for longer and increase your website dwell time? It comes down to three crucial factors: Excellent User Experience and Engaging, Relevant & Valuable Content and Internal Linking.

1. Excellent User Experience

When a user lands on your site, they need to have a great experience from their first to their last impression of it. The most crucial factors here are the page loading speed (it needs to be less than 3 seconds), layout and design (make it clear, easy to read and navigate) and mobile usability. Since most people visit websites from their phones, having a mobile-friendly website design is now more critical than ever! (To learn more about improving your website, read our article 7 ways to increase website performance

Avoid adding elements on your site that can annoy visitors and make them leave, such as auto-roll videos and too many pop-ups. A long loading time can push people to leave your site within seconds. Make your content and information easy to find to make your visitors happy and satisfied with your website.

2. Engaging, Relevant & Valuable Content

Another way to improve dwell time is to get to know your audience better and determine what they need, seek and want. Give them what they ask for, solve their problems, and answer their questions. For them to want to stay on your site, they must find your content appealing and relevant to them. Target the right keywords and add new content regularly, preferably once or multiple times a week, depending on what kind of website you have. Respond to all comments, questions and feedback you receive, as it will show the users that you are engaged. They will read your comments and are more likely to return to your site when you are interacting with them.

Do you need help to write engaging content? You'll be absolutely amazed by the power of professionally written copy! Read more about our  Copywriting Services.

Woman improving the search engine optimisation of her website to improve the dwell time

3. Internal linking

Another way of increasing dwell time is to include internal links anywhere appropriate. Don't stuff the site with links; add them where it feels natural.

You can refer to other blog posts, encourage the user to take action with a link to your contact page or display similar products that may interest them. Make it smooth for the user to go from one page to another. Remember to be clear about where the link is leading them - when a user clicks on a link, they want to get where they expect to get, or they find your website annoying.

Review your site and check if any pages could do with more internal links. Try to put yourself in your customer's shoes and look at your site through their eyes. Can you find your way to the relevant content without clicking on the drop-down menu?

Dwell Time Vs. Bounce Rate

Is Dwell Time another word for Bounce Rate, or is there a difference? Well, it's easy to mix the two up, but there is a significant difference: 

bounce occurs when someone leaves your site after viewing just one page. The bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions divided by all sessions on your website. And remember that dwell time measures the total amount of time a user spends on your website after clicking on any links on search engine results pages.  

Dwell Time vs. Average Time On Page

The average time on a page means the average time someone spends looking at one of your website pages. That visitor may have gotten to your website through social media, a direct link or any other source and not necessarily through a SERP page.