The importance of dwell time and how to increase your WordPress dwell time are often overlooked when it comes to search engine optimization. Most people, including you, are focused on getting visitors to their sites and rarely consider how to keep them there.
It is nonetheless important to monitor dwell time or the duration of visitors’ time on your website. Positive user experiences are usually reflected by longer dwell times. It is also something search engines pay attention to.
In this post, we’ll look at how to make your WordPress site more dynamic by increasing dwell time. To do so, we need to understand what dwell time is and why it matters. In the next few paragraphs, we will discuss how to measure dwell time and conclude with some practical advice for enhancing it.
What is Dwell Time?
An individual’s dwell time is the amount of time that passes between landing on a web page and returning to the search engine results. According to Google, if your content isn’t relevant within five minutes, your search results will be disregarded.
The ideal time for your visitors to spend on your page is one to two minutes. Keeping them there longer is even better.
The times on a page, bounce rate, and dwell time are all terms that webmasters use interchangeably in regards to keeping people on your page longer. The truth is that treating them the same way would be untrue.
The following are their differences.
Time on Page:
In other words, time on a page refers to how long a user stays on your page before leaving it. Alternatively, they may visit a different page on your site, a search engine, go to another tab, or bookmark another page.
Counting the events on your page will give you an idea of how users spend their time on your website. There are several things you could track:
- Pages scroll as they are read
- Clicked links
- A visual element, such as a video, audio, or graphic, can be interacted with
- The shares
- Visit other pages on your site
The way in which your users interact with your page will be clear if you track these events. By making better decisions, you will be able to increase your dwell time and decrease your bounce rate.
Google Analytics allows you to track how long your visitors spend on your page.
Users spend how much time on your site after clicking through from a search engine before returning to the SERPs afterward, called the dwell time.
User patience is low.
It may take too long for your page to load, your intro to read poorly, or your site to have too many distracting pop-ups and ads, so they will go back to their search results. The behavior conveys the message to Google and other search engines that your content isn’t worth finding.
Backlinking or pogo-sticking is a technique for switching between search results and search engines back and forth.
The percentage of your website visitors who leave after viewing just a single page is what this metric indicates. No matter where they go after visiting your site or how long they stay on it, you don’t need to worry about that. Google interprets a page view as a bounce if the visitor leaves a page after viewing it and returning.
This means that bounces aren’t necessarily bad. It is possible that a visitor has absorbed all the information they need from a single page. You might have received an email subscription from someone who shared your content on social media.
How Did Dwell Time Come About?
According to Bing’s Senior Project Manager, Duane Forrester, dwell time first came into use in 2011. Researchers from Forrester predicted a user’s interest in a piece of content by measuring how long they stayed on the page.
Forrester means this in practice.
Example #1: Your visitor stays for four seconds. This means the visitor didn’t find what they were looking for on your site. As a result, they hurried back to the search engine to find it.
I tested this by clicking on the second result on the SERP for the term, “marketing tactic.” I waited four seconds, and then returned to Google. Within seconds of returning, Google had presented me with a list of options underneath the search result.
Example #2: Your visitor stays for four minutes. Google, Bing, or other search engines would consider your page to be relevant if a visitor stays on it for four minutes before returning to search engine results.
Example #3: Your visitor stayed for 20 minutes. The content on that page has proven extremely useful to them, and they are consuming every word. A page of this performance would be ideal for your website.
Is Dwell Time a Ranking Factor?
Search engine giant Bing emphasizes that dwell time contributes greatly to a search engine’s rank. Google, however, hasn’t revealed how they use dwell time.
But in 2017, Google Brain Canada’s Nick Frost stated that they used machine learning in order to understand users’ behavior when searching and returning to SERPs.
The company suggests it considers dwell time along with other behavioral factors when determining how users respond to content. Nevertheless, they did not state explicitly that dwell time isn’t taken into account in ranking.
As a matter of fact, though Google remains nebulous about dwell time, Bing makes it clear that they use it. However, you can be sure that Google isn’t ignoring the dwell time on your page.
When Dwell Time Matters:
A high dwell time is more important if you’re already on page one of the search results. Where does that come from?
A searcher will only start experiencing your pages’ dwell time after clicking on your link in the SERPs. You won’t care much about dwell time if your content doesn’t rank.
Search Engine Journal reported that, according to a Sistrix study, 87 percent of searchers use results on the first page. However, even more, alarming is the fact that 28.5 percent of visitors clicked on only the first result.
It’s less likely that your content will receive traffic from the search engines if it ranks on page two. However, it does not matter how much traffic you get, as long as the visitors engage with the content, you should experience an increase in rankings.
It seems that search engines use dwell time as a metric to determine the relevance of content. More than anything, search engines care about delivering relevant content.
How to Calculate Dwell Time:
You should first determine how your site is currently faring in terms of dwell time before you attempt to improve it. It is only by having a clear picture that you can measure improvements.
Having said that, you will be hard-pressed to find dwell time when you look at Google Analytics or any other analytics tool. Google does not offer any other information other than time on page and bounce rate.
Although those are useful metrics to approximate dwell time, they are not quite the same:
- As previously mentioned, dwell time refers to the time between when someone clicks on a search result and when they return to the search page (and only to the search page).
- An individual leaves your site after viewing one page only if the bounce rate is high. No matter how long they spend on there, both are bounces without a second click.
- A person’s time spent on a page may be measured in terms of their time on it before moving on to another. The next destination could be the search page, another page on your site, or a completely different website.
Briefly put, dwell time is related both to bounce rate and to time spent on the page, but it isn’t quite either of those things. Currently, there are not no official methods to measure dwell time. I recommend reading Neil Patel’s detailed discussion of dwell time for a better understanding of the concept.
These two metrics can give you good insights into how well your pages are performing in terms of dwell time. In order to take corrective action, you should record them on pages that you want to improve before you take any action at all. Furthermore, you can get an idea of what numbers you should aim for from the article cited above.
How to enhance the Dwell Time of Your WordPress Website:
It’s time to take action now that you understand why to dwell time is important and what your website looks like. In a nutshell, attempting to increase dwell time comes down to two factors:
- A user experience that is excellent
- Engaging, relevant, unique, and valuable content
Details, however, are what make or break a project. In light of that, here are some practical recommendations.
Optimize the First Impression:
It is very important to make a good first impression on a visitor to your site. It makes no sense for them to continue if they are immediately turned off. It takes milliseconds for this decision to be made. Getting the first impression is a rare occurrence, so you better make the most of it:
- Taking longer than three seconds to load a page will cause 40 percent of users to abandon it. How long is that? That’s quicker than the spelling bounce rate. In order to increase dwell time on your site, learn how to speed up your website with WordPress Development Company.
- The design of your website has a significant impact on whether visitors trust it. Because of this, you need to make sure the message is clear and resonates with your target audience. You should use simple backgrounds, plenty of white space, and clear and easy-to-read fonts.
- Designing layouts goes hand in hand with design. Content should be a central part of your marketing strategy (more on that below). People won’t read your best content if it actually makes them dizzy.
- You can ensure that your dwell time on mobile devices is zero if your site isn’t responsive. Today’s Internet simply won’t allow it. Make your website mobile-friendly by learning today what makes it mobile-friendly.
- Advertisements and popups: While popups can be extremely useful for building a list, they can also be extremely irritating. Ads are no different. It’s why Google started penalizing ads last year, and Chrome will start blocking them if they’re too intrusive. Be sure they don’t impede the user experience when using either. Utilize exit-intent technology and other techniques to make your exit more subtle.
Concentrate on User Needs:
As previously stated, a long dwell time usually indicates that your page is meeting the needs of the user. As a result, it takes them a long time to decide to look for more information. Similarly, if you want their dwell time to increase, don’t give them any reasons to leave. Here’s how you do it:
- Recognize your users: The first step in fulfilling user intent is to identify it. If you can get inside your audience’s heads and figure out what they want, you’ll be much better able to give it to them. Conducting market research for your website will aid in this endeavor.
- Create more extensive content: Long-form content outperforms short-form content by a wide margin. Longer posts allow you to delve deeper into a topic and answer more of your readers’ questions, which makes sense. Although it requires more effort, it yields better results.
- Choose the right keywords: The keywords in your title and description promise what your piece will be about. Visitors will leave in droves if you fail to deliver on your promise (for example, an “ultimate guide” that is only 300 words long). As a result, your dwell time will suffer. Don’t do it. Oh, and steer clear of clickbait headlines.
- Keep your content up to date: Stale content is one of the most effective ways to send visitors back to the home page. Nothing is more disheartening than clicking through to an article only to discover it is horribly out of date. Personally, I rarely click on search results that are more than two years old. Others will have the same reaction.
- Respond to questions and comments: The most important discussion takes place in the comment section. The worst thing you can do if people interact with your articles is ignored them. Not only do other people read the comments (staying on your site longer), but when you interact with them, it gives them a reason to return.
Make Your Content Highly Readable
In recent years, readability has grown in importance. Team Yoast also spoke about why they added a readability tool to their SEO plugin at WordCamp Europe 2016. Here are their suggestions for making content more readable:
To that, I would add:
- Be approachable. People want to interact with others. As a result, don’t be afraid to show your personality in your writing. Pose questions, crack jokes and be a little silly. It will allow others to connect with your content on a more personal level, making it more entertaining.
- Make use of media images, infographics, videos, and other media are excellent tools for emphasizing and breaking up your content. Furthermore, with so many free stock photos available and so many services that WordPress supports auto embeds, there’s really no excuse not to use them.
Include Internal Links:
Dwell time is more than just the page on which people land. It is also important to consider how much time they spend on your website. As a result, if you want to keep them around longer, give them somewhere to go next.
One method is to link to related posts on your website (as I have done in this piece). Another option is to include a widget in your sidebar or at the bottom of your post that lists your most recent, popular, or related posts.
WordPress has a built-in solution for showing the most recent posts. Jetpack and Related Posts for WordPress are both good options for related posts. The aforementioned Jetpack and WordPress Popular Posts are both excellent popular post plugins.
Of course, you should also include links to external resources (where appropriate). When you do, however, make sure to open those links in a new tab or window.
Trying to increase dwell time on your site and then sending visitors elsewhere is counterproductive you can also visit WordPress Development Services for more details.
Dwell Time in a Nutshell:
In the SEO world, dwell time is a hotly debated topic. While the concept has been around for a long time, much of it is still unclear. Among them are how to reliably measure it and how much weight search engines place on it.
Regardless of whether Google tracks dwell time (which they most likely do), taking steps to increase it can only benefit your WordPress site. After all, the amount of time visitors stays on your site before returning to the SERPs is a key quality indicator. As a result, any measures to increase dwell time will benefit both your site and your overall SEO.
Pay attention to the two pillars of user experience and content. If you do this, dwell time will occur on its own.