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What is dwell time and why do I need it?

If you are working on online marketing and more specifically on content creation, you might be familiar with rates such as bounce rate or time on page, but what about dwell time? Well, dwell time is a rate only few people use and it has been proven to be one of the most important factors when it comes to SEO and content sharing on Social Networks.

What is dwell time?

It's time to learn about dwell time

It’s time to learn about dwell time

Dwell time is known as the length of time a visitor spends on a landing page before it returns to the SERP. The more time a user spends on our page, the better since this might indicate that our content is been read or consumed.  Dwell time is a powerful measurement to know about user engagement and this is why dwell is so important for calculating our users engagement with our content

As you know, content shared on Facebook or Twitter is shown by relevance, and so the more relevant Facebook and Twitter think your content is, the more chances you will have to be showing your share content to your audience.

Dwell time as well is a very powerful metric for SEO. As you know there is nothing said about which metrics does Google take into consideration but if there is a metric it should be taking into consideration to qualify the quality of your content, then it should be dwell time.

How do we calculate dwell time?

Dwell time is highly related with bounce rate as well as time-on-site… Let me explain why.

Bounce rate is the percentage of a single-page session. Bounce rate is the amount of sessions that have left the page within a 30 minutes by default in Google analytics. This is why if we are measuring the bounce rate on a blog, we should definitely modify the time set for counting bounce rate. This can easily be done by adding a line of code to our analytics tag. Here the full instructions. Bounce rate is a very important metric since it helps us understand if our content is what the user was searching for when he/she clicked on it. This metric helps Google and other search engines to give more or less value to our pages.

On the other hand, we got time-on-site. This is the average time a session spends on our site. The more the better since it means users have found what they needed and so they didn’t need to go back to the SERP.

It makes sense that dwell is correlated to all those metrics. This is why a way to improve your dwell is to decrease your bounce rate as well as to increase the average time on site.

How to increase dwell time?

So now that we know that dwell time is very important, we need to put our efforts on how to increase it. If we are running a blog, it’s of high interest to know which articles have high amount of page views and compare it with the average time on page as Mark did in his post. I did the test. Do you think the results matched? Well, they did not.

Pageviews VS Avg time on page

Pageviews VS Avg time on page

Based on our results we were able to formulate some questions such as:

  1. What is the average length per post?
  2. What content and which structure did the most with most average time on page?
  3. Which sources are those coming from? Emailing? Social Media?
  4. Which social media site is performing better?
  5. Which device our audience use?
  6. And all those questions that might arise when digging into the data.

Answering those questions has given us un idea of what is our audience more into. Based on that we can create post with more relevant content for our audience as well as test if shorter posts are more relevant for users. We invite you to do the test as well!


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