Dwell Time: A Complete Guide to What It Is and How to Increase It

Dwell Time: A Complete Guide to What It Is and How to Increase It

So, you’ve done possibly everything to get your website to rank high on search results, but you haven’t even gotten on the first page, let alone the top. Why is this happening? For starters, a missteps on your part might be sending users back to the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). We’re going to be discussing at length how to improve dwell time, but, first, let’s talk about what dwell time is and how it’s connected to ranking.

You might also be interested to read: SERP Simplified: Here’s What You Must Know!

The Concept of Dwell Time

The amount of time a user spends on a page before reverting to the SERP is termed as dwell times. The majority of SEO professionals relate dwell time to ranking signals, but these assumptions haven’t been confirmed by Google.

For instance, let’s say that you’re looking for a detailed yoga routine for the entire day because you want to get in better shape. You search up “exercise routines” on Google.

You click on the first search result, and it directs you to the page. However, it’s difficult to navigate, and the content is somewhat vague.

So, naturally, you go back and click on the second result. This one is easier to get around, and the content is useful. You spend 10 minutes going through some articles before going back to SERP.

If this keeps on happening – people prefer the second page more – Google might consider that in their page rankings. What was then ranked #1 result may fall to #2, while the second jumps to first position.

Google hasn’t come out with an official statement confirming that dwell time is, in fact, a ranking factor, but the closest we’ve gotten are some crumbs from Google engineers. They said that when the search was invented, heuristics were written that analyzed the connection between a search and the optimal results page for the search. Those heuristics have continued being effective throughout time.

Additionally, they shared that Google had been integrating machine learning into the ranking and search process. This addition will help Google figure out the relationship between users clicking on a page, staying on it, and going back.

If this wasn’t enough to convince you, here’s another pointer that shows how dwell time is bound to be a mild ranking factor at the very least.

If you bounce back from a page very quick, all the results from a domain could be blocked. Google understands that there’s a good chance that people are leaving the page so fast because the content doesn’t interest them.

With time, Google developed a better understanding of which sites were actually helpful. 

You can also read: Adapting SEO for COVID-19 and Beyond

How to Improve Dwell Time in 7 Steps

With the introduction out of the way, let’s look at some surefire ways to increase the dwell time on your pages.

1. Increase Site Speed

The internet is not a fan of slow pages. One of the key ways to stop people from pressing the back button is to ensure faster loading of pages. According to reports, 47% of the users expect to two wait only two seconds or less for a page to load.

There are some tools you can use to speed up your site. WebPageTest, Page Speed Insights, GTmetrix, and Pingdom Website Speed Test are some of them.

2. Deliver a Multimedia Experience

Infographics help keep users engaged, but people seem to skip it when talking about how to improve dwell time. Don’t think that using infographics should be limited to referral traffic.  

Check out this infographic where the content is layered, making even complex topics significantly easier to digest. 

Videos have been proven to be effective in increasing dwell time too. So, embedding videos in the content is a good idea as well. Here are some tips and tricks on improving video content quality:

  1. Focus on setting an eye-catching thumbnail.
  2. Attach a video that contains content related information.
  3. Product videos and customer testimonial videos are solid ways to promote conversation.
  4. Embed videos touching upon the particular strategy; use it to give an insight into the topic.
Dwell Time: A Complete Guide to What It Is and How to Increase It

For example, look at this image. The use of colors and segments makes the information easier to digest.

3. Capture People’s Attention

You will get one chance to make the users feel like your content is what they needed. If you fail, they’ll be back at the SERP at lightning speed. The first 10-20 seconds will determine if the user will dwell or leave.

So, the introduction needs to be crisp, useful, and relevant to the target keyword. For example, an open-ended question works as a great “hook.” It calls on the audience to engage with the entire content.

The hook needs to capture the essence of what the rest of the article will be offering – a sneak peek into what they can expect.

4. Divide into Understandable Segments

After the effective introduction, users will be looking forward to the rest.

Use Headings to divide contents into various segments so that it’s easy to grasp. This also makes going back for reference much easier.

Bullet-point format makes the information more succinct, and users can find exactly what they’re looking for. If you want the users to find the juice of the content, make the sections brief and to the point.

Additionally, using some screenshots here and there is a good way to engage the audience through visuals.

5. Add Interactive Content

Not only does interactive content keep users on the page for a longer time, but it can also enhance the overall user experience. 

Downloadable attachments, polls, quizzes, and many more features can help the site visitors engage with your content on a specific issue.

6. Reflect Search Intent

To rank #1 on Google for a keyword, you need to provide the most relevant solution to a query. To sum it up, the page’s content needs to reflect the reason for the search.

There are four common search intents: Information, Inquiry, Brand, and Transaction.

Now, let’s say you’re a cooking website and have targeted the keyword “easy breakfast recipes.”

Firstly, you should review keyword difficulty and search volume under “Keyword Ideas,” followed by analyzing the topmost SERP results for the keyword. Make notes of the page’s content as you review every page to learn how to improve yours. It’s a good idea to evaluate the on-page optimizations, like using keywords in headings and subheadings or anything that enhances dwell times.

7. Audience Comments

Create an open space for the audience to interact, provide suggestions, and leave questions. People like reading other’s comments too. Other readers might have similar questions, and the author may have provided valuable responses to it. 

As users read and leave comments, the dwell time rises. Plus, you’ll get a lot of good feedback and constructive criticism, so you can work on your content better.

Final Thoughts 

A lot of the times, websites fall due to sheer ignorance of the content makers. You can have good information and offerings, but you won’t be able to feed those to the users if you’re not giving enough thought on how to improve dwell time. Increasing dwell time keeps the page high on Google search rankings and makes way for steady growth of the page.

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