What Is Dwell Time & Why It’s Important for SEO

Dwell time is the time that starts from the moment you click on a web URL till you return back to SERPs for some other website. It is an important SEO metric and site owners should take into account. This piece will help you learn everything that is about Dwell Time. Why it's important and how you can improve your site's SEO.

To browse something from Google, you know the drill. Type inside the search bar with the most related keyword, and Google generously delivers hundreds and thousands of results.

The chances are that you’ll click the very first URL that appears in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). Why? Because your brain tells that the first link is the most related and authentic out of the lot.

You click the URL, and after scrolling through the site content, you decide to return to the search page because:

  • You didn’t get the desired info
  • You had a bad site experience, or
  • Diversity — you want to find out what other sites offer

dwell time seo

So, what is dwell time?

This entire loop of time which started from clicking on a web URL till you return to SERPs for some other website, is called the “Dwell Time.”

See, you’ve done this several times, and in the context of SEO, dwell time is an important metric that websites need to monitor.

How dwell time works?

Basically, the duration of dwell time helps Google understands how likable is your website’s content. E.g., for the first SERP result (website A), you spend 5 seconds on a website. The second search result (website B) brings more value and piques your interest. This makes you spend good solid 5 minutes before you jump to another site (website C).

Your 5 minutes stay on website B is far more impactful than website A. This user-generated feedback helps Google learn that the second website adds more value for readers. Now let’s consider that the same trend continues by other readers as well. The result will be that Google will improve website B’s ranking and places it in the first spot.

How to measure dwell time?

There isn’t any hard and fast rule to measure the dwell time since Google Analytics does not offer an exclusive filter to calculate it. On the contrary, with Google Analytics, you can learn about your website’s Avg. Session Duration, i.e., the average time a site visitor spends after they land on that page.

This span is relatively quite close to your website’s dwell time. To do so:

  • Login to Google Analytics
  • Go to Behavior ❯ Site Content ❯ Landing Pages
  • Create a segment that lets you view only the Organic Traffic
  • Done! Now you can view the time visitors spend on each page of your site

Tips to improve dwell time

Dwell time is quite subjective in that it gets affected by the entire SEO strategy of a website. So, if you ask me what are the tips to improve the dwell time, then here are some of the best practices:

  • Embed videos in your site content
  • Improve page load time if the site loads slowly
  • Write long-form content approx. more than 1000 words
  • Website content should be mobile friendly and optimized for different screen sizes

Was this piece helpful? I have also written a piece about why investing in a good SEO suite is important. Reading it might be helpful.

Also, please share your feedback through the comments section below, and for any further queries you can reach out to me through my Twitter account.

Maedah Batool

ⓦ WordPress Marketing Team Representative & WP Core Contributing Developer ❯ 🎩 #OpenSourceress ❯ ✍️ Tech Journalist, Developer & Teacher ❯ 👩‍💻 OSS Content Program Manager at TheDevCouple ❯ 👩‍🏫 Taught thousands of girls how to code #GirlsWhoCode ❯ 💜 Love my husband (Ahmad Awais), Minions, and 🍕

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