Why You Should Measure Dwell Time on Your Website and How to Increase It

Daniela McVicker
SEOblog Why You Should Measure Dwell Time on Your Website and How to Increase

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Whether you’ve recently launched your website or you’re looking to improve its search engine results pages (SERPs) ranking, dwell time is one of the more obscure — yet decisive — factors to consider in light of website optimization.

Dwell time is defined as the total amount of time an individual user spends on your website from the first click to their return to the SERPs, effectively showcasing how appealing and attention-grabbing your content is in retrospect.

According to Small Biz Genius, 70 percent of online businesses fail to retain a recurring audience. This is mostly due to poor user experience (UX) optimization and bad overall website usability, with 75 percent of users judging a website based on its visual appeal and aesthetics first and foremost.

This indicates that users care not only about utility but also visual and creative decisions made to ensure the website is unique, usable and feature-rich while providing trustworthy and professional customer servicing. That said, let’s take a look at why dwell time matters in the grand scheme of ranking on SERPs, as well as how you can increase your users’ stay on your website for the betterment of both your future conversion rates and global search ranking.

Advantages of Measuring Your Website’s Dwell Time

Let’s take a look at the advantages of increasing your dwell time before we dive into how to extend dwell time on your website. It’s important to make the distinction between standard website optimization metrics such as bounce rate and click-through-rate as opposed to dwell time. 

While the former represents percentile measurements, which indicate how users interact with your website, your dwell time is indicated by the time spent on it, respectively. The longer someone uses your website to browse its contents, products and other information, the more likely they are to convert into subscribers or customers. Subsequently, the increased dwell time will signal the SERPs that your web pages offer valuable content worth presenting to more individuals. This adds to your overall ranking optimization and future traffic. 

Monitoring your website’s performance via specialized platforms such as Google Analytics will give you a good indication of how users interact with your content. This information allows you the insights needed to improve your dwell time. As such, increased dwell time can bring several substantial benefits to your business, including the following:

  • Higher engagement and conversion rates
  • Better SERPs ranking and SEO
  • Streamlined content curation because of better audience analytics
  • Higher long-term return on time and resource investment

How to Increase Your Website’s Dwell Time

Audit Your Website’s UX

The first step in increasing your dwell time should revolve around an internal site audit, which will help you assess the current state of your website’s UX. Specifically, try to navigate your website with different goals in mind, from the landing page to individual blog posts, product pages, customer support page and the like. 

How many clicks does it take to reach different parts of your website? Do you have popup ads, chatbot windows, banner ads or other dynamic elements present on each page? How content-rich are your individual pages and do you offer original, long-form content for users to enjoy without going back to SERP shortly thereafter? These questions will allow you to understand how well-optimized and thought-out your content strategy is currently, giving you a clear indication of which bottlenecks to clear-up to increase your dwell time.

Focus on Quality Content Production

The simplest way to ensure that your dwell time will increase in the near future is to reevaluate your content strategy and create quality content for your target audience. For example, if your website revolves around outsourcing marketing services, your blog section should offer industry-specific content to reflect the business portfolio. 

Referring to writing website reviews for outsourcing, if you don’t have an in-house content creator or copywriter, will allow you to create a stable content production pipeline. In this way, you can write and publish quality content regularly. Users are given an increasingly better reason to stick around and use your website without going to other content sources, adding to your overall dwell time.

Internal Link Building

Once a user finds their way to your site via SERPs or a referral link, your job is to keep them on the website with a variety of content optimization techniques. Websites without internal link building will have a difficult time increasing their dwell time due to obvious reasons. 

Striking a healthy balance between internal and external links on your website will allow you to offer a good variety of value to your users going forward. The best way to build an internal link network is to focus on content production. Do this with topic clustering in mind, creating a variety of posts and articles which are interconnected to some degree and taking care of redirects and broken links. This ensures users go from one internal link to another, rather than bounce off your website in search of more valuable content elsewhere.

Encourage Engagement and Conversion

When users feel welcome on your website, they are more likely to engage with the content and spend more time browsing through your pages. Engagement can be encouraged in a variety of ways, such as via calls-to-action, interactive content, native ads, service demos and other activities. These will not only positively affect your dwell time, but also contribute to your conversion rates and subsequent revenue gain from the userbase.

Don’t create passive, one-sided content that simply presents visitors with facts and static content – ask them for an opinion, a contribution or offer additional internal links and references to elevate their engagement with your site.

Increase Your Website’s Accessibility

Given the widespread nature of internet access, more people are prone to find your website and measure it against their own preferences and requirements. One of the requirements very few people can affect, concerns their accessibility needs, whether they be health or language-related. 

You can increase your website’s accessibility through a plethora of methods, starting with localization into different languages, integration of a chatbot AI or even voice-enabled search functionality. In addition, health-related accessibility features such as alt-text content for images or a color-blind mode will work wonders for your dwell time and general SERPs ranking. Your links receive more authority due to higher-than-average functionality. Make your content available to as many people as possible and they will be more than likely to spend a lot of time on-site.

Ongoing Optimization 

Once you increase your dwell time and ensure that users spend more time on your website, you will want to maintain the status quo going forward. Just because your dwell time increased momentarily doesn’t mean that it will stay that way indefinitely without monitoring and optimization. 

Eliminate bottlenecks such as slow load times, poor accessibility optimization and inadequate SEO and your site’s performance and dwell time will reflect those efforts. Communicate with your audience, gather feedback and analytics, and ensure that your SERPs remains optimal. This is how to facilitate your website’s organic growth over time.

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