Dwell Time is the name for a crucial metric which is often overlooked when analysing website data. SEO experts often ignore this important piece of data, but it can be the key to learning about readers’ behavior and increasing the time spent on your site.

So what is dwell time?

In simple terms, ‘Dwell Time’ is the actual amount of time a visitor spends on a webpage before returning to the search engine results page (SERP).

It’s important not to get this confused with Bounce Rate, which shows the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your site after viewing only one page.

Think about yourself for a second. When googling something, you most likely click onto a few different webpages, and after having a quick look at the content, you realise it’s not what you’re looking for, so you hit the return button. The time you spent on the site is the Dwell Time.

It may seem quite simple, but Dwell Time can be difficult to understand. For instance, if a page is very clear and concise, telling readers exactly what they want to know as soon as they click onto it, they may leave the page sooner, thus decreasing the Dwell Time. This means that higher Dwell Time doesn’t automatically mean a page is ‘better’. However, the longer somebody spends viewing your page, the more likely the page satisfied their needs.

It is subjective, meaning SEO experts should take into account the content they are thinking about and whether or not a higher/lower Dwell Time is desired.

What Dwell Time is not

It should also be noted that measuring Dwell Time alone is not an accurate or all-round helpful way of understanding your audience. However, considering this alongside the measures you use already, it could give you the results you’ve been missing.

Dwell Time is not something that can be measured via a third-party tool. It is a metric that only search engines can measure. This doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be considered, however.

Whilst there is no one thing that can be done to increase Dwell Time, it’s pretty easy to think about what will assist in this. For instance, placing key information all the way down a long page is not going to give visitors the quick answers they want. A slow loading time isn’t going to encourage visitors to stay on a site. Considering and implementing these changes could be the key to ensuring visitors stay on your site as long as you would like them to.

Dwell Time is definitely something that should be taken into consideration when trying to analyse engagement. It may seem unimportant as it cannot be viewed as a metric on third-party tools that are commonly used, however, it could be the key to getting visitors to stay on your site, and navigate around it.