Dwell time is the duration of time a searcher spends on a web page after clicking on the link in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) before then returning to the list of search results.
Why Is Dwell Time Important?
Google (and other search engines) are always seeking to elevate good quality content and decrease the number of pages providing poor user experience.
For this reason, dwell time is often determined as a ranking factor because it is an indicator of the quality of a page.
If a user clicks off a web page immediately (~2 seconds) the bots can infer that a page didn’t deliver on content or relevancy.
If a user clicks off after a few minutes (~ 2 minutes) the bots can infer that the page had some useful and relevant information, but the searcher didn’t get everything they needed or wanted.
If a user stays on a page for over 10 minutes the bots can infer that a page had good quality content, relevant to the searchers’ query.
Common Misconceptions About Dwell Time
There’s a lot of confusion out there about dwell time, and it’s not surprising, the world of SEO is a confusing place. Below are some common misconceptions about dwell time.
1. It’s the Same as Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is in fact the percentage of single page sessions divided by all of the sessions on a website.
2. It's the Same as Average Time on Page
This is actually different to dwell time, although often used interchangeably. Dwell time can not be calculated if a person has found your site through an external link, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. It is calculated from SERPSback to SERPS.
3. It’s the Same as Click Through Rate
Click Through Rate is determined by how many searchers click on your website, out of the total number who saw the website come up on SERPs.
What Factors Affect Dwell Time?
There are lots of factors that affect dwell time. A website creator must keep these in mind and address them to ensure their website has a high dwell time. Some of these factors include: