Dwell Time: What is It and How Does It Affect SEO?

what is dwell timeHave you noticed that your website hasn’t been climbing in the search engine rankings for several months?

Are you growing frustrated with the fact that your competitor’s website seems to consistently outrank you — and feeling concerned that they may be cornering your market?

Do you just feel like something is missing from your current SEO strategy, but you can’t figure out what it is?


If so, then it sounds like improving your site’s dwell time might be the answer.

But what is dwell time, and why does it matter?

Read on to find out.

What Is Dwell Time?

Of course, before you can fully grasp how dwell time impacts your site’s overall SEO strategy and Google rankings?

You first need to be able to answer the question, “What is dwell time?”

Many people mistakenly think that dwell time is exclusively how long the average user spends on your website before clicking away to another one.

In fact, the equation is a bit more complicated than that (which is no surprise — after all, we are in the world of SEO.) Your site’s overall “dwell time” is a combination of the average time that a user spends on your website and your website’s average bounce rate (the average rate at which people leave your site after only seeing one page.)

However, there’s one more factor thrown into the concept of dwell time that most people overlook: your site’s overall click-through rate. Briefly, your site’s click-through rate is the number of times that your website both comes up in a search engine result and is actually clicked on by someone searching for those terms.

Obviously, the longer your site’s overall dwell time, the higher you’ll rank in search engine results.

The one downside to this equation?

Because Google likes to keep their exact formulas hidden from the public eye, it’s difficult to say which of these three factors is the “most important” (though most believe that your site’s click-through-rate is the least crucial factor.)

The best strategy?

Pay attention to and strengthen all of these metrics.


Keep reading to find out.

Why Does Dwell Time Matter?

Before we discuss how to improve your site’s dwell time, let’s first ensure that you understand fully why it’s so important.

After all, shouldn’t things like your average number of visitors, shares on social media, or even the number of products you sell matter more?

Well, think about it — all of these things serve to increase your site’s dwell time because they’re what actually bring people to your website in the first place.

If someone sees one of your blog posts on your brand’s Facebook page, they’re going to navigate to your website and hopefully spend about 5-7 minutes reading the whole post.

If you sell products on your website, then your visitors will likely spend hours of their time combing through your product listings, descriptions, reviews, and photos.

The more visitors your website has, the more likely it is to end up on the first page of Google, which means that your click-through rate will also increase.

So, pretty much every piece of content on your website is somehow related to your dwell time. Remember, high dwell times tell Google that your website provides useful, authoritative, and relevant content to users.

Since Google exists to help connect users, products, services, and other solutions, they want to find the best and most useful sites and put them at the top of their list.

How Can I Increase My Site’s Dwell Time

So, now you can answer the questions, “What is dwell time?” and “Why is it so important?”

Now, let’s talk about the best ways to boost your site’s dwell time.

While we wish we could give you a “magic number” to aim for when it comes to the amount of time you want people to spend on your website, that will vary based on both your industry and the strength of your competition.

However, as a general rule:

If people are spending two minutes or under on your website, you need to do a little work.

So, what can you do to increase your dwell time?

First of all, check out your site speed, because users will leave your website if it takes even longer than a millisecond to load. Use this free tool to ensure that your site isn’t getting left in the dust.

If it is, then start by removing any autoplay features and pop-ups from your homepage. Also, reduce the size of the images on your site’s homepage.

Then, take a look at your site’s actual content.

Is it easy-to-read? Is it short and sweet? Is it broken up into multiple paragraphs, and not just a wall of text?

Does it make your readers feel something? Most of all, is it actually interesting and useful — and even in any way entertaining?

If not, it may not be a technical issue at all, but instead your content that is driving people away.

We suggest hiring a professional SEO agency and/or content writer to help you to beef things up.

Need More Help With SEO?

Now that you can answer the question “What is dwell time?” and have a few ideas about how to boost your site’s own, you’re totally done with SEO for the year, right?


You need to remember that dwell time is just a singular part of your overall SEO and digital marketing strategy.

And if you ignore all those other parts?

Then even the best dwell time optimization plans in the world won’t be able to do much for your website. So, what else do you need to fix, and how can you fix it?

Check out our website and blog to find out, and to get the best SEO tips and tools for a variety of marketing and site issues.

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