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Can dwell time be considered as a Google ranking factor?

Can dwell time be considered as a Google ranking factor?

But why does this matter for SEO

Dwell time is one of the most important and misunderstood metric to evaluate the ranking of a page. It is used as a user based metric by Google to rank a page.

This concept was first introduced by Duane Forrester in 2011 in his blog post on the Bing Webmaster Blog. The blog outlines the importance of the time a user spends on a page before going back to the SERP’s. The longer a user spends time on a page, the better it is for the page to have a good ranking.

What is Dwell Time?

In simple words, Dwell time is the actual time a user spends on a particular page before going back to the SERP’s. The more time a person spends on the page, the better it will be for your site or page.

This can be explained by an example:

Let’s assume I do a search for “What is Pogo sticking”? I get the following results and out of those I choose the first one:

engaging content

I click on the first result and spend about 3 minutes 15 seconds on it and read the content.

Now, as I am looking for more information on this subject, I decided to head back to the SERPs (by clicking on the “back” button in my browser) to look for more content.So my dwell time on that page was approximately 3 minutes 15 seconds.

But why does this matter for SEO?

Over the years, SEO’s have debated at length on the importance of

how Dwell time impacts SEO.

If a user clicks on a page, spends time on a site, interacts with it, without bouncing back or going on another link, indicates that your site or page has enough knowledge or content to keep the users engaged. The search engines can get an idea of this by watching the dwell time. As this happens, SEO improves.


components of dwell time


Dwell time can be said to be a combination of two components, with one related component.

  • Session duration
  • Bounce rate
  • Click-through rate (CTR) on the search engine results page (SERP)

Session Duration

In Google analytics, one can find the average length of time that users spend on a website. This metric is known as Session duration.

Session Duration

Bounce Rate

In Google analytics, a metric known as Bounce Rate indicates the percentage of visitors who leave the website after viewing only one page.

Bounce Rate


“SERP CTRs” is a metric to evaluate how often your website appears in search results for any given query, and how many people click on your site when they see it. This metric can be accessed by browsing to Google Webmaster Tools → Search Traffic → Search Queries.

Tips to Increase Dwell Time

So, now that we’ve understood how dwell time can be considered as a ranking factor, let us see few tips to increase dwell time on your site.

Produce Better and meaningful Content

The first and foremost requirement to increase the dwell time is to produce better and meaningful content related to the topic.

All types of content, whether it is an article, blog posts, info graphics or videos, good content should be:

  • Actionable or educational
  • Entertaining and gripping (funny, unusual/offbeat, surprising)
  • Well-designed, conversational and accessible


use of Logical Internal Linking

Internal linking is very important to maximize SEO. Without a concrete internal linking strategy in hand; your site may suffer in the rankings.

After the users have finished reading the content on your page and before they return back to SERP’s , it makes sense to provide users with some additional actions like answering another questioner preempting a possible second query related to the topic. This provides better experience to the users.

Give way to

Better Engagement Tactics

Just as internal links to other articles and pages can make visitors stay on your site for long, in a similar way better engagement techniques such as content recommendations also work.

Try to suggest relevant articles to your readers related to what they have been reading.This step from your side will persuade them to stick to your site without browsing to other sites.This tactic works well if implemented correctly.After all, the visitors will like to stay on your page or site if they get more information about another topic of interest without returning to the SERPs.

A “Pageless Scrolling” Design is the key to success
One can introduce a technique, known as “

Pageless scrolling

” design to increase dwell time for better readability and ease of users.

In the end, all we can say is that improved content marketing strategies will have a direct impact on decreasing your bounce rate and increasing your session duration. To have a good ranking in the search engine, build relevant pages that make people stay on your site. Better content marketing translates into better dwell time and hence, it means better SEO.

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