Home What is Dwell Time? Is Dwell Time a Google Ranking Factor?

What is Dwell Time? Is Dwell Time a Google Ranking Factor?

There are many ranking factors Google uses, and dwell time (D.T) is one of those factors. The chatter on social media platforms started prioritizing dwell time importance.  How is dwell time measured? Is it a ranking factor? And if so, how can you optimize dwell time? Here is what dwell time is and the Google ranking factor for it.

What is Dwell Time?

Duane Forrester at Bing wrote a blog post three years ago, and in this blog post, the concept of dwell time was first introduced.

In simple words, Dwell time is the length of time a person spends looking at a webpage after they’ve clicked a link on a SERP page — but before clicking back to the search results.

Image  Source – Cognitiveseo.com

D.T is often imprecise with session duration as well. Session duration defines the total amount of time spent on a website before the website visitor leaves the site. Dwell time tells a different tale.

Also, keep in mind that this is different from Click through rate.

Let’s Understand Dwell Time

  • For example, let’s say you search for “Pancakes” in Google.
  • The first result shown on the SERP seems appropriate, So you click on a page.
  • When you land on the site, it looks displeasing and difficult to navigate. And the content isn’t helpful.
  • After seven seconds on the page — you click back to the results.
  • Your Dwell Time was 7 seconds.

Average D.T = Total users time spent before clicking Back to Result  — Count of All Users who clicked Back to Result

Can You Measure Dwell Time in Google Analytics?

You will first have to measure dwell time if you are thinking of increasing it. Here is how you can do that:

In Google Analytics, focus on the bounce rate & avg. Time on website metrics. You will have to decrease the bounce rate and increase time on page.

It indicates that your site’s visitors are spending more time on a page before bouncing-off. That’s how you can quickly increase your dwell time.

Does dwell time affect your rankings?

On this question, every marketer has a different point of view, but there are some proofs that do support the idea of Google somehow considering dwell time sort of ranking signal.

Steps to Increase D.T

  • Optimal use of Ads

Google started to penalize mobile sites that contain intrusive pop-up ads and this has been officially announced in 2017. Let’s embrace this fact that ads are sometimes annoying, which results in long dwell times on your website. If you remove ads, then certainly your dwell time will improve a lot.

  • Right Keywords Targeting

You must understand that Driving relevant audiences play a vital role in increasing D.T & this can be done only if you’re targeting the right keywords. You can use tools like Keyword magic tool provided by SEMrush.


SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
Image Source:  SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
  • Page Load Time Improvement

Slow websites are tedious and frustrating for any of us — especially if we are browsing on mobile. Here are a couple of tools you might like. Pingdom, GTMetrix and Google Page Speed Insights. Also, make sure that you have an outstanding speed.

A Case study made by Radware shows that every single second delay impacts bounce rate, conversion rate, cart size, and page views. It seems like a one-second delay can make a huge difference in user engagement on the website.

Dwell Time Trend

  • Better Use of Internal Linking

An excellent Internal linking strategy will help your SEO along with that it will help in creating a better user experience. It creates a natural access structure and will guide website visitors through more website pages and eventually increase your page views.

Simultaneously, this will increase the chances to add certain links to pages that people will further relate to. This one is my favorite strategy to increase the time.

  • Attractive Design of Your Website

You have to make sure that your website design is flawless, easy to navigate, and straightforward. Good web design helps you in SEO, and your users stay on your site, which will improve your dwell time.

Final Conclusion –

As Google keeps on focusing more on excellent user experience & making sure that, it shows the most effective results for every search. And as Neil Patel claims, dwell time is less of a science and more of an art. 

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Rahul Setia
Founder at TechBlogCorner.com

A competent professional with more than 8+ years of experience in Digital Marketing, FB Ads, Adwords, Linkedin Ads, Email Marketing, SEO & Internet Marketing, ATL, BTL, Lead Generation Campaigns. Started his blog TechBlogCorner.com in 2014 to share his knowledge globally.

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