Does dwell time affect SEO?

Over the years, there has been a lot of speculation about Google ranking signals. Speculation is as old as Google. What causes one site to reach the pinnacle of the search engine results page (SERP) and another to get buried deep in the SERP. Google has always been very secretive about the precise mechanics of its ranking algorithm. But recently, Google has let the cat out of the bag.

On March 23, 2016, during a Q&A livestream, Andrey Lipattsev, a Senior Search Quality Strategist at Google, revealed that the number 1 and number 2 ranking factors were links and content.

Links will play less of a role in the future as Google begins to better understand natural language. This is what Matt Cutts had to say about the future of links.

“As we better understand who wrote what and what the true meaning of that content is, inevitably over time there will be a little less emphasis on links.”

If links are not the future of SEO, then which direction is SEO headed?


One of the key user experience metrics is dwell time.

What is dwell time?

The term dwell time was first mentioned by Duane Forrester, who wrote a post “How to create quality content”.

Dwell time measures the time it takes for a searcher to return to a SERP after clicking on a result. How does it impact SEO? Does Google pay much attention to you? If it does.

Regardless of many algorithm changes by Google, what has held strong is the effectiveness of the content. If the Content is worth reading, it stands to reason that a visitor would spend time on your site. On the other hand, a visitor leaving within 5-6 seconds of arriving at your site is a sure sign that something is wrong. You have to find out what.

You not only need to provide engaging content, but also try to increase the dwell time of visitors by engaging them even more.

How to increase dwell time

1. Focus on content that is relevant, useful, and actionable.

If you’re not creating content that’s worth reading (one paragraph content/50 word content), what do you expect users to do? Stay long on your site? They will not.

The same goes for the title and meta descriptions. They must match the content of the page. Imagine a situation where a searcher clicks on your link in the SERP because of an attractive title and meta description, only to find out that the page is useless in answering their query. The searcher will quickly press the back button, sending a clear message to Google that the content does not meet the user’s expectations.

2. Interconnect your content

An effective way to encourage visitors to visit more pages is through interlinking, making it easier for them to discover new content. By guiding them to other areas of your site, you are discouraging them from returning to the Google search engine results page.

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