Dwell time (also session duration) is the amount of time a user spends on a website and its subpages. This is measured from the time a page is called up to the time it is closed. The dwell time allows conclusions to be drawn about the quality and relevance of the content of a website and its user-friendliness. It is used by search engines as a ranking criterion.
The average time on site is used as a factor for analyzing websites. This is the average time users spend on a website. It is calculated by adding up all the dwell time values for a URL and dividing them by the number of sessions.
A popular tool for measuring and analyzing dwell time is the web analysis tool Google Analytics.
The page dwell time can be used as a quality factor of a website. It thus serves as an indicator of the success of a website.
If users are offered high-quality content that they like and that is relevant, they will stay longer on the website and engage with its content. If the dwell time increases, the user seems to like the content.
Especially for content-oriented websites, dwell time is of great importance. It also plays an important role in e-commerce. The longer the user spends on a page, the higher the chance of a conversion.
With the help of the session duration, it is also possible to determine whether the optimization measures implemented are having the desired effect. If, for example, the length of stay increases after a post has been revised, the new content seems to be well received by users. Therefore, the session duration should be monitored regularly in order to be able to take appropriate SEO measures if necessary.
If the dwell time is low or decreases, this can have a variety of causes. Not only the content of a website, but also its structure plays a role.
The following reasons, for example, are possible for a decreasing dwell time:
Accordingly, it makes sense to revise the existing content or to check the user-friendliness of the website if the dwell time is decreasing.
It is hardly possible to set a concrete value for a good dwell time, since this depends strongly on the content of the page as well as the type of platform. A user who only wants to read a 5-line definition of a term and thus gets his answer will naturally leave a website faster than a user who reads an extensive, page-long advice article in a blog. In general, however, the dwell time on social media platforms is significantly higher than on other websites. Session duration can also vary greatly from industry to industry.
In most cases, users arrive at a website through a search query, e.g. on Google. Accordingly, they have the expectation that their query will be answered there as quickly and specifically as possible. Therefore, the content of a website should be optimized to provide the user with the answer to his question as quickly as possible and without inconvenience.
Not only relevant content of the content is important, but also a reader-friendly structuring – e.g. through subheadings, short paragraphs and the use of images. Integrated videos additionally loosen up the content and help to increase the duration of the session.
In addition, the teased information of the title and descriptions, which should attract users to the page via the SERP snippets, should also be handled in the content of the page.
The website structure should also be kept as clear as possible in order not to confuse the user and to offer him a comprehensible and simple navigation. In addition, further, topic-relevant content can keep the visitor on the page longer.
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