It is simply the amount of time someone spends on a website between clicking on a link on the Google Search Results Page (SERP) and returning back to the SERP. For example if you search for Web Design Brisbane, click on one of the results that Google give you and then hit the back button after five seconds, your Dwell Time is five seconds. For a more in depth analysis of what Dwell Time there’s a great post on the excellent WordStream website here.
On the face of it Dwell Time might sound very similar to Session Duration (how long people stay on your site) or even Bounce Rate (how many people leave your site without exploring other pages on it) but it is different in one crucial aspect: it specifically measures the time taken to check out a website and return to Google to check out another.
The reason that this difference is crucial and why Dwell Time is so important is that it is a very clear indicator of how relevent a website is to a person’s particular search. If we use our example again and imagine that you’ve searched for Web Design Brisbane and then you only spend five seconds on the site before returning to find another site, this must mean that the first site you visited was very clearly not relevant to you search or in some other way off putting. Why else would you go back to the well for another? If your website has a low Dwell Time you need to figure out why. Is the content relevant? Is the design unappealing? Does the site takes ages to load? These could all be factors in giving you a low score.
Wait, There’s More
And here is the double-whammy: not only is Dwell Time a great indicator of how engaging your website’s content is but it is also Google ranking factor. If you have a low Dwell Time score it can adversely affect your website’s position on the SERP.
The only problem with all this is that it is not easy to see what your website’s Dwell Time score actually is. You could drill down into Google Analytics and get pretty close but it’s only Google themselves that really know!
So the quick takeaway from all this is simple: make sure people stay on your website and interact with it – engage, inform, delight and deliver. You’re get more enquiries and your Google ranking will rise.