Everything You Need To Know About Dwell Time In 2019

Are you having trouble nailing down your top positions in search engines? Is Google having a hard time trying to find a place for your site, jumping from the 1st to the 2nd page of results, and back again? These problems could stem from one simple metric: Dwell Time.

Dwell Time is a measure of how long a user visits your site for. It has become an incremental metric that cannot be taken for granted. So now is the time more than ever to start thinking about how to keep visitors on your site for longer time frames.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the history of Dwell Time, and how it has impacted SEO over the past few years. We will also go over some tips & tricks for optimizing your site for higher dwell times.

Table Of Contents:

Everything you need to know about Dwell Time

What Is The Definition Of Dwell Time?

Dwell Time refers to the amount of time spent in a certain area or position before another action is taken.

What Is The History Of Dwell Time?

The term “Dwell Time” has been around for quite some time. From the transportation to military industries; Dwell Time has been a informational factor in why many decisions are made around the world.

The first instance Dwell Time was introduced in regards to SEO, was done by Duane Forrester at Bing! It is a metric for describing how long a user stays on a web page before returning to SERPs (search engine results pages).

When it comes to SEO, Dwell Time holds a greater importance than it ever has in previous years. Just like bounce rate and the implementation of Google’s AI, RankBrain, Dwell Time has become a metric of great importance to optimizers everywhere.

What Is Dwell Time’s Impact On SEO?

Dwell Time is a metric used to measure how long a user stays on a web page before returning to SERPs. It is one of the fundamental metrics that SEOs everywhere seem to overlook.

By gauging the search intent of users, and comparing that to how long a user stays on a page before returning to the results; Google is able to see if that page is fulfilling the searcher’s needs or not, and will shift rankings based on these findings.

Is Dwell Time The Same As Bounce Rate?

Dwell time commonly gets lumped in with the bounce rate metric which is a mistake.

Bounce rate refers to how many users only visited one page of a particular website divided by all the sessions of the website in total.

So let’s make this clear that Dwell Time is NOT Bounce Rate. They have similar aspects in common but are completely different metrics.

Dwell Time & RankBrain

RankBrain uses historical data to help Google properly place web pages based on new search queries that have never been seen before. It takes information based on user interactions with search results, and not the content itself.

So it can be a common misunderstanding to correlate Dwell Time with RankBrain. Both are highly important but have little to do with one another.

How Do I Increase Dwell Time On My Site?

Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to keep visitors on your site longer. However, if you are providing exceptionally good content with a fantastic user experience – it won’t be long till you see a rise in Dwell Time across your site.

Properly test different areas of your website so that when you create that amazing blog post… your visitors are able to find that post quickly!

Allow them to navigate through your site seamlessly, and reduce any noise that may be drowning out your best articles from truly shining.

Some tips to improving User Experience:

  • Keep your navigation simple and easy to use
  • Do not use full screen sliders if you have important information underneath
  • Avoid using pop-ups on entrance to the website
  • Titles should be large and informative
  • Reduce noise from ads or sidebars
  • Guide the user through the story of your website

Ultimately, Dwell Time is about proper engagement from your audience, and any website owner can get their visitors on their pages for longer with proper strategies in place.

By focusing on other areas of the site, like user experience, can be much more beneficial than solely focusing on Dwell Time.

What Google Thinks

When searchers immediately leave the web page they just visited, it is a clear indicator that their search intent has not been fulfilled. This means the searcher will most likely blame the search engine for this.

By promoting proper user experience, Google can reduce the likelihood that this will happen, and raise user satisfaction overall.

Google wants to give you the best search results in hopes that you will continue to use the search engine in the future. It’s just good business practice!


In this article we went over Dwell Time, and how it can be an important metric for determining whether or not your user experience is in a good state. We went over the history of the term, which metrics are commonly mistaken for Dwell Time, and why you should keep your eye on the metric.

Remember, Google wants its users to be satisfied with the results they are provided with, and Dwell Time is a great way to measure this.

If you require some help improving your user experience so that visitors “dwell” on your site for longer periods of time – shoot us an email or a call today! We would be more than happy to help you achieve your website’s goals.

Liam Abbott

AvatarLiam is a SEO/SEM Specialist & Web Designer from Calgary, Alberta. He maintains a passion for contemporary design and everything search engine related. He is an avid gamer, and enjoys collecting entertainment memorabilia.

If you have questions or inquires for Liam, feel free to contact him by email anytime [email protected]

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