How to Improve Dwell Time on Your Blog Content
SEO-driven bloggers must be strategic when generating traffic to their content. If they aren’t, there’s a high likelihood that personal and commercial blogs will fall through the virtual cracks of Search Engine Results Pages or SERP.
As soon as you publish an article, potential viewers can find your blog post with a single keyword search. So you should do every little thing you can to get an advantage over the competition, like improving the user experience on your blog and optimizing dwell time.
If your article has a lower search engine ranking than the other articles, it will be more difficult for your content to stand out from the masses. Attracting a readership for your blog takes time but also content marketing and optimization.
A necessary part of marketing your content is tracking its success. When examining the data gathered from analytics tools, dwell time is a metric that shouldn’t be overlooked in the slightest.
In his case study, Brian Dean identified that Google RankBrain analyzes dwell time when determining user satisfaction. By rewriting a previously low-ranking article with the intent of improving dwell time, Dean witnessed a boost in rankings from #11 to #5.
If you’re unfamiliar with dwell time, it’s the measurement for how much time visitors spend on your blog. Specifically, this metric starts tracking dwell time the moment visitors select the link to your post and stops when they return to the SERP.
In order to attract more readers and grow your blog’s platform, it’s necessary to understand how and why visitors engage with your blog content. Whether the metric reveals an all-time low or high, this article outlines the best practices for improving dwell time and growing your platform.
Know Your Blog’s Current Dwell Time
The critical first step to improve dwell time is to understand how visitors currently engage with your blog content. Bloggers can locate this data through Google Analytics and, specifically, the average session duration feature.
To measure the dwell time on a certain page, you can set these up as events in your Google Analytics account. The new version of Google Analytics (aka GA4) automatically tracks scroll depth events (90% of the page scrolled). More tech-savvy users can manually create events for tracking time on page with Google Tag Manager too.
When perusing the data sets in Google Analytics, keep in mind that average session duration isn’t the same as the time-on-page metric. The latter tracks how often a visitor moves from one of your blog posts to another, as opposed to moving from SERP to the blog and back to SERP.
If you find yourself asking how much dwell time is good dwell time, you’re not alone.
Some people assume that maximum dwell time is the ultimate goal, but it’s quite the opposite. Extremely high dwell times can actually signal longstanding inactivity, which is why Google Analytics stops gathering dwell time data after 30 minutes pass.
As a general rule, bloggers should aim for a dwell time of about two to three minutes.
Once you know the statistics for your blog’s current standing, you can create a plan for optimizing dwell time.
How to Improve Dwell Time on Your Blog Content
Make Your Content (More) Searchable
Before visitors can actually land on your blog, the content needs to be readily accessible and searchable. This is where optimization comes into play.
Let’s say that you write a comprehensive piece on a topic you’re passionate about. Though the article is well-written and researched, if the topic is too obscure and has a low search rate, it’s less likely that people will come across your article.
With SEO strategies, bloggers optimize their content by discovering what topics and keywords the target audience is searching for on a regular basis. This approach benefits new and experienced bloggers alike by helping them make informed and creative decisions.
If you’re unaware that your target audience is searching for “chill background music,” you miss out on the opportunity to write an article that will receive high engagement. When your goal is to create high ranking blog posts that reach more people, it’s more likely that you will meet this goal if you understand your audience’s preferences.
Give Viewers A Reason To Dwell
Even if you integrate optimized keywords and phrases into your blog content, visitors will notice if the quality is lacking.
You might use all of the right terms, but if the piece closely mimics other articles with the same keywords, this can negatively impact dwell time.
In an analysis of 100 top-performing website pages, the average dwell time on pages without video was between two and three minutes. In contrast, pages with video averaged between seven and eight minutes.
From the moment a visitor lands on your page, there is a limited time window to hook the reader and persuade them to continue reading. This data demonstrates the importance of creating compelling written and visual content.
Your prospective audience is searching for engaging and informative content that stands out from the other available options.
Visitors’ first line of contact with your blog post is the link and meta description on SERP. While the blog title and meta description initially attract visitors, the quality of the content is what convinces visitors to continue investing dwell time on your blog.
The written content hooks readers only if the formatting is right. Take, for instance, an article that caps out at 2,000 words. The piece itself might be thoroughly entertaining, but if it is presented as a single block of text, visitors might be intimidated and decide not to read further.
Organizing your optimized content to be easily digestible and readable works in your favor when improving dwell time.
Use Eye-catching Visuals
Along the lines of formatting, bloggers should consider integrating multimedia content into blog posts. Embedding a relevant video or photo into your blog can help break up the text and increase visitors’ interest in the topic.
As far as visual appearances go, it’s also a necessary step to make sure that the content doesn’t look outdated. To improve the dwell time on recent and previous blog posts, you should revisit these posts and update the content to maintain relevance.
This is especially important when the blog content from years ago shows up in new searches. A visitor’s first impression of one page impacts their engagement with the rest. If the website and written content looks like it has been neglected or outdated, visitors won’t have any incentive to read your other blog posts.
Optimizing Outreach To Increase Dwell Time
The holy grail for engagement is optimization.
When you spend time curating top-quality blog content, visitors respond by spending more dwell time on your pages. Rather than wandering aimlessly in search of content ideas, we recommend integrating SEO marketing tactics into your approach.
With a consistent publishing schedule and attention to your target audience’s interests, you can improve dwell time while also growing your readership. At any point, you can check the status of your blog’s dwell time and make informed decisions about the strategies going forward.
Mackenzie is a copywriter at Soundstripe, a royalty free music company that provides creators and businesses with radio-quality music for video.
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- Improving dwell time
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