Dwell time is a metric that refers to the amount of time that passes between the moment a user clicks on a link in a SERP to the moment they go back to the SERP page.
It is a common practice in online navigation for a user to focus their attention between sessions looking at search results, making dwell time an important SEO metric.
Search engines place a lot of importance into the duration of these sessions. After all, the time spent by a user on a site consuming its content can be directly linked to the value the user found there.
Alongside Bounce Rates and Time on Page, dwell time is often cited as an important metric in many optimization strategies.
Dwell time and Google
There’s some debate among many SEOs about the extent of the importance Google places on this metric. On their end, Google has neither confirmed nor denied any ascribed importance to dwell time.
However, there have been instances where Google employees suggest its relevance. Mainly by how they are training their machine-learning algorithm – RankBrain – to pay attention to when a user clicks on a page, remains there, and when they go back.
Improving Dwell Time
Being relevant to many SEOs, there are several common practices believed to improve dwell times:
• Optimizing previews for content.
• Embedding video.
• Writing longer content.
• Enabling community features like comments.
• Improving page load speeds.
• Separating content in sections.
• Mobile optimization.