March 2, 2020

Dwell Time - What Is It ?

This blog post solves 3 purposes - introduce you to dwell time, tell you why we are talking about it and give some reading materials to follow up on this. I'll try to keep this post as short as I can.


  • Dwell Time : Time spent on site after visiting from an SERP result before going back to SERP results. In easier words, when you make a search and click on a result, the time you spend on the website before going back to the search results is called dwell time. 
  • Bounce rate : Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions. 

The definitions of these metrics are straightforward. However, these metrics signify a lot more than just some vanity metrics like likes and views.

David Zheng from The Crazy Egg has dubbed a famous rule - "The 15 second rule”. Most users stick around for less than 15 seconds when they visit the website. In that time, the site needs to capture the interest of the visitor or he is lost. 

This is what dwell time measures. Dwell time wins where bounce rate fails. If a visitor comes on the website from a search result, reads the page for 15min and then goes back to the search results, it is still counted as a bounced visit. However, that visit was a success from the point of view of a search engine or the webmaster.

Dwell time can be called the measurement of quality of a web page. Or as Neil Patel says - 

Quantitative attempt to measure the quality of a page/website.

Neil Patel

The reason we have been talking about dwell time is because that is what we intend to increase through our newsfeeds on websites. Fresh content on websites/apps which resonates with the visitors keeps them on the site and gives you more time to convert them. Although, Google hasn't confirmed it, but it is widely accepted in the SEO community that search engines measure and use dwell rate as a metric.

Let’s keep this one short. 

I’m listing some good sources here. Go through them if you would like to read more about these metrics.

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