Adnan123 asked
Member (7 upvotes)

Is Dwell Time an SEO ranking factor?

With Google (Chrome) & Bing (IE / Edge) controlling the biggest and most used browsers, they could easily monitor dwell time for a lot of queries. 

Surely this is a signal of quality, because if a user presses the back button frequently on said result, surely this means the website isn't fulfilling the user's needs?

Avatar for member tstolber
Moderator (88 upvotes)

It is / can be.

I (and I think some others here) participated in a closed test on dwell time alone and it did have a positive impact across the board on rankings with the site in question.

There are also services like SERPS clicks which actively resell this type of user pattern. I don't advise it.

It does work though.

Manipulation of this will be caught and cracked down upon like every other abused SEO tactic.

The simpler solution is to produce a great site and content with  great UX and then you get all the user performance metrics thrown in with it!

Good advice?
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Avatar for member Chedders
Moderator (163 upvotes)

The problem here is not all sites are equal. What is considered bounce on some sites would be perfectly ok on a different site.

Take for example a site that told you the time in New York, you would visit the site, get the information you need then either close the browser or move on. On a second site, it could be about the science of a black hole and requires you to read its contents to satisfy the reader to the same level as the first example. The 2 time periods on these 2 examples would be wildly different but I agree they are about 2 different topics. 

What Google could do is work out the average dwell time for each site and compare against similar sites so if a user is above or below that level then count it as a hit or a miss for the search they did.

I, however, have never seen any evidence that gaining a longer dwell time improves your ranking. I am not saying it won't help but if it is a ranking signal then its very low on the priorities. 

Good advice?
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Avatar for member KnowOneSpecial
Moderator (50 upvotes)

First let's examine how Google measures dwell time.

Google states that it doesn't use Analytics to measure dwell time and use that info in it's ranking algorithms.

I believe them, so how does Google get this information?  It is harvested by all of us users that use Chrome.  That's right Chrome reports this data to Google, ( you accepted this arrangement in the TOS when you installed Chrome).  80 % of 3.5 billion users use chrome every day.  That is a lot of data to collect and not use... hummm

Google also states that they don't use CTR, Dwell Time as live ranking signals.  I believe them too !

Now that is as far as I trust Google.

What I do know is this.  John Mueller has openly stated at BrightonSeo.

"Its nice to have those 10 blue links " why did he state this you wonder ?

He then later said, ( not his exact words, but you can look up the transcript yourself )
If after analyzing a few million clicks, ( Google actually gets 226,000,000 clicks an hour btw ) we will adjust the the rankings, for instance if we notice that #3 gets more clicks than #1 we will adjust the rankings.

Google does use CTR, Dwell Time and other user engagement signals to adjust their algorithms.  We have all seen Google get it wrong in the serps then adjust the algos.  They call it quality control.

Why else would Google go so far as to...... › patent

US20150058113A1 - Dwell time based advertising - Google ...

Info: Patent citations (13); Cited by (3); Legal events; Similar documents; Priority ... Methods and systems for determining dwell time are provided with reference to ... 2C , a web page is shown having swappable advertisements, in accordance ... › patent

US20130267253A1 - Trigger zones and dwell time analytics ...

The dwell time trigger zone can include trigger zone data corresponding to ... The present non-provisional U.S. patent application claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. ... In summary, user no longer have to launch their favorite department store ... US20130184009A1 * 2012-01-15 2013-07-18 Google Inc. Providing hotspots to ...
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Avatar for member nikitacod
Banned (-5 upvotes)

Right now, there’s no official statement from Google on whether dwell time> is, or isn’t, a ranking factor.

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