Most folks who own or work on a website know that increasing traffic to your website increasing your page views are important, but not everyone considers the time on page metric when it comes to analytics. Time on page is like a bounce rate; it can give you insight into whether you’re attracting the right type of website traffic. Sometimes a visitor realizes that the page isn’t what they’re looking for and leaves the site immediately. Time on the page lets you know if your content is relevant to readers. It and bounce rate are perhaps the most telling metrics when it comes to user experience. Let’s dive deeper into the time-on-page metric.
Measuring the Length of a Visit
This metric comes from Google Analytics and is defined as the average amount of time a user spends viewing a page or set of pages. Depending on your website’s design and layout, this may be the amount of time that a user spends reading the content of a page. You should set your expectations to differ depending on the type of page it is. Users should spend more time on a lengthy and informative blog than they would on a landing page with a clear call to action. Both of these pages are valuable, but you’d expect the blog to hold readers on the page for longer.
My Time on Page is Too Short
As we briefly mentioned early, a very short time on a page can indicate that the page is irrelevant to the search query that it’s ranking for. It’s great to have a page rank well, but a short time on page and bounces won’t have it at the top of SERPs for long. To tell if your time on page for a specific page is too short, examine the content, is it a long authoritative article or a chart comparing products/services that can be consumed in seconds? Is this page converting well or leading to conversions on your website? The bounce rate will help give you insight into this. If your time on the page is low and you aren’t getting the results you need, consider some UX improvements to the page like video or eye-catching graphics. Increasing site speed is another great way to improve user experience.
Users are Spending too Long on a Page
In some cases, your website users are spending lots of time on your website, reading content, watching videos, and looking at photos. But if they aren’t calling you, buying something, etc. then there are likely some glaring issues. Make the page’s intention clear if the bounce rate (exiting after 1-page view) is high. If a user spends a lot of time on the page without converting, they may be confused about your products or services. Consider adding an FAQ page or clear contact information in the event that users do have questions.
Time on-page is just one of many important metrics for website owners. It gives you further insight into how users behave with your website.
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