Dwell time optimization refers to techniques to make your site visitor stay. It is important because Google, as an engine, calculates the average number of minutes your site visitors spend on your website. If they stay longer, the Google algorithm would naturally think that you are providing useful content, and therefore rank your website higher in search results.
But what can you do to make this happen? Here are some tips on how to keep visitors on your website longer:
- Write long and helpful content
- Create a simple navigation system
- Add photos to your posts
- Avoid too many ads
- Use the right design
- Interlink your pages
Let us take a look at each one and see how you can put them to practice.
Write Long and Helpful Content
Long content does not mean you have to fill it up with fluff. Your content must answer the specific question that brought the reader to your website, and then also elaborate on that.
One common error that bloggers do is that they put too much irrelevant sub-headings on their posts. By the time the reader reaches the second headline, he quits and exits out of the page.
If your headline says “how to build a simple dining table step by step,” then, by all means, the reader must get to these steps right away. It does not make sense writing about table models or the kinds of wood, as these are not the reasons the reader came to you.
Long posts do not have to be drawn out. As much as possible, each paragraph should add value. If you are telling a reader how to drive nails, you may as well as add measurements where to drive them, or tell the reader how long the nails should be.
Content quality is what makes people stay. This does not mean to say that you have to write a 3,000-word post for each subject. If it only requires 500 words, then go for it, and then use the other techniques below.
Create a Simple Navigation System
Great content is just the beginning. A site visitor found your website and decided to give it a try because your content is seemingly good. If it is, the natural tendency of the reader is to be amazed and look for more information.
The thing is, a site visitor does not know how to find information from your website, and this is how your navigation panel comes into play.
Your menu should be visible. There are only three placements for the menu—top, bottom, and left sidebar.
The top menu should deliver a clear message of what that category or area is about. If you go to a restaurant, a specific part of the menu may be labeled as “chicken.” A consumer will navigate to that area if he is looking for chicken.
The same principle applies to websites. If a menu reads “woodworking plans,” a reader who found his way to your blog post, “how to build a simple dining table step by step,” will naturally click on “woodworking plans” to check out what you have to offer.
But if that menu selection is not there, how would he know?
Add Photos to Your Posts
Photos are great if used the right way. They occupy white spaces on your website and make the reading much more memorable. However, be wary as too many photos make your content difficult to read.
Photos are best used if you are trying to demonstrate something. In our example, it makes sense to show a photo of the wood on each step. Readers would love that, and spend some time analyzing what the photo is about.
Do not use photos just for the sake of putting them in there. If you are writing about step by step instructions on how to create a website, screenshots that highlight what to click are great photos that would complement your how-to article.
Avoid Too Many Ads
Advertisements are annoying. And this is not just about products that come from Google Adsense or your ad provider, but also your own.
Many bloggers make this mistake. They bombard their pages with ads about self-promotion, like free eBooks, course enrolment, and so much more. While it is not entirely wrong to use email subscription strategies, it has to be done right.
If you ask for an email address, one pop-up should be enough. Multiple offers will drive your customers away because instead of getting value, they feel like they are being forced to register to your email list.
Another thing that many bloggers do that you shouldn’t is they try to hide the exit or “X” button from the email subscription pop-up. If you want your site visitor to go away, then use that strategy by all means.
But if you want them to stay, give your site visitors a clear opt-out button.
Use the Right Design
The right design for a blog is to show content. In this age, minimalism with sophistication is what makes the customer stay on your website. If you have ever seen Craigslist, you know that the website’s design has not been changed since the 1990s.
Would you believe that some bloggers use the same design? Then they ask why people do not stay on their website. That design works for Craigslist because it is a classified ads website. But if you are operating a blog, it is not going to work for you.
When choosing a theme, always think of user experience. The theme should allow for easy navigation, clear spacing between words and photos, and must not have too many unnecessary ad placements.
Your home page must clearly indicate what you do and how you can help your visitor. The blog posts must be shown immediately below your home page slider, and the navigation toolbar must be visible.
Interlink Your Pages
For every blog post, find a way to introduce another blog post that you wrote. You need to do this with style, and not just fill your post with links to your other blog post.
Ask yourself, if a site visitor is reading this particular blog post, what kind of other topics would he be interested in reading?
In our example, “how to build a simple dining table step by step,” it is a great idea to lead the reader to your “woodworking plans” page.
You want to do this near the end of your article, and you need to be clear about it. You cannot just put a link on a phrase, like “different woodworking plans.”
Instead, you will get better results if you say something like: “If you are interested in building dining tables, please visit my Woodworking Plans page to see different design ideas. These plans have measurements, costs, etc.”
Put the link on “woodworking plans.” If you use this approach, a reader knows that he will not go to another website but only your blog.
Dwell time optimization is as equally important as SEO. You can target the SEO as much as you want, but if your posts are not adding value, your site visitors will know and leave your website just as soon as they got there.
And if they do, you would have a high bounce rate, and Google would think that you are not adding value to your readers. And if you are not adding value, Google will naturally rank you lower and lower on the search results until you do not get traffic.
Follow our tips on how to keep visitors on your website longer, and get better results in traffic and ranking as you progress in blogging.