We all want a higher average session duration because it sends positive signals to Google. However, we are also aware that people want quick information. As such, we do not want to flood our blogs with content that does not add value.
So, what methods must you employ to increase this metric? Today, I will show you several tips on optimizing your website for a higher average session duration. In the end, I want you to pick several of them and apply them as soon as you can.
1. Add a video somewhere in your blog
A video captures attention like no other. What it does is t make a person stay longer because he has to watch something. There is a demand for video, and according to Statista, 27% of people surveyed watch more than 10 hours of video per week.
If you think about it, you can add 2-minute videos in each of your blog posts. And if readers spend just half the time in the video, that is a guaranteed one minute in your average session duration.
So, where are you going to get the videos? Should you create a video on your own?
No, what I suggest is that you embed videos on your blog post from YouTube. Search YouTube for a video relevant to your topic, and then embed that on your blog post.
If the person plays that video, the browser will not take the person to the YouTube app, so do not worry about losing that person from your page.
Here is an example:
In one of my blog posts about optimizing home page SEO, I have a video from Brian Dean, one of the leading SEO experts. I took this video from his YouTube channel and embedded it on my site.
Is this allowed?
Generally speaking, yes. YouTubers do not mind because you are still giving them views. Some, however, do not like their videos shown somewhere else. If they ask you to take it down, do it.
2. Create long-form content that matters
On some occasions, long-form content is not a good idea. I am saying this because on some occasions, I came across blog posts that contain irrelevant content to the information I am looking for.
However, there are some ways that you can write long articles without boring your readers. In fact, some of these articles are better if they are longer.
Here are some examples:
- 101 Ways to Cook Halibut
- 75 Ways to Save Money
- Top 40 Tips on How to Make Money Online
As you can see, most of these are tip-driven materials. You have people who would devour these tips because they need them. What this means for you is a higher average session duration.
3. Link your content to other pages on your website
My third tip is to link content to some of your web pages. In fact, this should be a standard. Let me explain why.
A session in Google’s eyes refers to a person’s entire period on your site without leaving your website. Therefore, one person can read one of your blogs for two minutes and then another for five minutes, totaling seven minutes.
For as long as that person reads the two blog posts while he is on your website. That counts as a session.
So, what you want is to make sure people stay by showing them the way to your other blog posts. Some people call this customer journey in which one experience leads to another.
Take a look at this:
The screenshot shows a blog where, at the bottom, of the article, is a list of other blog posts that a reader may be interested in. You can do the same. It is up to you to put the “suggested reading” area somewhere in the middle of the blog or at the bottom.
You can also put internal links in the content. For example, in my first tip, I mentioned something about optimizing the home page. One phrase is hyperlinked to one of my blog posts.
4. Make your content easy to read
There is a big difference between writing content for the internet and those who love reading novels. It is okay to write in big chunks of text in novels, but not for internet content.
Internet readers leave web pages with big chunks of text because they are hard to read and understand. What you want is to write in a manner that is easy to skim.
Here are some of my tips on how to do this:
- Write in short sentences
- Keep paragraphs to a maximum of three sentences
- Use bullet points
- Use images where applicable
This tip may sound counterproductive. One can argue that a person will stay longer if the article is more difficult to read. After all, a reader may return to previous sentences, which means a longer session duration, right?
People will not do that. They will close their browsers and do another search. And if they remember your domain name, they will not bother coming back to your website.
Split your content into chunks. Use sub-headings that people can skim through, like what I do here. As you can see, I am writing the five tips under different headings instead of just one long block of text.
5. Create engagement triggers
The last tip I have for you on optimizing your website for a higher average session duration is to add triggers for engagement.
What are these?
These are activities that your readers can do while reading. Here are some examples:
- Adding quizzes
- Embedding a mini-game
- Asking them to participate in a survey
- Adding question or comment boxes
There are many apps or plug-ins you can use to do this. Most of these are free, and you can install them in a CMS like WordPress.
You see, a 15-item quiz can do so much for your average session duration. If there is one thing that we can learn from this, people love to participate in activities. All it takes is for you to give them the means to do it.
My take is that you ask them to participate in a survey. Not only will you increase the average session duration, but you will also get ideas from your audience. A survey allows you to get the “pulse of your readers and understand what kind of content they need.
Summary: How to Optimize Your Website for a Higher Average Session Duration
There is a word of caution that I want to put out there. Not all websites need a higher average session duration. If you are operating a weather website, people only need to know what the forecasted weather is, so you do not have to expect long sessions.
Average session duration is a great metric for blogs and affiliate marketers who want their readers to absorb information. It sends a positive signal to Google that you provide great content, and Google is likely to bump your position up in the SERPs.
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