The magical mystery of what actually makes up Google’s Search algorithm (how Google decides to rank its search results) is something that we at Pitstop are always working on unravelling.

There are many – some say 200 – different pieces to the algorithm, each with varying importance. Where the algorithm is at (hummingbird, panda, etc.) – or which way the wind is blowing (when we are feeling more cynical) are deciding factors as to what Google is favouring today.

Dwell time is one piece that is always important – not only for the search algorithm, but also for you – it is a huge pointer to your website usability rating.

Dwell time is the time between a user clicking on a search result and then coming back to that list of search results in the search engine.

If the dwell time is low (less than 2 seconds), it means that the search result did not satisfy the user’s request. If the dwell time is high – (let’s say over two minutes), it shows that the search result did satisfy the searcher.

Searcher satisfaction is incredibly important – to you and to Google.

For you it gives an indication of website usability. If dwell time is low, maybe your content was relevant but the searcher immediately didn’t like what they saw, or they couldn’t see the relevancy immediately.

For Google, long dwell time , is an indication that the searcher has found the answer to their query – and therefore your page is not only relevant, it is also useful (tick and tick).

Key steps:

Refine your search queries. Review and define clearly which search queries you are focusing on and ensure your content answers to these.

Understand your rankings of the search queries that are important to you – are they as high as they should be? Is it time for a more focused SEO strategy?

Review your analytics – how long are users spending on landing pages? How long are users spending on landing pages after a search query?

Refine the content. Look at the pages with a low dwell time – what do you need to improve? What pages have long dwell times and why? Can you replicate this?

As always this process is not Set and Forget. Continue to review your rankings, dwell time and content regularly.

If you have further questions or would like some assistance with improving your dwell times, send us an email at and we’ll be happy to help.