Connect with us

Social Media

Dwell time: the new make or break SEO metric?

As Google updates their algorithm, experts and newbies alike are thrown into the deep end, left to figure out what terms are the most critical.



search engine optimization and google penguin

search engine optimization and google penguin

Dwell time and your website

It is well known that Google constantly grooms their algorithm to provide what they deem the most relevant search results possible, in their endless quest to think like a human brain. In February 2011, a batch of updates, known as Google Panda launched, which sought to punish content scrapers and bring high quality results to the top. In April 2012, Google Penguin rolled out, seeking to get rid of websites using black hat SEO, or that use link schemes, and the like, again to push legitimate sites to the top of search rankings.

With the new algorithm changes, however, remains quite a bit of mystery, and vague new terminology is coming to the surface, leaving small businesses in a lurch who can barely decipher whether or not they should be on Twitter, or if their neighbor’s son who set up their website in 2001 is the right person to handle their online presence. The Google algorithm has gotten more complex and is a living organism that continually evolves, making real experts in SEO stand out from the crowd.

One such vague term: dwell time

“Dwell time” is one term being tossed around, which typically refers to a quality signal for Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) services, but many are now saying this is a consideration being included in Google’s Panda algorithm.

NetMagazine notes that, “In a nutshell, dwell time (and specifically dwell time relevant to organic search) is a signal that averages the amount of time spent on a page after click-through in results. The longer the searcher spends on site, the more relevant that site appears to Google.”

Kate Morris, Lead SEO Consultant at international strategic marketing agency, Distilled said that dwell time is an untested theory, and that “No one has yet to prove that it is a factor and Google has not said it is. Neither has Bing for that matter.”

Morris continued, “What I do know is that much of Panda was based off of user experience testing. Asking people how they feel about a site and if it’s trust worthy. In my professional opinion, the “dwell time” is a factor or is going to be but like bounce rate there won’t be hard numbers. It’s not something people can track to bring down, unless the engines give us that data as webmasters and that is possible but not probable right now.”

Ben Fisher says that dwell time is “definitely a real part of the algorithm, albeit a small part. Panda was about signals to google the page deserves to rank high, so content above the fold, dwell time, bounce rate, etc were all accounted for or targeted moreso than before (among other things).”

Not confirmed, still relevant

Jeff Bernheisel, Project Manager at 1000WattConsulting echoes Morris’ sentiment that Google has never confirmed dwell time as “a solid part of their algorithm but have alluded to it many times saying they want a better ‘user experience.’ User experience can be achieved through good design – ie getting a person to click through at least once which in effect reduces your bounce rate OR by things like including video which increases time on site averages (usually).”

Despite not being a confirmed part of the Google Panda algorithm, Bernheisel notes, “I have had sites with a 6 page view average, and 3+ minute time on site where I’ve had to do WAY less “off page” SEO work (building back links) than my other sites with less page view and time in site average so I think that legitimately backs up their claims.”

How to improve your site’s dwell time

NetMagazine says, “In a nutshell, dwell techniques mean creating and utilising content on category, sub-category and other important pages throughout the build, which encourage users to read over or interact with the page and refrain from bouncing. Explaining a brand’s USP using a slideshow or 30-second video clip makes the information easily digestible and keeps them engaged for the time it takes to reach the end. From a search perspective, this content has resulted in a longer time on site, which means a better signal to Google.”

Morris encourages webmasters to continue working on usability and conversion rates. “Using things like Content Experiments through Google Analytics or other A/B testing software can help. Even click trackers like Crazy Egg help webmasters understand user patterns on the site. Also, webmasters should also ensure that no matter what platform they are on, that conversion tracking is set up and working correctly. Knowing how site conversion is over time can provide good insight as to how users feel about a site.”

“The simplest way to do any kind of user testing is still buying pizza and getting some friends to ask their friends who don’t know the site to come over and give feedback,” Morris notes. “This doesn’t have to be scientific. You just need feedback on if people are getting the information, products, and services they need from a site and if it’s easy to find.”

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

Continue Reading


  1. Jeff Brown

    July 10, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    In other words, if the content doesn’t suck, people will stay and read it? 

  2. Aaron ron

    August 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Good post, thanks for sharing it

  3. ghostwriter

    August 23, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Very Informative Post, Thanks for your great work.

  4. Pingback: Big SEO news: How to find out if your site will be penalized - AGBeat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.



Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

Continue Reading

Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.



Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?


Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

Continue Reading

Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.



social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

Continue Reading

Our Great Partners

American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!