Time on Site

The Importance of Time on Site

Time on site, session duration or simply retention time. Whichever term you use, one thing remains the same: it is important. The time that a user spends on your site is recorded by tools such as Google Analytics and, the longer the time on site, it is rated positively – and rewarded with a better […]

Time on site, session duration or simply retention time. Whichever term you use, one thing remains the same: it is important. The time that a user spends on your site is recorded by tools such as Google Analytics and, the longer the time on site, it is rated positively – and rewarded with a better organic ranking.
Why is that exactly? And why should you increase the time spent on your pages?
But above all: how?

What does time on site mean?

It describes how long a visitor stayed on a page or the entire domain.
In order to calculate it, the Time on Page is first needed. This means the duration of one visit at a respective page (URL) of the domain. This value is added and divided by the numbers of URL belonging to the domain.
The average length of stay ( Average Session Duration ) is obtained from the sum of all sessions in seconds. This number is divided by the frequency of the sessions, so that Google Analytics can rate the quality of the page . The ranking is based on the rating.

What does the length of stay state?

Google likes to see a visitor staying on a page for a long time. Apparently the visitor gets what he wants here, is well informed and / or entertained. Good quality is derived from this.
A short time on site has a correspondingly negative effect. If the bounce rate – the frequency, with which users leave the site after only a few seconds – is increased, quality will be denied.
Simply put:
Long stay = good side; short stay = bad side.

Some reasons for a short time on site

  • Wrong keywords: E.g. “bird feeder” is set up, but the user encounters a provider for dog houses.
  • The loading times are too long.
  • The page is very confusing.
  • Technical errors affect the appearance and function of the page.
  • The visitor receives a security warning because the SSL certificate has expired.

What makes time on site so important?

Google rewards a long time on site with a better organic ranking. For you, this means that you do not have to invest money in ads to make the leap to the top results, once the user has entered the relevant search term.
Correspondingly, companies are doing a lot to increase their time on site. The best ranking sites keep their visitors on average around 3 minutes and 10 seconds .
There is also a very practical reason: a user who feels entertained and / or well informed converts with greater willingness. He will also recommend you to others. This brings more traffic, which Google also sees as a quality feature. With the appropriate length of stay, your site will continue to rank higher – and the conversions will increase.

Look out!!

Increasing the time on site is not automatically a win for every company! Or even makes sense. In addition, the length of stay does not, of course, fully state the quality of a domain.
Visitors can also stay long on a page that is confusing and difficult to navigate. But since they need important information from there, they endure the frustration.
Again, for example, a provider who releases information about opening- or departure times will naturally not have long sessions. On the contrary: the brevity speaks for high page quality.

Fortunately, Google knows that too. Therefore, additional parameters are used to evaluate the ranking of a page more precisely.

You should therefore always rethink the nature of your company, your offer and thus your online presence first.

How to extend the length of stay?

In short: counteract the reasons already mentioned above causing a high bounce rate.
And you should keep doing that.

The classical “time on site enhancer”: videos

Even if you are reading here: the average user doesn’t like doing this too much. If he wants information, he prefers to choose it as a video. Studies have proven its great – and above all increasing – popularity .
So be sure to include explanatory or promotional videos. Especially to present more complex products.

Offer quality content

Of course, the visitor also wants to read. But only exciting, informative, understandable and error-free texts. Reading on a screen can quickly become exhausting. So structure well, choose clear colors and check for clarity.

Pay attention to the mobile presentation

Adapt the mobile presentation of your site to the respective device. More and more users are accessing pages via mobile . If they find distorted or cut off views there, they don’t give the desktop version a chance either.
Set a high value on Accessibility .

Keep your website up to date

The viewing habits of modern users have changed. Anyone who comes to a page wants to find it clear, tidy, intuitive and, if they are mobile, responsive. The resulting, good UX, immediately increases the time on site.


CTA increases the time on site, because the visitor feels that he has been picked up. Means, you should offer him support with meaningful call-to-action. You can thus make a purchase easier, conclude an appointment, register on the page / to the newsletter / to subscribe to Push messages etc.


The means to increase the length of stay are often very simple. However, they can be complex to implement, for example with a glance on shortening loading times or building a responsive design.
But you will find: all the effort is worth it. Google Analytics rewards with a better ranking, which brings more traffic – and thus more conversions.
You can actively accelerate this process. Bring visitors to your site with push notifications. Inform about your new content, invite to your page.
How exactly is it going? Talk to us, we will be happy to support you with your strategy .

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