Using Dwell Time in AdWords

In SEO and in AdWords, one of the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that Google uses to determine your SEO ranking and your Ad’s Quality Score is the average time on site. This is also called ‘Dwell Time’ or ‘Hang Time’.

The idea is that if a potential customer is engaged with your content, they will spend a long time on your site reading, possibly making a purchase, or engaging in another way. However, what if your content is designed to deliver a quick piece of info? What if you are a hospital offering emergency care and people just want to get the phone number and address?

Or you are a sushi takeout joint where your customers have memorized your menu and they just want to do a quick lookup to double check the specials and click to call. Your customers are not going to spend a lot of time on-site. But they are still converting. They can check you still accept Aetna or you still have the Spider Roll 2-for-1 Special in less than 3 seconds. Information in hand, the call is made and the transaction is done as far as Google is concerned.

In Quality Scores I have seen with healthcare clients and in  Wordstream‘s latest analysis, Google is still heavily weighing how much time people spend on-site. We focus primarily on CTR, conversion rate, and cost/conversion in our PPC work. We also factor in on-site time for specific pages where ‘learn more’ is the goal. For the pages where our goal is for customers to get in and out fast, on-site time is a consideration, but it is not a primary KPI.


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