Today on the radio show we’re discussing Time On Site.
The general thought is that the longer a visitor stays on your site, the more apt you’ll be to have them click the thing you want them to click. That “Call to Action” might be a purchase of something, a signup to a newsletter and so on. I wrote about two different kinds of calls to action, “The Clicks that Count”. That makes sense, right?
Did you know Time On Site is also a factor in your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
Search engines will track the visitors they send you. That’s right! In an effort to constantly improve, a search engine looks at the time you spend on the site it sent you to before returning back to the SERP (search engine results page).
Example: John Doe searches Google for <your keywords>. Lucky for you, your site shows on the first page of Google! (yay for wordpress) and John Doe clicks on your link. Google is now watching John and that’s a good thing. Google is watching to see if and when John returns. The thought is that if they sent John to a low quality page, something he wasn’t looking for, he’ll turn around quickly. If they sent him to a high quality page with content he was looking for – he’ll stay a while. They (search engines) interpret this time on site data. Google’s wants to ensure the users search query returns the best possible result, tracking Time On Site is their way of knowing just how well they did.
Moral of the Story: Keep people on your site longer and Google will award you with higher rankings for those keywords. Conversely, have a low Time On Site and you’ll drop for those same keywords.
It seems simple right? But how do you do it?
Words. Obviously the longer a post is the longer people take to read it. That would be the end of the story except we’ve become experts at skimming. We skim a post looking for what we’re looking for. Knowing this you need to set hooks for the skimmers. Things to catch their eye like keywords, highlights, words in bold, bullet points and lists. Pictures also catch the eye and slow people down. Remember how to add pictures to your site?
Quality Content. It’s not just the number of words, it’s the quality of the message. Is it even on topic?
Case in Point: I once wrote a post about how OctoMom really didn’t need a website. It had little to do with her and concentrated on how most everyone else did need a website. It attracted a huge number of hits many of which were not at all interested in the content of the post (they were looking for juicy OctoMom details). Time On Site for that post was way way low. My Bad.
Time On Site: My SECRET WEAPON
Did you miss it? I put it right at the top. Video. Yeah, it’s just that simple. When you add video to a post it naturally slows people down. Some people are just visual in nature. I know I am. Instead of reading all those words I’ll often hit the play button and watch/listen. While I’m listening I might also poke around the website. That’s a good thing too because you had all those other calls to action you wanted me to click on, right?
He's an avid hockey fan, rides a mountain bike, sometimes rides a road bike, has a few motorcycles (he had a really fast one, bought a cool orange one, rode a really slow one, and wants a really small one). If that isn't enough, he makes cheese and sourdough bread, loves strong beer and good red wine, and poorly plays the Mandolin.