Google Analytics is a powerful tool that provides website owners with insights into how people are using their site. One of the metrics that Google Analytics tracks is “time on page,” which tells you how long people are spending on your pages. But what does this metric mean, and what can you do to make sure people are spending more time on your site?
In this post, we’ll explain what Google Analytics time on page is and how to use it to improve your website’s performance.
What Google Analytics Time On Page Means
First of all, what does “time on page” mean? Google Analytics measures time on page as how much time is spent per page. So if someone spends five minutes reading a single blog post, that’s one time on page. If they spend fifteen minutes on the same post and move onto your site’s main landing pages, Google Analytics will count that as two times on pages.
The average time on page starts with a big advantage: more than 50% of Google Analytics data is from mobile devices, which makes this metric especially important for websites that have a large mobile presence.
If someone is spending all their browsing time in a single Google Analytics session on your mobile site, Google Analytics won’t be able to track the time after they leave. As such, time on page is a much more accurate measure of how engaged your audience really is with your content.
What Does the “Time” Include?
Google Analytics doesn’t actually calculate search time and social time separately from other types of browser activity. Time will include all session durations — searching, clicking on a YouTube video or Google Maps link, viewing a map, and reading articles.
So if someone spends two minutes searching for something related to your company’s products and then reads an article about one of those products for twenty minutes, Google Analytics will only count the latter period in time on page. This means that if you have a lot of people searching for information on your site, Google Analytics might underestimate your average time on page.
The Significance of Google Analytics Average Time On Page
Why do we track Google Analytics time on page in the first place? The answer is simple: it’s one of several factors that determine how well a website is performing. For example, Google found that people who visit sites with longer times on pages are more likely to become paying customers, and chances are good that they also spend more money than someone who visits for a shorter period of time.
You can see these results yourself by looking at Google Analytics data. You’ll find that the top 25% of websites have an average session duration that’s almost twice as long as the bottom 25% (9 minutes compared to 4 minutes).
Factors That Affect Time On Page
The average time on page is affected by several factors, including the design of your site, the quality of your content, and how well you’re targeting keywords.
For example, clients with longer time on page numbers have lower bounce rates, or the percentage of site visits where readers only see one page and then decide to leave. When users are presented with more relevant keywords and images and welcomed with a positive page experience, the average time on page increases.
Who’s Affected By Time On Page?
To make it easier to figure out where time on page is coming from, Google Analytics divides your data into two categories: direct and non-direct.
Direct traffic includes visits from people typing in a website URL, copying a URL to their browser’s Google Analytics bar, or clicking on a bookmark. Non-direct is everything else — that might be your discovery-based searches, paid Google ads, or referrals from social media sites like Twitter and other blogs.
Non-direct traffic often has much lower time on page values, which makes sense. If someone clicks on an ad or Google search result and moves on without engaging with the site in any way, Google Analytics won’t count that as a visit.
It also means that you should be focusing on non-direct traffic when trying to increase your average time on page. This isn’t necessarily true for all types of businesses — if you’re a dentist, it might actually be better for Google Analytics to measure time on page for people who type your URL into Google or bookmark it.
How To Find Time On Page in Google Analytics
Time on page is relatively easy to find once you know where to look. Simply log into Google Analytics and go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
This report will show you the average session durations, the average time on page, and the percentage of people who spend at least five seconds on each one. You can also see how these values compare to similar pages on your website. For example, if you want to know whether Product A is keeping visitors on your site longer than Product B, you can compare the average session duration for each one.
You can also check out which pages are bringing in referrals and how long visitors spend on those pages. This can be especially helpful if you’re trying to decide where to increase your ad budget or search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. For example, if you notice that visitors spend very little time on your “about” page, you might want to consider adding keywords and switching up the design.
How To Improve Your Site’s Google Analytics Time On Page Values
The best way to improve your site’s time on page numbers is simple: make sure that your site is relevant and valuable to visitors. This means testing everything from your keywords (which Google will track automatically) to the length of time you spend on each page.
Check Top Ranking Search Results
While there’s no general rule for how long a webpage should be, you might want to start by taking a look at what’s currently ranking high in Google search results. This can help you determine whether or not most users would expect a particular content format.
If people in your industry typically expect high-resolution screenshots, lengthy articles with multiple sections and sidebars, or video tutorials about new features, you can use this data to help understand how to format your content.
Make Page or Site Improvements
On the other hand, the tool might show you that people are leaving after only a few seconds. If this is happening, Google can make recommendations for improving your site’s user experience. You might want to move the keyword-rich pages to different sections of your website, add new content similar to these pages, or reduce how many times keywords appear on these.
The average time on page tends to be higher for websites that target long-tail keywords with lots of information, video tutorials, and other engaging content. If you test your current content against these standards, Google Analytics can begin giving you better recommendations about what to improve without requiring extensive site overhauls.
Need Help Improving Your Site’s Time On Page And SEO? Call Markitors!
If you are interested in knowing your website’s performance on Google Analytics and are ready to improve your time on page, Markitors can help. We specialize in marketing tactics for organic SEO, and we can help you to improve your site’s conversions. We will work with you to develop a digital marketing plan that is right for your business and goals.
Contact Markitors today to get started on the path to better time on page.