SEO and Website Ranking - Inside Website Traffic Visit Lengths

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has changed somewhat, but it's still a key element in driving website traffic to your site and determining website ranking within the search engines. Simply getting traffic isn’t enough though. Along with getting that traffic, there are other factors that search engines look at when ranking your site. One of those elements is ‘visit lengths.’

According to, visit lengths are considered “the time between when a visitor accesses your first webpage of their visit, and when they access the last.” While this particular measure isn’t 100 percent accurate, it’s pretty close and provides important information about your visitors and what they’re doing.

This information allows you to see “just how much ‘pull’ and ‘interest’ your website is generating for your visitors.” Put simply, the longer a visitor stays, the better standing you’ll have with the search engines.

So, why is this SEO information important?

If you were to check your statistics, chances are the majority of your website traffic is for less than five seconds. Google and the other search engines take note of this. It can be considered that your website or its content isn’t valuable enough to hold that visitor. Your lower rated ‘pull’ and ‘interest,’ will cause a lower website ranking.

As a measuring stick, Statcounter measures ‘visit lengths’ in increments of:

Less than 5 seconds
From 5 seconds to 30 seconds
From 30 seconds to 5 minutes
From 5 minutes to 20 minutes
From 20 minutes to an hours
Longer than an hour

If you can hold a visitor for over 30 seconds you’re doing pretty good. Each increment beyond that demonstrates a rise is your website’s ‘pull’ and ‘interest’ capabilities.

At this point, you may be wondering how you can get website traffic to stay on your site beyond 5 minutes, which will give your website ranking a boost.

Well, how long does it take you to read one article?

If that article is informative, a visitor will want to know what else of value you have on your site. This leads the visitor further and deeper into your site, looking at older titles and reading more articles of interest. I’ve been on sites where I’ve read three or four articles, causing me to go deeper and deeper into those sites.

This is how ‘pull’ and ‘interest’ work. A visitor is pulled in by the informative and interesting content. The easier it is to find additional relevant quality content, the longer you’ll hold that visitor’s attention  . .  and viewing time. This is considered 'deep linking.'

There are three basic and easy ways to hold website traffic’s attention and increase website ranking:

1. Create embedded links (anchor text) within your content. For example: if you have the word ‘marketing’ in your article, link that word to another article on marketing within your site.

2. At the end of your article include three or four additional article titles and link them directly to the articles.

3. Include a relevant video as part of the content. Even if the video is one minute, you've beat the 30 second increment.

So, the next time you’re posting an article to your site, take the extra few minutes to include links to other articles within your site and/or include a video. This is a proven method of engaging and holding your visitors, thereby increasing your website ranking.

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