Landing page optimization
We may already understand the importance of optimizing your landing page views and attracting new visitors to your site. But there’s another website performance metric to consider and think about: time on page.
Analyzing time on page can really help us understand whether or not you’re attracting potential customers. It can also provide valuable insight into content performance.
In this post, we’ll take a deeper look at the time on page metric to learn how it works. We’ll also examine what information this measurement can reveal about your site’s performance.
What is time on page?
Time on page is the “average amount of time users spend viewing a specific page or screen, or a set of pages or screens.”
For most sites, this is the amount of time a user spends reading the content of a single page. This number is calculated from the moment they land on it until they click to go to the next one.
A shortcoming of this metric is that Google can only record the time between landing on one page and moving on to another. So if someone lands on the site and then leaves without moving forward, Google won’t measure time. Similarly, if someone visits dozens of pages on your site, a time will not be recorded for the last page they visited.
How time on page can trump page views.
As websites become more and more interactive, time on page can keep increasing higher and higher. For example, a site user can open a lightbox with additional content on the same page, or click a button to view portfolio items or galleries without exiting.
Consequently, the time on page metric could become even more important than measuring the total number of page views. Things are changing over time.
Understand average time on page vs. session duration time.
Time on page is the amount of time between when a person lands on one web page and moves on to another. If the user does not proceed to a second page, it is not calculated or added to the average time spent on page. It is as if it had never been visited. But you shouldn’t confuse this metric with session duration time.
Session duration time refers to the average amount of time people spend on your entire site including all visits. This also gets everyone who bounced without taking any action. But Google can’t accurately measure the time a person spends not interacting with your site, so the duration is counted as zero seconds for this type of visitor.
Why is the average session duration almost always less than time on page.
The average session duration includes all bounced traffic (typically around 50%) and enters each of these sessions as zero seconds. This significantly lowers the average.
However, time on page does not include bounced sessions. Therefore, the average time calculated is usually significantly higher.
How to find the key metrics in Google Analytics.
Now that we understand more about the difference between average session duration and time on page itself, let’s discuss where they can be found in Google Analytics. There are multiple reports that can be used.
For the duration of the session, data can be located in reports that are about how users view your pages, such as the Landing Page Report or the Channels Report . For time on page, you can use the Overall Behavior Report or the All Pages Report . There are quite a few options.
How to find the average session duration in Google Analytics.
From the Google Analytics control panel, we go to Behavior → Site Content → Landing Pages .
Here you can find the average session duration for each of the pages.
We could also do it from Acquisition → All Traffic → Channels Report to see the average session duration for each channel.
How to Find Average Time on Page in Google Analytics
To know the average time on the page, from Behavior → General report .
It is also located under Behavior → Site Content → All Pages Report.
How to improve time on page.
Once you know where and how to put time on the page metric, the next step is to evaluate the results and determine where you can improve. However, keep in mind that a “good time on page” varies based on a multitude of factors.
A study shows that the average time a site visitor spends on a web page is 52 seconds almost most of the time. You can compare your metric to this standard to get a benchmark of your website’s performance. But it’s best to simply focus on continually improving your metrics compared to your site’s past data.
To properly assess your time on page metric, it’s best to set your expectations based on the type of content you have on each page. You also need to consider where people go after leaving your pages.
What does it mean when the time on page is too short?
This factor could indicate a problem with your site. For example, you may have content that is irrelevant to the search terms you rank for. Users are likely to get confused and leave rather quickly.
But a short time on page doesn’t have to be a negative: a homepage that only features graphics and a few copy could justify a shorter amount of time on a page. A good indication that this is the case is a large number of page views or conversions.
Let’s say you just want the content on a page to arouse interest. In this scenario, time on page may be short, but if your bounce rate is low, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong. Everything is going perfectly.
But what if your content provides the information people are looking for, but your time on page is shorter than you want? In this case, it is time to analyze the user experience (UX).
Poor performance often leads users to leave the website; After all, who wants to sit and wait a long time for a site to load? Instead, users will simply go somewhere else.
What does it mean if the time on page is too long?
At the opposite extreme, spending more time consuming your pages is generally a good thing.
But you can run into problems if users spend a lot of time on a page and don’t take the actions you’d like them to do: buy a product, fill out a contact form, or sign up for your newsletter.
Again, it is important to understand the content of each of your pages. For example, if you have an eCommerce site, you are probably looking for sales. So spending a lot of time reading about a product without a conversion can indicate a few things:
The info is not easy to understand.
You are blocking buyers with too much information.
You are not providing the right type of content to buyers.
If this is the case, you may want to make your product pages more user-friendly with a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, additional images, size charts, reviews, or other helpful information.
How to improve Google metrics.
Regardless of the content or purpose of your site, there are some basic principles that can help you improve your average time on page, along with other data.
1. Establish a strong internal linking strategy.
Internal links are links to other pages within your website. They can increase the time spent on your site and improve search engine rankings at the same time. Ultimately, they can make it easier for users to find other posts that interest them without having to spend a lot of time searching the web.
Also, you don’t have to buy third-party plugins or tools to use this strategy. It is simply a matter of naturally adding links to phrases related to the post or page you are linking to.
2. Add videos.
Adding videos to your site can keep users there longer because watching a clip is often easier and more enjoyable than reading copy.
Therefore, giving users both options will make it more likely that they will find a pleasant way to interact and navigate the page.
Here are just a few types of videos you could create:
A demo of the ways people can use your product
A summary of the manufacturing process.
An example of how to combine something.
A DIY tutorial.
An interview with a satisfied customer.
A cooking demonstration.
The filming process doesn’t have to be incredibly complicated, either.
Once you’ve created videos, you can use Jetpack VideoPress to add them to your posts and pages. And unlike third-party tools like YouTube, you won’t have to worry about users being distracted by ads or competing content.
3. Make sure the content is legible.
Another way to improve your site’s metrics is by improving readability. If the pages are difficult to read, especially on mobile devices, the user will be less likely to stick around.
There are many ways to make content easier to consume. First, use a typeface that is large enough for people to read, including those with low vision. 16px is considered the minimum, but this can vary depending on the specific font you’re using.
Also, try to avoid using complex fonts for text bodies.
Second, break up long blocks of text using subheadings. It’s also helpful to incorporate bulleted lists, lots of white space, and short paragraphs.
This can make your page much easier to find information on.
4. Focus on optimizing site performance.
People tend to be impatient, especially when it comes to browsing the web. Three seconds is all it takes for up to 40% of the audience to give up and find what they are looking for somewhere else.
Therefore, if we want to improve metrics like time on page and session duration, it is very important to optimize site speed.
Even a small improvement in load times can improve the user experience and keep people on the page longer.
5. Post the right content.
If the content you post isn’t interesting or useful to your site visitors, chances are they won’t stick around to read it. This is when it pays to know your target audience well. How can you answer questions they have about products, services, or topics?
And, especially when it comes to blog content, you have to focus on helping rather than selling. People don’t want to read sales pitch after sales pitch. Instead, they want to know how to solve any problem they have, whether it’s designing a product, getting their finances in order, or helping their child learn to read.
6. Simplify site processes and interactions.
If the site is difficult to use, most people will get frustrated and leave. While this may vary depending on your site and industry, here are some ways processes can be streamlined:
Remove unnecessary fields from contact forms and payment pages.
Avoid distracting pop-up windows.
Make “next steps” as intuitive as possible with a simple information architecture.
Add search functionality to help visitors quickly find what they’re looking for.
Simplify the site menu and use clear language to direct visitors to the right place.
Categorize blog posts and products for faster and smoother navigation.
Do not fill the site with ads, use them sparingly.
Ideally, ask audience members, or even friends and family, to use our site and report any issues they may encounter to help us improve.
7. Optimize for mobile devices
You have to make sure that the site is easy to use and looks good on devices of all types: desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones. Of course, it would be nearly impossible to physically test every device out there, so we tried using tools like Responsinator to get a quick overview. Noa we ensure that the fonts are large enough to read, that the content is easy to consume and that the images are not cut off.
Time on page is just the tip of the iceberg
Paying attention to key metrics is crucial to getting the most out of your site. Connect your WordPress site to Google Analytics to unlock a wide range of metrics that can guide you in determining where to focus efforts. There is no such thing as perfection: continuous improvement is the key to success!
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