ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bounce Rate, Dwell Time And The Panda Update

Updated on February 1, 2012

In a previous article about bounce rate, Understanding and Lowering Bounce Rates, I laid out the basics of how bounce rate was calculated and how to find the bounce rate of specific pages. This time we are going to dig a little deeper and discuss why Panda has polarized the importance of lowering bounce rate.

First I want to make a couple of things clear. It’s highly unlikely that search engines use bounce rate directly when scoring or ranking webpages. Nor is a high bounce rate a definite signal of low quality or a failure to meet visitor expectations or needs.

Something To Dwell On

A high bounce rate could be the result of a page that does exactly what it sets out to do or one that completely fails. News sites, sites that provide “dip in” resources or tutorials, article sites like Ezine Articles and content farms including HubPages tend have a naturally high bounce rate. These are sites that can satisfy visitor needs with a single page visit.

If search engines don’t use bounce rate and it isn’t necessarily a signal that indicates poor user experience, why is it so important to lower it?

There is a new metric, one that Google Analytics won’t reveal to you and it’s a big contributor to sites being Panda-lized. It’s a Key Performance Indicator like no other and it’s here to stay. It’s called Dwell Time, and by lowering bounce rate and increasing time on site you can keep your site safe and out of harm’s way.

What Is Dwell Time?

Dwell Time is a measurement of how long a visitor spends between entering your site and leaving. On the face of it, it sounds similar to bounces and exits. The problem with both these metrics is that they don’t report how long someone was on a page prior to bouncing or the time spent on the last page of a visit prior to an exit.

There is a strong correlation between Dwell Time and engagement. Dwell Time has been used for some time in the calculation of AdWords quality sore i.e. a short dwell time is a strong signal that tells search engines that the landing page lacks relevance and quality.

The result of a short Dwell Time within AdWords is increased ad costs, in organic results it means rankings will tank.

At this time there are no search engine algorithms that can accurately distinguish high quality content from the hum drum. Search engines are getting better in areas such as discerning natural language patterns, however, true qualitative assessment is still a long way away.

Panda has seen Dwell Metrics evolve beyond measuring the length of time consumers spend engaging with online ads to a measurement of engagement between all web users and every kind of content whether it be informational or transactional.

  • While it may feel like you’ve poured your heart and soul into creating the content on the website, quality is in the eye of the visitor, and short page dwell times can indicate the content is not capturing the visitor’s interest. Something about the content is not grabbing their attention.

    Source: Duane Forrester, Sr. Product Manager at Bing

Bouncing Back To Full Health

Hopefully, analytics packages will evolve to let us see Dwell Time. In the meantime any measure that can be employed to improve engagement and increase the time visitors spend interacting with our content is essential.

The next article in this series will look at techniques to lower bounce rate, increase user experience and extend user interaction time.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)