Time on site has been discussed as a potential ranking factor for quite some time. We have carefully analyzed data from clients, and our personal websites and determined that Google does utilize time on site as an SEO factor in the SERPS.
How does google analyze time on site?
Google does not gather the data from analytics or tracking code. Google simply checks to see how long a user takes to return back to the results page. If a user clicks a link in the results, then instantly returns back to Google, chances are, that user did not find what they were looking for. On the other hand, if a user clicks a result in Google, and that user takes 30 minutes to return back to Google, it is safe to assume that the result was high quality.
How can you boost time on site?
Content. Quality content is key to increasing the amount of time spent on web pages. One of the simplest forms of content is images. By increasing the number of images, graphics, and viewable content on a page, users tend to stay a bit longer. However, you need quality infographics, well written and informative content, and material that naturally boosts users interests.
How much does time-on-site impact rankings?
We feel that the effects from a poor time on site can drastically hurt rankings. Google probably analyzes time on-site in comparison to competitors. If a link is 3rd in the SERPS page, but the time on site is 5 minutes, that URL may soon move above the second-place result if his time on site is only 1 minute, regardless of overall authority.