Which criteria are important in SEO site? Which criteria should not be taken too seriously and pay attention to them in the analysis? Which category is the Time on Page measure or the average time a user spends on one page of the site? Is it a very important criterion or not? Why?

SEO is data-driven. It means that the SEO expert implements a set of techniques (usually gray SEO), then takes data from Google tools about the site and its pages, and by analyzing them, finds out whether the site is on the path of growth or not. The most important thing in site SEO is that the site reaches the first to third rank on the first page of search results in terms of keywords.

It can be said that reaching those ranks is the result of site SEO and the goal that the employer (site owner) wants the SEO expert to reach. But reaching that goal is not easy at all. It is a complicated, difficult and time-consuming path. The most important guide for an SEO expert in that complex and difficult path is the site’s SEO criteria.

In this content, we talk about the real importance of one of those criteria.

How important is the Time on Page criterion in SEO?

Before we talk about TOP (Time on Page) or Average Time on Page criteria, it is better to explain a little about site SEO criteria. Site SEO criteria are not only important for site optimization. It is also important in digital marketing and helps the marketer to make decisions. Some SEO criteria are also used to evaluate the success of online stores.

For example, it is important for Google that your site has a lot of visitors (Site traffic). Why is the number of visitors important to Google? Because it shows that the users are satisfied with the site and the site has been able to offer them what the users are looking for. So, one of the criteria of SEO is the number of site visitors. On the other hand, more visitors for the store site means more potential customers.

An important question to answer is that

Where do site SEO criteria come from?

The SEO expert SEOs the site by considering search engine standards (up to 200). Site SEO metrics are used to evaluate and measure those standards. Although not all standards are quantitative, a set of several criteria can be used to measure qualitative items (such as site and page user experience).

There is a lot of information and data in SEO site tools (Google Search Console and Google Analytics). From the number of visitors to the entire site and each page of the site to what device (mobile or laptop) the user entered the site with. The SEO expert neither has time nor can monitor and analyze all that data. So, he has to choose and prioritize a few criteria according to the site to be SEO and its status and features.

In addition to those criteria, various criteria (up to 15 criteria in some sources) have been named as the most important SEO site criteria. But the question is, are those criteria really important? The measure of the time each user spends on a page of the site is a famous measure that is mentioned among the most important measures in some sources. But the fact is that that criterion is not very important and helpful in SEO.

The measure of (average) time spent on the page

Time on page is a time measure that is calculated with a specific formula. The most important thing about this criterion in some sources is the formula itself. Of course, there is no need for a formula because Google Analytics calculates it and displays it in a special column. Some experts believe that since Google Analytics shows the average time spent on the page, that metric must be important.

Google has not yet officially announced that it considers time on page as a factor for SEO. Of course, Google usually does not give an official opinion about each factor and criteria. But it is possible to find examples of comments about some criteria. For example, Matt Cutts has been quoted as saying that bounce rate is not important for Google.

Why should it be important for an SEO expert how long a user stays on a page? What does the SEO expert or digital marketer understand by knowing that time? To find the answer, you should pay attention to the calculation formula of that criterion. Because the biggest problem and the reason that shows that the criterion is not accurate and cannot be used for analysis lies in its formula.

What is the problem with the Time on Page metric?

I enter a page of the site at 15:00. At 15:05, I click on one of the links on that page and go to another page. The time spent on my page was 5 minutes. But if I don’t click on any link and close the page, according to Google Analytics, the elapsed time is zero. Analytics adds up the time spent in the first mode, and divides it by the number of visitors who visited that page to get the average time spent by the users of that page.

So, according to that formula, the Time on page criterion measures user behavior

  • From Google search, he reached one of the contents of the site which is in the second line, read it and left the page, but a week later he returned to the site and bought from the site, it records nothing or zero. Meanwhile, that page has been optimized and has turned the user into a customer.
  • He entered the same page, read the content of the page to the end and left a comment, and just shared the link of that page on social media, but he did not click on any link on that page, it still registers nothing or zero.

So, the SEO expert does not understand what directly affects the SEO of the site (such as sharing links on social media and leaving comments) from that criterion. Knowing that time does not help to evaluate and improve SEO strategies. While, for example, the number of low backlinks to the site and its contents tells the SEO expert that he should change the external linking strategy.


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