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Using Average Time on Site to Focus Your Content

August 4th, 2009 | | Basic SEO Tips

Web Analytics are essential for your online direction. Going through different reports on your data can determine the direction of your site, your content and maybe even your business.

The number of unique visits your site gets and how those visitors found you are all very important.  The keywords they used to find you is also essential.  The bounce rate, of course, tells a lot about how people react to your site and its usability.  I’d like to bend the spotlight to “Average Time on Site” for a little bit.

Average time on site is a metric that people use to rate how popular a site is.  How long do people hang around on your site? 30 seconds? 2 minutes? 4 hours?

One client only cared about the amount of time spent on their site and not really on where they spent that time.  Of course, they wouldn’t mind knowing the content that was popular, but it wasn’t “top of mind.”  The content that is consumed the longest is the content that seems feed your particular audience the most.

Sort and Find the Longest Viewed Content

Your analytics software should provide you with the average time on site.  Google Analytics provides as well as the ability to sort it from longest to shortest or shortest to longest.  If your particular analytics packages doesn’t have that ability, find a way to export it to excel.  Knowing the top 5 or 10 pieces of content will give you a great guide to the future content that you will place on your site.

Link Popular Content Together

Once you identified your pieces of content, linking the content together with links of “suggested reading” is especially helpful to bumping up your Average Time on Site.  Tags are fine, but I personally have found that having something like “If you liked this article, you might enjoy these …”  I must admit I even fall for that; especially with powerful headlines.

Keep Publishing Content Based On Your Popular Trends

Linking your diversified, yet most popular content, will increase your Average Time on Site however you need to continue providing content on your site in order to keep that average up.  Just like the potato chips, once you start you can’t stop!  Of course, you don’t want to stop.  Content is needed to prove that you are an industry leader or at least a major contender.  Average Time on Site is a good barometer to see who agrees with that sentiment.

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