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My 1 blog is now 8-months old I receive on average anywhere from 700-1200 people per day, however it is not so much the acquisition numbers in terms of visitor count that interest me, it is the time on site spend, below you can see an image from yesterday's traffic.

enter image description here

Currently my average visit time is 5.28min I have been working to increase this to 7-min by writing longer posts, which is rather difficult and also I am worried it will start to become to long for users.

When looking at my current time on site spend, would you say it is adequate for a sports niche blog?

If I can increase my time on site spend to say 7 or 8 min am I likely to see an increase in traffic, or am I wasting my time focusing on this?

QUESTION UPDATE

What I am asking is, if there is a direct correlation between time on on site spend from organic traffic to increased ranking?

As for longer content mentioned in comments, my posts are starting to average 2000-words and I am outranking many competitors without backlinks to those posts, so I will say that content length DOES play a direct role in rankings (even more so than backlinks IMO) I would like to know however, how much of a factor is time on site spend

  • so basically, you are asking for advice how to write long articles? – Josip Ivic Nov 28 '16 at 15:42
  • No Josip he said weather he should write longer articles to increase his ranking. I will said no. Whatever you read about length and SEO is just misunderstood concept by marketer to gather links. – Goyllo Nov 28 '16 at 15:44
  • @Goyllo please see update – Timothy Coetzee Nov 29 '16 at 4:57
  • I don't have any read any official doc on this, so I can't confirm. But I don't think it will count in SEO. Lot's of stackexchange webpage ranked very well with only 400 words. Whenever you create a new webpage, then Google will give u some initial value for that webpage. – Goyllo Nov 29 '16 at 9:38
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Search Engine Watch recently posted a good article which suggested that engagement metrics (such as CTR and, yes, avg time on page) may have been correlated to rankings. (I believe that Rand at Moz has also suggested this for a few years.)

https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/12/13/6-seo-experiments-that-will-blow-your-mind/

4. Do Website Engagement Rates Impact Organic Search Rankings?

It’s super important to create clickable headlines, but the goal isn’t just to create clickbait. You also must have great engagement metrics. If people feel cheated and go right back to the SERP, Google can detect that.

Dwell time is really the thing that matters. And time on site is a much better proxy for dwell time than bounce rate.

My theory is that Google uses dwell time (which we can’t measure, but is proportional to time on site) to validate click-through rates. These metrics help Google figure out whether users ultimately got what they were looking for (i.e., a successful search).

While I can't validate this from my own in depth studies, this does make sense to me from the perspective that Google favors content that is useful. SEW's theory about this correlation seems to be at least reasonable.

As Stephen pointed out before more, Google says they don't use Analytics data for ranking factors. However, I don't think that necessarily excludes metric data that is relevant and similar.

With that said, I would not expect that writing longer posts would be in your benefit. If Site A answered a query with excellent content in 500 words, and Site B offered a decent content with 1000 words, it would not make sense to favor Site B in the SERP.

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Making your users happy can boost rankings, but there is no direct correlation.

Google says they don't use Google Analytics data for ranking. So Google has no way of knowing how long users spend on your site for ranking purposes.

Making your articles longer can help add information that users are looking for. However, it can also turn users away. Many users want a quick answer. There is no single article length that is best for SEO. Your articles need to be long enough to satisfy searchers but not too long to be boring. The correct length is going to be different in each case.

I don't have any experience in a sports niche. If you are finding that longer articles are generally helping rankings and users are sticking around to read them then you are on the right path. Just pay attention to bounce rate as well and make sure that longer articles aren't turning away too many users.

I should also note that by default Google Analytics measures time on site as the time between loading the first page of a session and loading the last page of a session. Longer articles don't help that metric if that is only thing (or the last thing) they read. You can implement scrolling events so that Google Analytics knows that the user is still interacting as the site as the scroll down to read a long article. That also helps with bounce rate for users that stick around to read an entire article and then leave.

  • How credible is the link above? I checked out the article but I didn't see any links to actual Google press releases/blogs. – Andrew Smallwood Dec 30 '16 at 0:21
  • Google says so little officially on their blog that we often have to rely on what the day publicly in other places. The source wires what Google employees have said at conferences and on Twitter. – Stephen Ostermiller Dec 30 '16 at 1:48

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