Google’s Magic G-bounce (“Dwell”) Time: 7.5 minutes
Upon bouncing back to Google from a search result, you may see a notice allowing you to block that domain from future Google results. Or you may see a notice encouraging you to +1 that domain. It all depends on the amount of time you spent on the page.
Google is well aware of what listings searchers click after performing a Google search. But did you know Google continues to care what a user does after clicking on a listing? The search engine monitors whether the user clicks right back to Google, and even pays attention to the length of time the user spent on a site.
Here’s an example. After searching for “eco-friendly down comforters” I clicked a page on the domain www.beddingdowncomforters.com, reviewed it briefly, and clicked the Back button to return to Google. This is known as a G-bounce. When I landed back on the Google search results page, Google had added the message ” – Block all www.beddingdowncomforters.com results” to the listing:
Click on the “Block…” link, and you’ll never be bothered by this website’s listings again.
Later, I was searching for “how to decant wine” and clicked on wineintro.com. I spent a long time on the page and eventually clicked the Back button to return to Google. Upon landing back on my Google results page, I saw a popup suggesting that I +1 the site on Google:
This experience got me wondering: How long do I need to spend on a website before Google stops suggesting I block it, but instead suggests that I +1 it? What is that magic length of G-bounce time that Google deems to represent a successful website experience?
I tested it out by G-bouncing after various lengths of time, and here’s what I found:
- 15 seconds — block
- 30 seconds — block
- 45 seconds — block
- 1 minute — block
- 1 minute 15 seconds — block
- 1 minute 30 seconds — block
- 2 minutes — no message
- 3 minutes — no message
- 4 minutes — no message
- 7 minutes — no message
- 7 minutes + 30 seconds – no message
- 7 minutes + 40 seconds – +1 message
- 8 minutes – +1 message
So apparently, according to Google, the 1-1/2 minute mark is where a site goes from hateworthy to just OK, and at the 7-1/2 minute G-bounce mark, the site has clearly served you well and deserves a +1 for its trouble.
I anyone else seeing these same times? Different ones?
UPDATE: Bing and Google reps discuss the “dwell time” signal about 5 minutes into this discussion at SXSW: http://searchengineland.com/too-much-seo-google%E2%80%99s-working-on-an-%E2%80%9Cover-optimization%E2%80%9D-penalty-for-that-115627