How to Increase Time on Site Through User Engagement

By Erica Famojure

02 March 2020

When developing your content marketing strategy, you’ve undoubtedly focused on a number of success metrics to measure how your content is performing. From pageviews to bounce rate and average time on site these metrics drive how you evaluate content and showcase your audience or user engagement.

Good metrics coupled with keyword research and SEO efforts increase your search engine results page (SERP) ranking. Catchy headlines and intriguing meta-descriptions spark immediate interest leading to increased site traffic.

But once you get visitors to your site, how do you get them to stay longer?

The simple answer? User Engagement.

Your site’s visitors learn more about your company’s values and products when you create opportunities for them to engage with your content. This encourages visitors to spend more time exploring your site.

In this post, you’ll learn four ways to increase time on site by making your content more engaging to new and returning visitors alike.

Why Does Time on Site Matter?

The time people spend on your site during each visit, or the average session duration, is an important metric that helps you determine the value of your content to those visitors.

If people land on your site from a SERP and quickly leave without visiting other pages, it may suggest that they couldn’t find what they were looking for.

On the other hand, if your bounce rate is decreasing and the average session duration is growing, it’s clear that your content is resonating with your audience.

How You Can Increase Time on Site

1. Provide Value Through Storytelling

People come to your site with a specific question or problem in mind. They conduct about 12 searches before getting to your site. So once they find your answer to their question, they are gone almost as fast as they arrived. You achieved your immediate goal — provide valuable information.

But the key to getting users to spend more time on your site is creating content that is educational and engaging.

Keyword research tells you what industry-related questions consumers are asking, but the best way to start crafting engaging content is to learn how consumers are discussing your industry.

One of your most valuable assets in this is your sales team. Your colleagues in sales speak to people directly interacting with your business every day.

Make it your mission to regularly sit in on sales calls. Keep a record of the types of questions being asked. Are there specific consumer problems mentioned during several calls with various clients?

Listen to how prospective and current clients explain their pain points. Take note of the real-world examples from your customers’ experiences and use them as inspiration to create relatable stories that provide practical solutions.

A list of facts plus a closing sales pitch is not a recipe for engaging content. Weave together a compelling narrative that incorporates the sentiments of your audience.

Visitors come to your site for a quick answer to their query, but they stay on your site for the story.

2. Become the Ultimate Resource in Your Niche


Answering one question is great. Becoming the go-to source for your industry is gold. Instead of users returning to Google for more research, keep them on your site with a library of content showcasing your industry knowledge.

You can do this with topic clusters.

For example, if you’re in the voice tech industry, you can create a pillar page providing readers with a broad overview of the subject. On the pillar page, introduce related subtopics and link to other pages where you cover each subtopic in more depth.

When done well, each pillar page has internal links to other articles within your topic cluster. This increases time on site by creating an easy path of exploration for every site visitor.

3. Add Media to Your Posts

You’ve written well-researched, informative, and comprehensive blog posts and you want visitors to actually read them.

Formatting text-heavy posts makes them more digestible. One effective way to do this is to add images, videos, and audio to your posts.

Including relevant images to your posts breaks up the text on the page. This increases readability, helps to communicate the story and encourages visitors to continue reading your article.

Videos provide more detail and support active learning by making it easier for people to absorb information.

Videos also require action – visitors must click on the video to watch it.

This click starts the clock on your page’s average session duration. Google Analytics only starts to calculate the time spent on site when a user takes an action on a page. Adding interactive elements like video directly impacts your average session duration.

The increasing popularity of podcasts and audiobooks prove that people enjoy getting information via audio. Giving visitors the option to listen to your articles will assist in keeping your bounce rates down and increase time on site.

4. Add Interactive Content aka Pop-ups


Adding a pop-up to your page compels a visitor to interact with your content. Though 73% of people don’t like pop-up ads, useful well-timed pop-ups are effective.

Pop-ups often have two options: opt-in or opt-out.

Opt-in: Invites customers to continue through the funnel or give potential leads the option to exit the pop-up.

Opt-out: If they exit the pop-up, they’ll likely exit the site altogether.

“Learn more” is an alternative to Opt-out. This option redirects folks to a page where you can showcase your product or service and provide another opportunity for conversion.

Whichever case you choose, implement Exit-intent® technology. This lets you show visitors a targeted message right before they exit your site. Done well, exit-intent popups recover up to 53% of abandoning visitors to your site.

Prioritize Engagement

Encouraging user engagement is an effective way to increase average session duration. The amount of time visitors spend on each page helps to highlight the successful areas as well as those in need of an upgrade. Make sure to provide an educational and user-friendly web experience by incorporating the engagement tactics discussed in this post throughout. Keep people engaged with your business throughout every stage of the customer journey. Make every interaction a meaningful one.