Changing the Way Websites are Ranked
The traditional measure of a website’s success, page rank and page views, is starting to give way to measuring how long visitors spend on a site. I was put on to this by the Learning Centre forum, and found the complete article on the CBC website.
There are two many reasons for the shift. One is increasingly rich media, the other is Ajax.
As visitors spend more time on a single page watching a video, they spend less time (presumably) exploring other pages. Certainly the time spend watching a video is a significant measure of the success of the video, and therefore the success of the website.
Ajax allows a webpage to be updated without navigating to another page. It is a kind of virtual page view, but this is not measured by traditional tracking software. However, a lot of time spent on a page interacting with the site via Ajax is certainly significant!
The problem of course, is that websites can be left open but may not be viewed. I have closed down my computer at the end of the day, only to find a browser opened to some page I was checking out that morning and forgot to close!
No system is perfect of course. Measuring time spend on a sight is certainly important, and I know that I look at the average time spent on my site as a measure of success.