We all know that funny feeling you get when seeing goose eggs — “0:00” — on Google Analytics’ ‘time on page’ on certain posts you know are fabulous.


Easter Eggs


Here’s the skinny: Google doesn’t factor time on page on the last page your readers visit. Why? Because time on page is determined by bookends, i.e., the pages they visit before and after that certain fabulous post.


A bookshelf with a large row of books

Imagine a row of books between two bookends in a large library. You can easily count all the books between the bookends because they have borders. But what if you’ve got only one bookend at the beginning of the row? The counting of books could go on forever! Or in Google’s case, the entire library and beyond is an unknown number of books.


And unknown is recorded in Google Analytics as zero.


In addition, when it comes to bounces, don’t worry. You’re readers are most likely more engaged than you know! Just because a reader looks at one page doesn’t mean they didn’t stay for a long time. (Yes, they could have stayed 8 seconds, but maybe it was 8 minutes!) So get them to stay for at least one more page and you’ll get rid of those zeroes.

So next time you see 0:00 for time on page, remember it’s only a bounce without a bookend!