Why do we seei ZERO Session Duration in Google Analytics? Is that ZERO time on website by users?

Understand when and why Google Analytics Session Duration shows zero. What zero session duration means and what it does not mean

why session duration zero

What it means when session duration shows zero in Google Analytics

Why Google Analytics shows session duration zero? This is a question lot of SEOs and business owners and all those website owners who are tracking their site search performance must have asked.

At least many more of us have noticed and wondered what is the problem and why my analytics account is showing 0 (zero) as the time duration of all my sessions during any day.

When you have acquired the skills to rank keywords fast and have now learned SEO well then you have started getting traffic to your website. And then when you see 0 as the session duration in Google analytics while tracking your day-to-day SEO traffic then you wonder whether your users are not spending any time on your website. This question becomes even more painful when you have created the best quality website content.

So, let me straight away give you an answer to all your questions.

The answer is NO.

No, the time users spent on your site when session duration shows zero is not actually 0.

And, yes, your users are spending time on your website or web pages and yes they are reading your content.

You will then right away ask why Google Analytics says that your session duration is zero?

This is because your users are not taking any action on your pages.

There is nothing wrong with your page, with your page content and certainly nothing wrong with your analytics account or website loading speed.

Your users came to your page, they spent some time but did not take any action.

What does taking any action means?

Action means clicking on a button, a link to another page once a user lands on your current page.

It is all about how Google Analytics tracks and records a session and its duration.

How Average Session Duration is recorded by Google Analytics

By Event or Action

By setting of time

Session Duration by Event or Action

Primarily analytics records a session duration as the difference between the time a user lands on your page and the time it takes any action while he is on that current page.

Let us understand this with an example.

Rahul & Rashmi searches Google, in different places, for the keyword for which your page is ranking. Both click on SERP result and land on your page.

Rahul reads your content, spends few minutes. He even likes your content. After spending some time he leaves your page and your website.

He landed on your page at 9:00 PM

He left your page at 9:10 PM

What will your analytics show in session duration as time spent by Rahul on your site (here we assume the case that he was the only visitor during that time)?

Google Analytics Session Duration will be equal to ZERO.

Rashmi also reads your content and likes it. But this is the action she takes

She lands on your page at 9:00 PM

She finds a link to another of your interesting page and clicks that at 9:10 PM

She then leaves your site at 9:20 PM

What will your analytics show in session duration as time spent by Rashmi?

Google Analytics Session Duration will be equal to 10 minutes.

This is recorded as the difference between time a user lands on your page and the time he or she takes an action.

First visit on 9:00 PM

Action taken on 9:10 PM

10 minutes is the session duration which Google Analytics will show.

Session Duration by By setting of time

The other way Google Analytics records session duration is by the time you set in your session settings. You go to admin in analytics then under the property section in the middle you click on Tracking Info. Within this tracking info there is the tab Session Settings. When you go inside you find session timeout setting.

Here you can set the timeframe for each session. This is the maximum time which Google analytics will record for each of your sessions. It starts with a minimum of one minute and can be set for a maximum of 4 hours and 59 minutes.

This is Timeout Handling

The default length of time for a session or campaign. An individual session or campaign for a given user ends after the amount of time specified here has passed (counting from the start of the session or campaign), so long as the session or campaign has not been stopped through another means.

So, when the time set by you for your sessions complete then analytics will count it as one session whether the user is still on your site and whether or not he or she has taken any action or not.

Another way to understand session duration and why it can show zero while users actually spent time on your site is through the bounce rate.

Bounce rate is another matrix which Analytics uses to show the number of users which left your site without taking action. It means and points to the number of users who went away from your website after viewing only the current page that they landed on.

It is like understanding bounce rate or having a high bounce rate for your pages.

You will also see a high bounce rate when Google Analytics shows zero session duration.