Dwell Time: What Wellness Marketers Need to Know

Wellness website visitor engagement improves dwell time

You hear so many digital marketing terms as you build a strategy for your wellness practice that keeping them straight can be challenging. Of course, you know they’re all necessary for the success of a wellness practice. And you want to do everything you can to optimize your digital assets for the correct ranking factors. With that in mind, a metric you’ve probably been hearing about for your wellness practice is dwell time.

Because dwell time is a bit mysterious—one of those ranking factors people like to talk about a lot. In reality, few actually understand the concept and how it may affect your overall search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. 

What is Dwell Time?

Dwell time tracks how long a user stays on your wellness practice website after clicking through from a search engine. The clock begins on dwell time as soon as a user lands on your website from the search engine results page (SERP) and ends as soon as they navigate back to the SERP. Simply put, dwell time is the total time spent on your site.

This means dwell time accounts for users navigating to different pages on your website. For example, a user lands on your homepage, goes to your “About” page, completes a contact form, and then returns to the SERP. Google records their entire journey to and from the SERP as dwell time.

Anything between two to four minutes is considered an average dwell time. But the amount of time can vary greatly depending on the type of content your wellness practice site covers.

What isn’t Dwell Time?

You may already be thinking this, but doesn’t dwell time sound strangely similar to bounce rate and time on page—metrics you’ve been tracking for a while? Yes, they’re all closely related terms… but still slightly different.

A bounce is when a visitor views only one page and leaves your site. They click onto your website from the SERP, take a look around the homepage, decide your wellness practice isn’t what they need, and then leave. Granted, users who click through, read your homepage, get up, go to the bathroom, grab a drink of water, and circle back to the browser they never closed 20 minutes later are still bouncing. Bounce doesn’t have to do with time. Instead, bouncing is defined as only visiting one page before going back to the SERP.

Time on page requires much less explanation―this is simply the amount of time spent on a single page. So, if a user visits several pages in one visit, time on page is recorded separately for each page they visit.

Is Dwell Time a Ranking Factor for Wellness Websites?

This is a great question. The answer is that while no one really knows, dwell time is unlikely to have a direct impact on rank.1 Still, whether or not dwell time influences how you appear on the SERP is a contested question among SEO professionals. And Google hasn’t been absolutely clear. They’re notoriously tight-lipped about the 200 ranking factors used to determine search engine rankings.

Some SEO professionals believe Google’s “More results from…” list under some search results signifies that dwell time is a bona fide ranking factor. Research has identified a correlation between dwell time and site rank on the SERP.2 But correlation doesn’t always equal causation, right? And how do you account for pages intended to be looked at quickly?

Even though there’s no consensus on dwell time’s status as a ranking factor, most SEO experts agree this is a fundamental metric you should be tracking on your wellness practice website. Why? Because dwell time is an indication of other factors that both enhance user experience and increase page rank.

How Can You Improve Your Dwell Time?

Sites with good dwell times have a few things in common. Fortunately, many of these are also ranking factors that will improve the user’s experience as they explore your wellness practice. To improve your site’s dwell time, consider:

1. Adding Photos and Videos

Regardless of how good your wellness website design is, photos and videos are far more interesting than plain old text! Adding photos and videos inspires users to remain on your site longer, improving your SEO and conversion rates simultaneously.

For example, correctly optimizing your images can increase organic traffic by as much as 106%.3 Organic traffic can also increase up to 157% by adding video to your site.4 Videos are also known as sales boosters, improving conversion by 86% when compared to text-only pages.5

2. Thinking About Search Intent

Search intent is discussed quite a bit in terms of ranking, and for good reason. Google’s RankBrain is smarter than ever and detects search intent for millions of search queries. Paying attention to why your target market is searching for you and what they hope to find when they do will serve you well, both in SEO and dwell time.

3. Investing in Better Content

Offering high-quality content that users want has always been important, but few wellness practice marketers realize the impact on dwell time. The more articles you have that interest users, the longer they’ll stay to read them. The longer each article is, the more time the user will take to finish reading. And you get the dual benefit of increasing both dwell time and user satisfaction.

4. Including Internal Links

The whole idea behind dwell time is encouraging visitors to stay and navigate your site’s pages for as long as possible. Adding more internal links ensures you’re giving them every opportunity to poke around and stay awhile.

When they see other site pages linked within the content they’re already consuming, they’re likely to click through to learn more about a related topic. Internal links are a known ranking factor and will improve your site’s overall SEO.

If your website has a low dwell time, Dreamscape Marketing can help. Call us today at 888.307.7304 to schedule a discovery call and learn more about our website design and wellness digital marketing services.


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