By Steven Jacobs
Exactly a year ago, Google used its considerable clout to “demand” that most websites become “mobile-friendly.” The world’s biggest search engine now tends to favor responsive web design as a ranking signal.
What that means is: Websites (those designed for a desktop or laptop screen) that can be easily seen on users mobile device (Smartphone or tablet) will appear higher in search results. And those that don’t will, at best, fall lower in PageRank.
By the way, if you missed that bit of Search Engine Optimization news, or if you want to confirm that this is working for you, reach out to us today. Healthcare Success can independently test your website.
The march of ubiquitous small screens…
Here are some of the reasons that “mobile friendly” has moved from “accommodating alternate devices” to a “main stage, primary consideration.” According to PewResearchCenter’s latest data on Technology Device Ownership:
- 68 percent of US adults have a Smartphone (up from 35 percent in 2011)
- Tablet computer ownership has edged up to 45 percent among adults
- Smartphone ownership is nearing the saturation point with some groups
- Smartphone owners are likely to be upscale; younger, affluent, and educated
- 86 percent of those ages 18-29, and 83 percent of ages 30-49 have a Smartphone
- Close to half of all Americans own a tablet
- Conversely, the adoption of desktop or laptop devices has dipped slightly
- Desktop computer ownership—at about 70 percent—is largely unchanged in a decade
For healthcare—where online access to health information is a primary front door—this means that progressive hospital and medical marketing planners need to account for the ubiquitous small screens as a primary touch point (and not an also-ran).
This is an important distinction because…
A website that simply accommodates a big-screen-to-mobile-screen adaptation, may be hoping for a “reasonably close” translation. Many websites are now several years old. And except for an occasional minor update, they were built for the Internet and the user of days past. (Worse, some medical provider sites are an embarrassment; they have never been updated or properly cared for, and are probably costing you money.)
Is a re-orientation needed for your website and Internet planning? The critical message for healthcare marketing is that for many hospitals and providers, ubiquitous mobile devices are now the entry point for many situations. And strategy and planning for the small screen may require a fresh retooling for healthcare marketing.