By Steven Jacobs
Google, the Search Engine Goliath, has been relentlessly pushing everyone— including medical marketing websites —toward a more perfect mobile-friendly experience. Google’s latest mobile search algorithm update is killing, or rewarding, websites according to “mobile friendliness” factors.
Without getting too technical or lost in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) jargon, here’s what you need to know, and why, more than ever, this is important to you today.
Simply, hospital and medical marketing websites that are easily viewed on mobile devices will rank higher on mobile search results pages (the reward). But, a mobile-unfriendly website will rank even lower than before (the penalty).
Google never gives away it’s algorithm details, but they do publish Mobile Optimization Guidelines for site owners and webmasters. More than simply being “mobile friendly,” responsive website design seamlessly provides the user with an optimal experience. A responsive website detects and displays content based on the type of device they are using.
If this sounds familiar, Google has been going down this path for some time. About a year ago, web publishers were strongly advised to recognize the emphasis on the mobile user experience. It turns out that last year’s change was a strong SEO ranking signal. But, as of right now, it’s stronger than ever, and a virtual carrot-or-stick mandate to put mobile users first.
To worry or not to worry…
The healthcare website owners that responded with mobile-friendly changes in the past year may need a test and a tune-up to enjoy the added PageRank benefits. On the other hand, any SEO laggards can expect to be reseated at the back of the room, and watch your competition move to the head of the class.
Google knows a bandwagon when it sees it. Statistics reveal that Internet access, using mobile devices, soared by more than 65 percent in recent months. And, by most accounts, mobile devices and apps account for 60 percent of digital traffic. [ComScore] (Quick reality check: Are you reading this on a smartphone right now?)
Test your healthcare website…
With this additional Google change, it makes good sense to test your medical marketing website, or update and improve your responsive site. It’s also an opportunity to get ahead of the competition with stronger mobile search results (and avoid a downside penalty).
We can help with that. Contact us today about a free website SEO audit, including the mobile-friendliness. And, for related reading on this topic, see our previous article: Retooling Healthcare Marketing for the Small Screen.