By Raheim Bundle
Director of Paid Digital Strategies
Think of it as a “spring cleaning.” Or “time for a tune-up.” Or even a “wellness checkup.” You’re probably overdue.
If you haven’t given your healthcare website much thought lately, there’s an excellent chance that the digital front door to your practice or hospital is not operating at peak performance…and not ready for prime time.
When healthcare organizations approach us for help, it’s sadly common to discover that “benign neglect” has caused their website to wither and lose competitive position. Instead of attracting and retaining new patients, many well-intended sites—for doctors, hospitals, group practices and medical facilities—become virtually invisible online.
What aggravates the situation further is—while your website is in “set-and-forget” mode—search giant Google and other Internet forces are constantly updating and enhancing the online-ether-space between you and prospective new patients. The Internet never stops changing, and it doesn’t take long for your website to be long-gone.
As you know (hopefully), this month Google is instituting some far-reaching algorithm changes—a dire warning in fact—that are especially important to hospital and healthcare websites. More about this in a minute, but the consequences could mean that your site will rank lower in search results.
Peak Performance Assessment…
If you’d like some help with this, please give us a call. We are often asked to provide website reviews and peak-performance assessments, plus we have the marketing and technical experience to spot (and fix) online visibility troubles.
For a full peak performance assessment we look at roughly 200 or so interrelated (and sometimes complex) elements of a website. Among these, a few dozen are particularly important for the site to be well ranked in search results, attract visitors and generate marketing response.
Here’s a countdown of five top website checkpoints that are critical elements in the ever-changing formula for success.
Number 5: LOCAL SEARCH ENGINE VISIBILITY – Increasingly, Google and other search engines give greater weight to delivering results that are close and convenient to the user. For obvious reasons an online visitor is more likely to connect with a business, resource or healthcare service that is nearby. We need to look at several considerations that come into play for optimum local visibility.
Number 4: CALL TO ACTION – More often than you might realize, website visitors need to be guided to “what to do next.” Elements of design, text/content and navigation work together to inspire the visitor to take an appropriate action step. A good website will provide both the incentive and the means for the visitor to take action.
Number 3: NAME/ADDRESS/PHONE – You might think this is a complete no-brainer, but surprisingly (cringe) the vital “NAP” info is often hidden or completely missing from web pages. What’s more, search engines are looking for the name/address/phone information and it can make a difference in page ranking as well as in visitor responsiveness.
Number 2: REFRESH AUTHORITATIVE CONTENT – Website visitors and search engines expect and appreciate new online information. Conversely, web pages that never change are regarded as stale and ultimately not interesting to visitors. This “staleness factor” (not a technical term) is dragging down your visibility. In addition to updates and changes to various site pages, having and using a connected or integrated blog is a means to engage site visitors. And regular updates with new, fresh and authoritative content is an important performance plus.
Number 1: RESPONSIVE SITE DESIGN – The absolute “must-have” test for websites currently—according to repeated reminders from Google—is that the site is able to detect mobile searches and respond with a mobile-friendly design. In a big way, Google and other search engines recognize the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. While this can be important when the visitor is searching for a nearby movie theater, visitor searches for medical or hospital services can be urgent and are often facilitated from “small screen” phones.
These and other factors can mean the difference between a prominent online presence and being invisible. If you need assistance, please give Healthcare Success a call. We can help you evaluate your website for responsive (mobile friendly) design—in fact, we have technical evaluation tools for Google’s new requirements.
In addition, we can help with these and other checkpoints in a peak performance assessment of your healthcare or hospital website. For related reading, see: Updating your Website for Fun and Profit. And give us a call today at 800-656-0907. Let’s talk about a website evaluation. More than ever, if they can’t find you online, you just don’t exist.