We all know that Google is the search engine leader of the internet, and we’ve all heard the saying, “Google it.” With more than 60% market share in the United States (and growing every year), Google is rapidly becoming the preferred search engine in other parts of the world as well. Bottom line: Google is REALLY important to your business, reputation, and marketing efforts.
In order to give you a better understanding of how Google is effecting your business RIGHT NOW, we’d like to provide some quick background. Google was cofounded by Stanford students Larry Page and Sergey Brin in the 1990’s. The underlying key to Google’s early success was that the algorithms behind this search engine were different from those that came before. Algorithms, as Google explains them, are simply computer processes and formulas that look for clues to turn questions into answers. You see, Larry and Sergey believed that web page authority and relevance could be derived algorithmically by indexing the entire website and then analyzing the connections between links, or who links to whom. While the Google algorithm is wayyy more complex than simply analyzing who links to whom, it was this process of algorithmically analyzing links that separated Google from the competition. Fast forward to 2016, and we now know that Google’s algorithms rely on over 200 unique “clues” or signals that determine the relevancy of a website (and therefore, how a site will rank in online searches). These clues determine whether your site is at the front of the classroom or at the back, and include things like: content freshness, terms on your website, your region, etc.
Ok, the Google lesson is over. Now how does all of this apply to you? Well, in recent years Google has been relentlessly pushing everyone (including medical websites) toward a more accurate and exemplary mobile-friendly experience. In fact, last year (on April 21rst, 2015 to be exact) Google released a new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that is specifically designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results. The change was so monumental that the date this algorithm was released is referred to as “mobilepocalypse” by many. In short, Google’s latest mobile search algorithm update is either sabotaging or rewarding websites according to mobile friendliness factors. Without getting too technical and geeking out completely with Search Engine Optimization lingo, here’s why all of this is important to you: Medical and healthcare websites that are easily viewed on mobile devices will rank higher on mobile search results pages (the reward). However, a non-mobile friendly website will rank even lower than before (the sabotage). So yeah, last year’s algorithm update was a strong SEO ranking signal, with the bottom line being: Google has essentially put a “virtual mandate” on websites to put mobile users first.
While Google never gives away its algorithm details, they do publish useful information such as Mobile Optimization Guidelines for website owners and webmasters. And it’s not only about being mobile friendly, but having a website that is responsive in design. Having a “responsive” website simply means that the website is designed to smoothly provide patients with an optimal experience by automatically detecting the type of device being used (and displaying content based on that device).
The thing is, Google knows a trend when it sees it, and statistics reveal that internet access via mobile devices has soared by more than 65% in recent months. That percentage seems to be growing more and more as time passes, with mobile devices and apps accounting for approximately 60% of all digital traffic. Quick reality check: are you reading this right now on a smartphone?
Healthcare and medical website owners absolutely need to update their website with mobile-friendly changes if they currently have a non-mobile friendly website. There are changes that you can make, and companies who will provide website SEO audits (that can test for mobile friendliness). Should you choose not to have a mobile-friendly website, you can expect to be treated as a SEO straggler by Google and will be reseated at the back of the room, while you watch your competition shoot to the front.
The great news is, at Medical Site Solutions ALL of our website designs are already built to be mobile friendly and responsive! Our designs look beautiful on smartphones, tablets, and desktops. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, or have an outdated and older looking site in general, it may be time for a change. Check out our responsive designs today and let us know how we can help you achieve your goals.