Google continues to make the digital world a mobile-first experience. Healthcare providers need to keep up with Google or else they’ll lose ground.

In 2015, Google enacted a massive algorithm update known as Mobilegeddon. With this update, Google rewarded mobile-optimized sites in search results, including content on healthcare systems’ sites. The more mobile-friendly your content was, the higher you would rank in results when people do searches, which, in the healthcare industry, meant everything from “find orthopedic surgeons near me” to “find physicians open on Saturdays.”

By now, you should have responded to Mobilegeddon by optimizing your content for mobile searches. And if Mobileggedon were not enough of a nudge, consumer behavior should have offered a strong motivation for you to be mobile: according to Google, six out of 10 searches are done on mobile devices.

But although Mobilegeddon was drastic, Google still allowed for offering up two types of content for searches: mobile content and desktop content. People on desktops doing searches would find results optimized for the desktop.

But no more.

Google has made it clear that the search giant will enact an update to Mobilegeddon that makes it imperative for healthcare providers to be findable via search. Through a forthcoming algorithm change (whose date is unknown) Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of content — even for listings that are shown to desktop users. No longer will a user get served up two different experiences.

If you fail to optimize your website for the mobile experience, your patients won’t find what they need from you unless they stay on their mobile devices. The organic traffic on your website will nosedive. You will not show up in search results as well as healthcare systems that are optimized for mobile.

So, what should you do?

First, take this test that Google offers to help you assess the mobile-friendliness of your site. It’s fast, easy, and free. Google will let you know how quickly your page loads for mobile queries and what percentage of visitors you will lose based on your load time. (According to Google, 50 percent of people expect a site to load in less than two seconds. And “When it comes to mobile speed, every second matters – for each additional second it takes a mobile page to load, conversions can drop by up to 20%.”)

Depending on the results, you may need to do some work getting your content ready for mobile searches. Your choices, as articulated by my colleague Adam Dorfman, are:

  • Use responsive design whenever possible to make your content adaptable to different viewing formats.
  • Create a separate mobile-friendly site.

And when we say, “optimize for mobile,” we mean everything, including:

  • Basic physician and location data such as name, address, and phone numbers.
  • Deep content including video, images, your mission, and a description of your services.

You should always be adapting to changing consumer behavior, ranging from increasingly mobile searches to voice-based searches. If you are not, now is the time to get started. The downside to waiting is that your digital identity might as well not exist. Yes, the next mobile-first index is that serious.
SIM Partners can help you prepare for a mobile-first world. Contact us.

Jay Hawkinson

Author Jay Hawkinson

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