In healthcare we’re constantly fighting regulation changes, reimbursement cuts and the daily challenges of finding new patients and retaining current patients. It’s simply unfair, am I right? Now, we’re even going to have to adjust to changes outside the realm of our ever-changing medical industry. Google has announced that as of this week, they have changed the algorithm they use to rank all websites.  

So what does this mean for us in health care?

First, let’s take a look at how this new algorithm will affect how websites are ranked. Basically, Google has decided that all websites should be mobile-friendly for users on the go. If a website is not mobile-optimized, meaning it shows up all wonky when a user opens it on their phone or tablet, then the website will be taking a hit. Google will rank the website lower, which will negatively impact the website’s organic ranking and Adword placement.

 

This change isn’t coming from out of the blue. Google has been encouraging companies to take the mobile-optimization route for the last few years. Mobile should be a priority in your marketing, if for no other reason than the rapid adoption of mobile searching and usage. Cue all the Webmaster late bloomers, rushing to reconfigure their websites and exploring mobile web optimization.

 

For those of us in healthcare marketing, we need to get out ahead of the curve. When it comes to Internet marketing, we as a group are not particularly modern. The time is now however to take the road less traveled and beat your competition to the table, because they are likely not heeding this advice. Patients are going online more than ever for health care information; in fact 80% of people say the Internet is the first place they turn for medical advice and guidance. That means that as health care providers, it’s necessary for us to join the conversation and be available to those patients who are doing mobile searches.


What can you do to get started?

·      Do some research on the subject, here are a couple great articles:

o   http://mashable.com/2015/04/21/google-mobile-search-2/

o   http://www.searchenginejournal.com/googles-frequent-algorithm-updates-affect-paid-search/121708/

·      Validate your site with Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

·      Use Google’s Webmaster’s Mobile Guide, which is free: https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/

·      Use Google Webmaster Tools to check out your mobile traffic’s behavior like top search queries and pages

·      Do some testing on your own for your website and your competition

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