What Healthcare Needs to Know About Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update

April 11, 2015
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It has become impossible to ignore our growing dependence on mobile devices. Articles across the Web are touting 2015 as “The Year of Mobile,” and this year alone, eMarketer expects worldwide smartphone penetration to reach 1.91 billion and tablet adoption to reach 1 billion.

It has become impossible to ignore our growing dependence on mobile devices. Articles across the Web are touting 2015 as “The Year of Mobile,” and this year alone, eMarketer expects worldwide smartphone penetration to reach 1.91 billion and tablet adoption to reach 1 billion. It comes as no surprise, then, that Google is taking steps to ensure a more pleasant mobile search experience.Healthcare Digital Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Google

This month, Google will introduce a new algorithm update designed to display more mobile-friendly websites and relevant app content in search results. Here’s everything you need to know about this new update and the impact it will have on your healthcare website.

Whom will it affect?

Everyone with a website or mobile application. As Google holds more than 67% of the U.S. search engine market share, optimizing websites and other content for this platform is essential. Search is incredibly important for healthcare marketers in general, as it drives nearly three times as many visitors to hospital sites compared to non-search visitors. Though adapting to Google’s constant stream of algorithm updates may seem overwhelming, doing so will greatly improve your search engine rankings and overall organic reach.

What will it affect?

This update will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in search results. Mobile-friendly websites and indexed mobile applications will appear more predominantly in mobile search results.

When will these changes take place?

Rankings in mobile search results will change on April 21, 2015.

Why should your healthcare practice care?

In 2012, Google and Compete conducted a Hospital Study to help marketers better understand patients’ digital journey to wellness. The study found that search plays an indispensable role in the patient journey and backs this statement with the following facts:

  • 77% of patients used search prior to booking an appointment
  • Patients leverage search for general information (57%), evaluation of specific features (29%), and comparison of offerings across facilities (28%)
  • 43% of visits to hospital sites originate from a search engine
  • Patients who booked appointments conducted 3x as many searches than those who didn’t

But what about the mobile element? The same study found that roughly 1/3 of patients used tablets or mobile devices on a daily basis for research and/or to book appointments. Patients are constantly conducting searches via mobile devices, and if you fail to adapt to this new Google algorithm update you will miss out on valuable click-throughs and engagement from interested users.

How should you prepare your website for these changes?

In the blog post announcing this new algorithm update, Google outlines a few different ways you can optimize your website and applications for mobile search.

However, you’re going to want to stay tuned for our next blog post, “How to Prepare Your Website for Google’s New Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update,” for a deeper dive into action steps you can take to ensure your assets meet Google’s new requirements.