Mobile SEO For Medical Websites
Start With Checking Your Medical Practice’s Website For SEO and Mobile Optimizations, and Call-To-Action. 82 Percentage of Patients Visit Your Site From a Mobile Device.
Twenty years ago, being able to view the internet on a phone-like device was science fiction. The closest you could get was a laptop with a Wi-Fi card or where you could plug into a phone jack or ethernet port. Ten years ago, the vast majority of website traffic to your medical website was from desktop computers. Starting about five years ago, traffic from mobile devices became a larger share of website traffic. Today, successful medical practices find the majority of their traffic comes from mobile devices and tablets.
How did this happen? The advances in technology not only made handheld devices more powerful and capable of handling these websites, but cellular data networks also became faster and faster. Google considers mobile sites to be so important; they now have a separate search results for mobile device compare to the search results for desktop queries. Google also puts more emphasis on websites that have a mobile version of their website that is user-friendly. The result: It is increasingly more vital for doctors and medical practices to have a mobile-friendly website. Infact, with most recent changes in Google’s algorithms, Google will read your mobile site first for the mobile SEO rankings of your medical website.
Have A Responsive Medical Website
A responsive website, if properly designed, will often satisfy the need for a mobile site. A responsive website will automatically move graphics, change text size, and rearrange your website to the screen of a mobile device or tablet. It does take some design skill, make sure all elements are presented correctly and in an order that would make sense to a potential patient. The advantage of a responsive website is that it will fit on any sized screen it is being viewed on, regardless of it being a phone or tablet. There are many different sized phones and tablets; you can rest assured your information will be easily consumed.
Another option, but not recommended, would be an “Adaptive Website.” Here you create a separate, mobile website that phone and tablet users are directed to when your website detects a visit from that device. Some medical practices use this method because it is a little cheaper, and they do not have to redesign their desktop website. However, they are harder to maintain. Any changes made on one website must be made on the other, as they will not sync up with each other.
The Speed Of Your Mobile Website
One of the keys to mobile optimization is to ensure your mobile website loads up quickly. If you do not compress pictures or graphics, it can take a painfully long time for your website to load up. For every second it takes for your site to load up and be explored, you are losing patients and their engagement.
Some of the most common things that slow down the speed of websites include:
- Large, uncompressed pictures
- Animated pictures used for background wallpaper
- Hosting a video on your website to play automatically
- Too many “Tracking Codes” that need to load up before you can begin
- Over optimization and too many call-to-actions will also have negative impact.
A skilled website designer will be able to look at your website and make recommendations about increasing your site speed. The faster your mobile site loads up, the sooner you can start to engage with your patients.
Don’t Rely On The Past For The Future Of Your Website.
If you have gone a half-decade or more without reviewing the system that is being used to update your website, you should. There are many advances in website design and hosting you may not be taking advantage of today. The chances of your website design and software being out of date are especially true if you are managing your site inhouse with bought software. Today, it is generally better to have a cloud-based website hosting solution. These vendors generally keep their technology up to date and will make changes behind the scenes to ensure they are following the newest and best practices.
A third-party website provider often solves this issue because it is in their best business interest to keep their technology up to date. With that said, it is also in your best interest to check with your competitor websites to see if they have any features that should be incorporated into your website. Also, ask to see other websites your vendor provides service to confirm they are keeping your site as up to date as their other clients.
Look At Your Website From A Patient Perspective
How user-friendly is your website? From the perspective of a current or potential patient, can they find all of the information they need? Is all of the information you have provided easily viewable, navigable, and load up correctly? These are vital questions that need to be answered. First, click through your website and make sure every single link works and is directing people to the right page. For example, your X-ray link shouldn’t send people to our flu shot page. Then, have your staff review the website and click on everything they think needs to be clicked on. Finally, have friends and family who do not work in the medical field review your site. Encourage these other website reviewers to take notes and send back feedback. In most cases, any notes will be minor tweaks that you can easily make. Sometimes, there might be an issue that makes perfect sense to you and your staff who are well versed in the medical field but makes no sense to the public.
Embrace this feedback as a cost-effective way to refine your website. Do not forget to have your testers to check out your website on their mobile phones and not just their desktop computers. Without denoting what platform you want them to check your site on, it will be challenging to get an accurate accounting on how your website functions. In most cases, there will be no problems when a website is viewed on desktop but some issues when viewed on a mobile device.
Test. Test. Test. Initiate A/B testing, and don’t stop.
Think your website is done? It could be, but to have a truly effective website, you should run tests from time to time. What works on someone else’s medical practice website, even a local competitor, may not be as useful on your website. Initiate A/B testing to find out what works best in terms of engagement. A/B testing, in a nutshell, is having two website experiences being presented to your website visitors. 50% see “Version A,” and the other 50% see “Version B.” The differences in these versions should be relatively minor. Some possible things to test to see which one is more effective include:
- Menu Layout
- Website colors
Most A/B testing is done by a third-party vendor, who can then present you the results of these tests. Tests should have some trackable goals. Usually, this sort of testing is associated with the purchase of an online product. However, reasonable goals for a medical practice would be reaching a specific part of your website, asking for directions, or making an appointment with your medical practice. Some extreme testing would be a completely different web design. These actions can generally be tracked if your website is correctly set up by vendors.
Unfortunately, A/B testing is generally harder for a medical practice to do in-house by a doctor or business owner. It can be very time-intensive to set up, and you could be limited by the things you wanted to test. Using a 3rd party vendor is often the preferred choice for this service.
In the past, if you didn’t have a sign out front, you were missing out on new patients. Not long ago, the same applied to a website. Today, you need a website that presents a user-friendly experience to current and potential patients on a mobile device. Achieve that goal, and you are well on your way in positioning yourself to be easily found by patients looking for the services your medical practice provides.