Google has officially announced that on April 21 it will be making a major change to its algorithm affecting mobile search results. Google called the change “significant” and indicated that for mobile searches, mobile friendly websites would be prioritized. Consequently, sites that are not mobile friendly will see major ranking drops on mobile search.
If you do not have a mobile friendly site, you will lose significant search traffic volume. For healthcare practices, this could mean a direct loss of revenue. If you do not currently have a mobile website (or preferably, a responsive website), it is imperative to begin now.
Google’s Path to the New Changes
Google has always said that its goal was to provide users with search results that would give users the best experience. Lately, Google has been focusing a lot on mobile. Over the past few months, Google has been rolling out many changes around mobile, leading us to believe a major change like this would be coming. With these minor changes and now an explicit, major warning, we know that there will be significant impact. Here is what we have seen so far:
- “Mobile Friendly” search results. When you do a search on a mobile device, Google has started to implement text indicating that the result was “mobile friendly” if the website met certain criteria which were determined to provide a good mobile experience. This was designed to point users towards mobile website on mobile devices.
Google’s insertion of “mobile friendly” helps the user to find pages which will bring a good experience.
- Webmaster Tools Warning. Later, Google introduced a notification in Webmaster Tools to “fix mobile usability issues.” This notice was given to website owners who did not have a mobile site, and included a list of specific issues that provide a poor user experience on mobile devices as well as guidelines to help improve the experience. This notification, though not explicitly so, was a pretty clear indication that Google was more aggressively making changes regarding mobile.
Webmaster Tools Notification to fix mobile usability issues
- Specific Announcement. The most recent announcement, that Google would change its algorithm for mobile on April 21st, is highly significant. Google does not typically give a date for an algorithm change, nor do they specifically provide information about the change. This is clearly not an attempt to punish, but an attempt to provide the best user experience possible. Google wants to work with website owners on this issue. We also know that the change will be drastic, as Google specifically used the word “significant”.
How Much Does Not Having a Mobile Website Cost?
Unfortunately, not having a mobile website will now wind up costing medical practices money. With the pending change in Google search results, it is highly likely that users will lose a significant amount of search traffic from mobile devices. We don’t know exactly how much, but we believe 75% is a safe estimate.
In order to start getting an idea of how much this can cost, we have created a test scenario. For this experiment, we will create 2 assumptions
- Your website converts 2% of it’s traffic (your site may convert more or less, but we have found that this is a safe average number for the sample).
- Each new patient is worth $2,000
The next variable is the amount of traffic your website receives. Below we will use data from the reporting section in the Points Group client portal (which will be released soon as a Beta version to Points Group clients). If you do not have access, you can get similar data in Google Analytics. In Google Analytics the data is found in the left-hand menu under Audience > Mobile > Overview.
In the case below, there were 1,586 visits from mobile phone and tablet users. At 2% conversion rate that is 32 leads in a month, worth a total of $64,000.
If 75% of those visits are lost due to a lack of mobile optimization, that leaves:
- 397 visits
- 8 conversions
- $16,000 revenue
That is a total amount of $48,000 per month, or $576,000 PER YEAR lost due to not having a mobile website. This is significant money!
You cannot afford to be missing a mobile website any longer. In 2015, mobile websites are no longer optional; they are mandatory. Drop us a line if you need help getting your mobile marketing off the ground. We can help you create and execute a plan to increase your leads and revenue, and stop changes from hurting your bottom line.
How Does Your Website Look in Mobile?
If you want to test how your website (or any other) looks in a mobile browser, Google has made it fairly easy to do using the Chrome browser:
- First, go to any website using the Chrome browser.
- Next, right click anywhere on the page and select “inspect element” (this should be last item. If you don’t see it, click a different spot. Some website elements do stop this option from appearing.)
- You’ll see a bunch of code come up on the bottom of the site, but don’t be intimidated. You don’t need to know it. Just click on the phone next to the magnifying glass in the menu that popped up:
- Once you do that, you will get a few new features that appear. You can use the drop down “select device” to check virtually any device.
- Once you select the device, you just need to refresh the page and close out the “inspect element” window on the right side of the screen, opposite of the magnifying glass and mobile phone icon you clicked earlier. After that, you should see the mobile version of the website you are viewing.
Another tip to see how well you are mobile optimized is to go to www.google.com and do a search for your practice. Then, repeat the steps here to see what the search results look like on a mobile device. If the words “mobile friendly” do not appear in the search results, then you may be at risk of being marginalized on April 21st.
How Does Your Site Look?
If you are seeing the warning signs of being “mobile unfriendly”, or you just want us to help you figure this all out, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you get ready for the changes!