On May 28th, 2020, Google announced one of the biggest changes to their algorithm since 2018. The “Google Page Experience Update” will have a critical impact on how you should look at the development and maintenance of your website and how you create engaging pages and content.
Four Things Your Healthcare Website Needs to Prepare
1. Fast Load Times
Load times are a challenge as you continue to add content, photos and videos to your site. You can address this issue by:
- Compressing files
- Removing empty pages
- Reducing the number of WordPress plugins
- Limiting redirects
It is important to test your load time for desktop as well as for mobile devices. The behavior can be different and might require different configurations and programming.
2. Security and Trust Signals
Security measures matter. Google will flag your website if it is not secured. One way to ensure you are a trustworthy site is to be sure you have a SSL certificate. A SSL certificate is needed in order to:
- A SSL certificate is necessary for an HTTPS web address. HTTPS is the secure form of HTTP with website traffic encrypted by SSL/TLS (securing user data in transit). Most browsers have started tagging HTTP sites as “not secure” in noticeable ways for users in an attempt to encourage sites to switch from HTTP to HTTPS and increase security.
- Verify ownership of the website (authentication)
- Prevent threats by authentication (e.g. spoofing)
Other ways to signal security and trust to users include adding information such as physician bios and affiliations, awards and accreditations, and patient testimonials.
3. Responsive Design
Keep your website up-to-date! You must be proactive in keeping up with the standard website trends in both design and functionality. Your website also must remain up-to-date behind the scenes as well. It’s no longer enough for your website to just be mobile-friendly. Mobile devices, tablets and other smart devices are varying in size, so it’s important the layout of your website adapts to any screen size.
Read more about “Google Mobile First index” here.
4. User-focused Content
High quality content is an important part of the new page experience. Be sure you are answering the questions your audience is asking. Frequently add content to your site to ensure you are improving your search engine optimization (SEO) and gaining credibility.
Optimizing pages for all these factors makes your website a better, easier and more pleasant overall experience for users. Google will start rolling out the changes at the beginning of 2021. Do not wait until the deadline to make changes! Companies that were slow to adjust to the algorithm changes during the 2018 update realized a major negative impact on their site, traffic and overall ranking. Start adjusting today.