It’s finally happening! Download speed on mobile devices has been increasingly important. Google recently announced that, starting July 2018, your organization’s mobile search ranking will be impacted by your page load speed. Their recommendation is to improve site speed to under 3 seconds. So is your healthcare organization ready to run with these changes?

Why This Matters
For context, Google periodically shifts their search algorithm to prioritize what they see as important to consumers. In the past, they’ve updated their algorithm to prioritize things like sites that are optimized for local search so consumers searching for goods and services nearby can more easily find what they need. This latest announcement confirms what we’ve known for some time: Google considers mobile experiences to be even more important than in the past. As more searches happen on mobile, Google is optimizing their algorithm to provide more relevant search experiences for consumers, which means your organization has to follow suit and provide the same in order to show up in and dominate search.

The Stats, According to Google

  • 56% of healthcare searches happen on mobile.
  • “Urgent care near me” is searched for nearly as often, and sometimes more, as “coffee near me”
  • 53% of consumers will abandon a mobile site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load

With these facts in mind, there are a number of things you can do to improve your mobile speed and experience so your organization doesn’t get lost in the shakeup.

How You Can Improve
The idea is that improving your mobile site speed will actually increase your conversions – or help your unknown website visitors turn into known consumers who schedule appointments and procedures with your organization. To actually improve your site speed, however, you need to know what you’re working with.

  • Assess your site speed with Google’s developer tool at: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ to see what your current mobile speeds are
  • Audit your images for both file size and number of images per page and reduce file sizes or image numbers where appropriate
  • Check for blocking scripts and remove them wherever you can
  • Evaluate how all of your page assets – everything from content to metadata – are delivered and optimize them for mobile

Search optimization is a continuous process, so you shouldn’t feel too daunted if you’ve got a lot of work to do. Small improvements over time can still make a big impact.

Tips
Mobile design prioritizes slightly different web page elements than desktop design, so it’s important to know where to put your design muscle to make the most impact. After you prioritize site speed in your overall goals, you’ll want to look at other page aspects that can make or break the mobile experience for your consumers.

  • Is the overall design mobile-friendly or responsive?
  • Are your menus clear and simple?
  • Do your CTAs appear before the need to scroll?
  • Do you offer click-to-call for facilities or appointments?
  • Are forms auto-fill?
  • Is site search visible?

If you’re running separate mobile and desktop sites, you understand the work and headaches involved in creating user-friendly design for different experiences and applications. By finding a website solution that offers built-in responsive design capabilities, you’re not only easing some of the burden in terms of design, you’re also ensuring that your web experiences are more consumer friendly, no matter which device people use to find you.

Want more insight into ranking well in search? Read our guide, The Quest to Be Found: A Local Search Best Practices eBook.