By Mary Kay Miller
– Orthopreneur Internet Marketing
So what happened? Not much – at least not yet. We braced for a shockwave in April. Google was updating their mobile search algorithm and it was supposed to shake things up quite a bit. Websites that were not mobile-friendly ran the risk of dropping in the mobile search results.
So far, ten weeks after the update was rolled out, only about 5% of mobile searches have been affected. It was far from the hammer blow that some were anticipating. Many local search markets saw no change at all and confirmed by the Orthopreneur Internet Marketing team as we tested more than 100 orthodontic websites that were either responsive, offered separate mobile sites, or no mobile application at all.
In the weeks before April 21st, early adopters of mobile websites and responsive site designs licked their chops as the impending doom of their tortoise-like competitors approached. Digital-savvy business owners waited eagerly to distance themselves from the unassuming competition who had not updated their sites.
But then April 21st came and went with little impact. The update did not come down with the kind of clout many suspected it would have. So was the update a dud? Or is it merely waiting to bear its teeth?
This Google mobile algorithm update garnered considerable attention and with good reason, but it did not live up to expectations. However, its relatively wimpy first impression should not be taken lightly as proof outdated mobile applications on websites will maintain their rank indefinitely both in desktop and mobile search.
Think of it not as an official pardon but rather a stay of execution. There is still time to strengthen your Internet marketing and online branding if you are lagging behind. Rankings and search engines aside, your practice requires a well-rounded digital representation for visitors that accurately reflects your level of expertise, customer service, and engagement with modern technology.
Face it – a prospective new patient’s first experience occurs in the digital world on websites, local search, and social media. You wouldn’t want your practice to be the last one in your area to offer the latest and greatest treatment options, so why would you allow your practice to fall behind offering the latest and greatest in online experiences?
I’m Already Responsive – What About Me?
You’re the practice that keeps up with the latest trends and already upgraded your website to a responsive design. That was a good move!
My recommendation is to be sure to check your responsive site on all digital devices and browsers. Don’t just check it on your desktop computer and your iPhone. Check it on an iPad, mini iPad, and all size Android devices. This can easily be accomplished with a quick visit to your nearby Verizon or AT&T store that sells multiple devices. Still not convenient? Have staff, friends, and family check it on their devices too. This includes Safari on Macs and browsers on PCs like Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome. Responsive sites are programmed for performance on different size formats and can be quirky with performance. Make sure yours is working correctly in all applications.
One thing to remember about local search algorithms is that they are very fluid, with lots of moving parts, and prone to constant change, especially on Google. Just because the first wave of Google’s “mobilegeddon” was a bust, it does not mean we won’t see an aftershock in the form of another update. Be forewarned, the next update might not be announced ahead of time and may leave your local web presence in the dust if you do not have an existing mobile solution.
For more information about orthodontic responsive website design, SEO, Local Business marketing, and how to test your web presence in local search, contact Orthopreneur at (877) 295-5611 for a FREE local search evaluation or visit http://www.orthopreneur.com/.