By now, you’re probably aware of the importance of having a strong only presence. Regardless of how great your services are, you can’t succeed today if you ignore the digital space.
So, you’ve created a professional looking website for your physical therapy clinic, you’ve optimized it, and you’ve focused on getting quality backlinks from relevant, authority sites. You’ve added a blog to your site where you publish fresh content regularly.
But, just when you thought you’ve got SEO all figured out, the mobile revolution comes in, and Google changes the rules once again.
So, what can you do to keep pace and make sure your PT clinic will continue to rank high in search results?
This article will teach you everything you need to know about mobile-first and why you need to start thinking beyond the desktop computer.
We Live in a Mobile-First World
People now have the capability to research whenever and however they want on their mobile devices. They can read product reviews, keep in touch with friends and family, shop or find inspiration on Pinterest. Everything they want and need is now available at their fingertips. Consumers today have become almighty, clicking, tapping, and swiping their ways, looking for the products and services that fit their current needs best.
According to recent data, three out of every five searches happen on mobile, and three out of four mobile searches trigger a follow-up action. In fact, studies have shown that 55% of conversions, such as a purchase, store visit or phone call happen within an hour after the mobile search is performed. If that’s not enough, then you should also learn that as of November 2016, mobile website views have surpassed desktop views.
The outcome is obvious and inevitable: we live in a mobile-first world, and we need to adapt. However, in spite of the ubiquity of mobile devices, a lot of physical therapy clinics still prioritize desktop computers over mobile. They plan their marketing strategies with the desktop in mind and then work from the biggest screen down to the smallest. It should be the other way around.
A Look at Mobile-First Indexing
Google is constantly looking for ways to keep its search engine indicative of the searchers’ current needs. Today, the vast majority of users rely on mobile devices for most of their online activity, so, of course, Google is prioritizing them.
The search giant has been releasing updates designed to make the internet more welcoming for mobile devices users for a while now, but it’s now starting to roll out a mobile-first version of its index, signaling that the game is about to change.
What is mobile-first index exactly?
As you probably already know, Google collects information about every web page in an index. That way, when someone searches for something, the engine can display search results that accurately match the query. Up until now, Google focused on desktop searches to understand user intent, treating mobile as an important but secondary ranking factor.
Things have changed now, and Google has made it clear that it will favor mobile-friendly websites over desktop ones. If you physical therapy clinic’s website is not optimized for mobile, your rankings will suffer both on the mobile and desktop versions.
What that means is that if your PT clinic’s website is not optimized for mobile and they access it, they will probably bounce in a second. Mobile users have no patience for sites that take too much to load or are hard to navigate.
The Impact of Mobile-First Indexing on Your PT Clinic’s Website
The way people search and shop have changed. Most people nowadays don’t go anywhere without their mobile devices.
One recent study found that young people spend 25 hours every week on their phones browsing through blogs, social media, and e-commerce stores. Another study found that 85% of them use their smartphones to research product and services. So, if a prospective patient reads an article about how to treat a running injury, learns about physical therapy and then researchers a PT clinic on Google, it should be easy for them to find your clinic via a mobile search.
Not having a mobile website will affect your prospects’ experience and, ultimately, your SEO ranking. For example, if the mobile version of your PT clinic’s website has less content than the desktop version, it could affect your visitors’ impressions of your brand.
How to Get Started with Mobile First
To help you get started with mobile first indexing, we’ve rounded up a few tips you need to consider when building or updating your PT clinic’s website.
1. Prepare for the Paradigm Shift
The old way of making sure your PT clinic website ranked high in Google was to build a professional, fully optimized website and work from there to create the mobile-friendly version. In the mobile-first world, that paradigm has shifted, and you need to design a professional and fully optimized mobile website first and then work your way up to the desktop version.
This new way of planning and designing your site also forces you to rethink the experience prospective patients have on your page. Since there’s not that much space on a mobile screen, you have to pay careful attention to the content you provide and really ask yourself: is this information useful? Does it add any value? If the answer is no, then it’s best not to include it.
2. Responsive Design Is the Key
Responsive design means that your PT clinic’s website looks and performs flawlessly regardless of the device potential patients use to access it.
People don’t want to have to zoom in on their screens to be able to read the content on your website. They want to access information easily and have an enjoyable experience regardless of the size of the screen.
Don’t expect your potential patients to have the patience to browse your website if it looks odd or the navigation is complicated. They will probably just do a quick search and choose a website that will demand less effort on their part.
Try to put yourself in their shoes when navigating on your website from your smartphone. Answer honestly: would you bother zooming in and out to read the content on your site? Of course, not!
Provide a great mobile user experience, and your prospects will pay more attention to what you have to offer.
3. Focus on Website Performance
Due to the proliferation of data connection and Wi-Fi, mobile users expect sites to load as fast as they would on their desktop. If it takes too long, they will hit the close button and move away to your competition.
In fact, studies have shown that 40% of users abandon a website if it takes too much to load and 44% of them will tell a friend about the poor experience they had.
For how long are people willing to wait for a site to load?
Well, for about three seconds.
If it takes longer than that, they will bounce.
If you want to PT clinic’s website to perform better, then you need to optimize your CSS files, reduce the size of your images, cut down the number of plugins, and minimize HTTP requests.
4. Optimize Your Content for Mobile
Mobile provides a different reading experience than desktop mainly because you have more flexibility regarding when and where you read. Here are some tips to keep in mind to create mobile content your prospective patients would love.
Stick with Short and Catchy But Do Not Cut on the Essentials
When it comes to mobile content, the first golden rule you need to bear in mind is: there’s not that much space on that tiny screen. The content you provide should be well adapted to the “space” restrictions that mobile holds. Otherwise, your prospective patients might not appreciate your content as great as it might be.
Keep your headlines between 5-8 words and stick with short sentences. Use bullet points, numbers, lists, or anything that makes it easy to scan through the content.
Have the Important Information Load First
Since you don’t have that much space, you need to make sure that the most important information comes first.
Keep in Mind What the Eyes See First
If on the desktop the eyes move in an F-shaped pattern, when it comes to scrolling down your phone, what people see first is the center and top half of the screen. Keep this in mind and try to put the important information in this area of the screen. It is where the title, headlines and the main body of the text are, so focus on making them as catchy as possible.
Create Touch Friendly Icons
Nobody loves having to click on a tiny icon on a mobile phone if it all looks crowded and messy. The simple thought of not clicking the right icon or link makes a lot of users dread adventuring on cluttered websites when navigating on their mobile phones.
It is essential you take into consideration the architecture of a mobile-friendly content since it will be a game changer for your audience.
Make sure that all touch targets have to have a minimum distance of 44 pixels wide with 44 pixels tall between them. Keep the screen as “clean” as possible so that it doesn’t send the cluttered vibe to your audience.
The way people are searching the web has changed dramatically in the last few years. As more and more people adopt mobile as their preferred medium, companies need to rethink the way they are building websites and mapping the customer experience. The only way to remain relevant in this fast-changing market is by adopting a mobile-first mindset.
You can’t conquer the digital space without an engaging website. PatientSites.com can help you design a website that will please both potential patients and the search engines. Get in touch with us and we can help you create a site that will make a great impression from the first second.