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Not Mobile-Friendly? Expect a Drop in Website Traffic

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 3:24:00 PM

Jeremy Diet

 by Jeremy Dietz

Here’s yet another compelling reason to make sure your hospital’s website provides a great experience to people who use mobile devices: Google has started to rank nonmobile websites even lower than before in searches conducted using mobile devices.

Google began emphasizing mobile websites a couple of years ago by marking sites that it considered mobile-friendly with a badge in search results. Then, last year, the search engine announced that mobile-friendliness would be a factor in how well a site ranked for searches conducted on mobile devices. You may remember the build-up to what many dubbed “mobilegeddon.” (You may also remember that the results weren’t as dramatic as the name.)

The new update shows that Google isn’t finished emphasizing mobile-friendly websites. In fact, it is probably just getting started.

While it’s too early to know how many sites will be affected by this new update or what the effects will be, there’s little doubt that organizations whose websites don’t work well on mobile will experience a drop in search visibility and traffic.

Most of the healthcare organizations I work with have a mobile-friendly website at this point. But for some, it’s still a wish-list item. With more people using smartphones and more searches being done on mobile devices, now is the time to make sure your website is optimized for the small screen.

Check your site’s mobile-friendliness
Not sure if your hospital website’s mobile presence is good enough? If you don’t have a responsive site or at least a separate mobile site, the answer is probably no.

There are two relatively easy ways to find out how mobile-friendly Google thinks your site is:

Examine your site analytics
Your website’s analytics can also provide a wealth of information about how well you’re doing in mobile search and how useful your site is to people who visit on mobile devices. Here are some things to look for:

  • Is traffic from mobile trending up or down? A long-term downward trend is out of line with what’s happening across the Web and could indicate a problem.
  • Has the amount of organic search traffic from mobile devices changed since Google’s latest mobile update rolled out? A drop in traffic could indicate that you aren’t ranking as well as you used to for mobile searches.
  • What’s the bounce rate for mobile visitors compared with desktop visitors? A high bounce rate could indicate that people who visit your site on mobile don’t like what they see.

Jeremy Dietz is the executive digital editor at Coffey Communications, where he oversees the creation of digital healthcare content and advises hospitals and health plans about SEO and digital content strategy. Contact Jeremy at



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