If you’re thinking about redesigning your site, building a new one, or just making some updates, be sure you’re keeping user experience in mind. While we’ve always known that a good user experience can lead to patient acquisition, Google is now stating that it can contribute to high rankings on search engines. If you’re the first to be found AND have the best experience for your potential patients, you’ve nearly mastered the equation for conversions! Make it a top priority and you should have patients in your door in no time.
What Is User Experience?
If you’re reading this, you’re a user. You have opinions based on how a site looks, flows, and performs, and those opinions may eventually lead to whether or not you choose a specific business. Ideally, your site should be built with the opinions of as many users as possible in mind. The ultimate goal is to make sure that your site gives off the perception of your practice: clean, organized, and efficient! If you do that, users will convert to patients and thus you have completed part of your acquisition funnel.
How Does It Impact Ranking?
Google has placed emphasis on user experience for quite some time, so it’s definitely been of importance. In fact, some of the things that are of the utmost importance for user experience are already ranking factors, such as:
- Page Speed
- HTTPS (Secure Certificates)
- Mobile Friendly Design
- Clean Design (i.e, no intrusive items)
Each of those items should already be on your SEO checklist. But beyond that, Google has stated that they will be focusing on what’s called your Core Web Vitals, which will include the above, but in a refined manner. The Core Web Vitals will include three groups: Loading, Interactivity, and Visual Stability. Each of these groups will have their own weights as far as the ranking of your site is concerned. For example, if your site loads slowly (more than 2.5 seconds), you may see that sites that are loading quicker are ranking higher. Although it is certainly beneficial for your site to maintain Google’s standards on any of those Core Web Vitals, it will benefit you even more to keep all three in check.
What Do I Do for My Current Website?
If you’re building a new website, let the experts handle it for you! If you’re not looking to rebuild, but want to make sure that you stay ahead of your competitors, there are a few things you can do.
Prepare for the Update
Sounds simple enough, right? The biggest thing you can do is be proactive. Google typically doesn’t warn people of their rollouts, but they have promised about 6 months notice on this one, giving a bit more time to focus on making it work. One can assume that this is correlated to the pandemic and the recent algorithm update all having big impacts. Take some time to scan your site for the items mentioned above (especially page speed, mobile friendliness, and HTTPS), and take a quick look at the Core Web Vitals report that Google sneakily put into your Google Search Console accounts. It’s super helpful and can save you ample time figuring out your current issues.
Don’t Stop Optimizing
Just because these are important ranking factors doesn’t meant that the other ones go out the window. Keep optimizing your site using technical SEO components along with strong content. Google has never changed their stance that good content = strong rankings. Make sure to keep adding useful, relevant content to your practice. Make sure it’s engaging, readable, and relevant, and your practice will continue to rank on SERPs as you focus on these new items.
Put Thought Into Your Layout
If you’ve just been cramming content into your site with zero thought or organization, now’s the perfect time to analyze and adjust. Are people funneling into your site as they should be to reach certain pages? Are those pages connected to sub pages that are relevant? Are your callouts and calls-to-action strong? If you answered yes, then bravo! If not, map out your pages on your site and then determine a new, improved layout. Not only will your patients (and potential patients) thank you, but you’ll reap the benefits sooner rather than later.
If you’re looking to improve your current website or online marketing, or are wanting to know more about how you can stay proactive for this upcoming update, contact us today! We’re here to help, and look forward to funneling those patients to your practice.