Mobile Search Optimization: Turning Neighbours Into Patients

Mobile devices have taken over. Unlike other media including TV, radio, print and even desktop-based internet usage, people spend more time per day using the internet on their phone or tablet each year. People search for things differently when they’re on a mobile device—and Google gives them different search results—so let’s get up to speed on how to help mobile users find your clinic quickly and easily.

How People Search Differently on a Mobile Device

94% of smartphone owners look for local information on their phone. In fact, over half of the searches people do on their phone have local intent. Whether they want a chiropractor or a restaurant, they’re looking for something nearby.

And these searches lead to action. When people search on a desktop computer, they usually take up to a week to put those search results into action. On a mobile device, 70% of searches are acted on within an hour. Researchers have found that 61% of mobile searches result in a phone call.

Google, You’ve Changed!

In April 2015, Google made some significant changes in how it displays search results on smartphones. These changes did not affect search results on desktop computers or tablets. One of the biggest changes they made was to boost the search rankings for mobile-friendly webpages in their phone-based search results. This means that if your website is not “mobile-friendly”, it will show up in a Google search done on a desktop but it might not show up in a search on a phone. Since mobile users are the most likely to take action quickly, it’s important to show up in these results.

As a business owner, you may have been frustrated to see your site drop in Google’s search results. On the other hand, if your site was already mobile-friendly, you got a boost in rankings.

3 Rules for a Great Mobile Website

  1. Cut Features: If someone can’t find what they’re looking for in the first 5–7 seconds, they will look elsewhere. Focus on the top priorities: Making an appointment, calling you, and getting directions. Other info might not belong on your mobile site.
  2. Cut Content: Keep it short. If you need to include a lot of information, break it up into bite-sized chunks on multiple pages. No one likes scrolling.
  3. Enlarge Interface Elements: Ever clicked the wrong thing by accident on your phone? It’s frustrating if links are too small or too close together. Help your patients out by using big buttons with lots of room.

Tips to Attract Mobile Users to Your Clinic

Have a Mobile-Friendly Website

What does this mean for the way you design your practice’s website? First, you need to have a mobile-friendly website. This is a version of your website that looks great on a phone or a tablet. These screens are smaller, so a simpler version of the site will make it easier for people to use your site on their phone.

Second, think about the actions these users want to take. They want to call you right now, book an appointment online or find directions to your clinic, so keep this information front and centre on your mobile site.

How can you tell if your website is technically mobile-friendly? You can test this yourself at www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly. If your site is not mobile-friendly, Google will offer advice on how to improve your site. You can also click on “Documentation” at the top of the page for more guidance.

Get on Google My Business

Google My Business connects you directly with patients, whether they’re looking for you on Google Search, Maps or Google+. Go to www.google.com/business and click on “Get on Google” to take control of the information listed on Google about your business.

Create High Quality Content

When you’re writing for your website, think about the questions your ideal patients are typing into search engines. These are the pages that will get people onto your website. You might specialize in sports injuries, health and wellness, seniors, orthotics or ergonomics. Your blog posts, videos, tutorials and checklists on these topics will help patients know they’ve found the right fit. Don’t forget to make it easy for people reading these pages to book an appointment with you — all it takes is a link!

Keep Your Contact Info Consistent

Your practice’s contact information is available in many places across the web — including some places you may not have even heard of. Unlike people, the automated programs that search engines use to build their search results may not realize that the following addresses all refer to the same place:

  • 123 Fake Street, Suite 456, Sometown ON, 1A2 B3C
  • 456-123 Fake St., Sometown Ontario, 1A2 B3C
  • 123 Fake Street #456, Sometown ON, 1A2B3C

To help search engines recognize your practice’s address, spell and format your address exactly the same way every time. Pay attention to whether you use abbreviations or not, and whether you include a space in your postal code.

Update your address for consistency wherever you can find it online. Here are some places to start:

  • Your website
  • Your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc)
  • Chiropractor Locators: CCA, CCO and OCA
  • Google My Business
  • MapQuest
  • 411.ca
  • Yellowpages.ca
  • Yelp
  • Yahoo!
  • Bing

Learn More

This article was originally published in the Winter 2016 issue of ON Chiropractic magazine.

You can learn much more about this topic by watching our Webinar on Demand, Mobile Search Optimization: Turning Neighbours Into Patients, now available as a video and an MP3. Falk Jaehnchen from Spark Marketing explains local Search Engine Optimization, shows how to improve your mobile search rankings and discusses how quickly you can expect these efforts to pay off. Spark Marketing is a full service digital agency and an OCA Advantages Partner.