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Will your dental practice website disappear on April 21? Google has some new rules coming up

April 14, 2015
Just when you thought you had the whole dental website and Google search thing figured out, Google goes and changes the rules. Here's what you need to know by April 21!

Googleannounced that on April 21, 2015, the company will enact a new algorithm update that will emphasize mobile-friendly websites. They have declared that on this date, “mobile-friendliness” will be a more powerful ranking signal than ever before. This means that mobile-friendly sites will move the top rankings, pushing non-mobile sites further down in mobile search results.

How will this affect your dental practice website? If your website is not mobile-friendly, yet you currently get a great deal of your new patients from your page 1 rankings, the impact on your website will be significant. You will need to update your website ASAP!

If you’re not sure if this will affect you, you can check your site’s status by using the Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Is your dental practice website is already mobile-friendly? That’s wonderful! You’re all set and should have nothing to worry about come April 21.

But if it’s not mobile-friendly, you need to contact your webmaster/website company and ask about upgrading your website to a responsive web design. If they cannot do this, it is in your practice’s best interest to find a company that can help.

RELATED READING:How to set up Google Analytics on your dental website

What is a responsive design?
Responsive websites are becoming the norm as more people browse the Internet on their smartphones, tablets, and computers. Responsive means that the website automatically adjusts to the device that the website is being viewed on, and this leads to an ideal user experience. You want to make sure visitors can easily navigate your website and read your content on any device. Older sites that are not mobile-friendly can lead to frustrating experiences by those using smartphones or tablets because the text will be too small or the site too hard to navigate.

Now, with the approaching deadline for Google’s mobile-friendlines, a responsive website is the best idea.

The good news
Before you panic, it’s important to note that if your site does experience a drop in rankings on April 21, you can make your way back up the search results page once you’ve made your site mobile-friendly. Your site will not be penalized in any way. But remember that the longer you wait to update, the longer your site will be hard to find in mobile searches.

Stephen Anson is the cofounder of the dental website service SmileMarketing. He is a new patient marketing specialist who has been helping healthcare professionals generate new patients from the Internet for over 10 years. Steve can be reached at [email protected].