Google Dividing into Two Search Engines: Are You Ready?
Veterinary practice websites that do not play by Google’s latest rules and are not mobile-friendly will suffer in search results in a new search engine division.
Google is almost 20 years old! When it started, we had one way to access the Internet, and that was through our clunky, heavy desktop computers. Cell phones were just that—phones. The Internet only became widely available when Apple introduced the iPhone. Talk about a game-changer! All of a sudden, information became accessible anywhere, anytime through our phones. Quickly, people started using their mobile devices to find information instead of walking over to a desktop computer. There are now trillions of searches made on Google every year and, according to Google, half of those searches are made on mobile devices. Google is taking action based on this trend.
A few years ago, Google started to notify searchers that a result would be mobile-friendly, or easily viewed on a mobile device. Before a search result, a small tag was placed that said “mobile-friendly.” In April 2015, Google upped the game by requiring websites to pass its Mobile-Friendly Test. Now Google is testing a mobile-only search engine and a separate desktop search engine. Google has led business owners step-by-step to be ready for this switch. Veterinary practice websites that do not play by Google’s latest rules and are not mobile-friendly will suffer in search results in this new index.
Google is making this switch because it wants people to use Google and not another search engine. (People forget that Google is a business, too.) To keep people engaged with Google, the results given per query need to be accurate, fast, and easy-to-read on all devices. Here’s how to prepare for the switch:
- Make sure your website passes Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test (see above).
- Eliminate all duplicate content on your website. Google wants unique, creative content that lives in only one place on the Internet. Google named this the Google Panda rule. (No businesses are exempt.) To check to see whether your site has unique content, go to Copyscape.com.
- Review all practice information for accuracy in the Google My Business directory.
Don’t panic if your business’ website fails the test. Just talk to your website or marketing provider to create a plan to come into compliance. In the meantime, desktop ranking will still be an option. However, Google has hinted that how well a hospital ranks in the mobile index will affect desktop placement in search. Now is the time to mobilize for this change, before it is out of beta!
Kelly Baltzell, MA, is the CEO of Beyond Indigo Pets (www.beyondindigopets.com), now in its 20th year of business and a certified Google Partner. She writes for and speaks to veterinarians around the world. Come talk to Kelly and the Beyond Indigo team about the latest Google changes.