After working as a dental consultant for over a decade, I know first-hand how busy dentists are. I know that when your day is consumed with patient care and office management, there is little time left to think about things like online marketing and SEO.
However, to keep the practice doors open and the office operating, some thought needs to be given to these issues. For 99% of dentists, outsourcing website design and SEO is not only a smart decision, but the only option. And while the average dentist doesn’t need to fully understand what responsive design is or what a mobile-first strategy looks like, it is important to be aware of the basics so that you can communicate easily with your website designer.
First of all, both terms refer to how a website is designed, but they differ in the process that goes into building the site.
Responsive design – the concept of building a website to adapt to specific devices and screen sizes, typically done by designing for a desktop computer first, and then paring it down to fit tablets and mobile
The problem with this is that, today, more Google searches are done on a smartphone than on a desktop, and the growing reliance on our phones to access the internet has sparked the rise of the mobile first strategy.
Mobile first – designing a website for mobile first, think of it as starting small and then adding additional functions for larger devices
And Here’s Why It Matters…
Google has revealed that it plans, at some point in time – potentially at the end of this year, roll out their mobile-first index, which will become their primary index.
Currently, Google indexes a website based on the desktop version, but when this new roll out occurs, they will begin to do the opposite. Google will start to index the mobile version of a website to then determine where in the SERP (search engine results page) the desktop site will rank.
Long story short, any dentist who has not updated his/her website within the past 18 months or so likely owes their web designer a phone call. And for those with a new(ish) site designed within the past year and a half or so, and who knows it was built using responsive design standards, don’t panic. A responsive designed website is likely not going to hurt you or your online traffic too dramatically; just keep the mobile first strategy in mind for the next update.