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Believe it or not...Google controls the world. No, I don't have alfoil on my head to stop my thoughts being stolen. Let me explain.
Remember high school? When the cool kids were at the top of the pecking order? Imagine Google is the school.
The cool kids are cool because they 1) talk about lots of popular stuff 2) dress well and are good looking
3) are stable and safe 4) have lots of connections 5) can offer others a good experience.
The school encourages this because in a positive way - the cool kids create a good culture and value set and the other kids like that. That brings more kids to the school.
This is what Google is all about - it's a popularity contest.
If you want a website - you want to be the cool kid and be placed at the top of the pecking order...in real terms, the Google search rankings. There's a few secrets to it being popular...read on.
Google demands a number of things of your website which we've covered below.
This is by far the most important. If you have scant content on your site you'll be penalised. If you have terms that are not being used by customers when they're searching, you'll be penalised. If you have content which is not read, viewed, clicked on....well you get the picture.
Writing content which is consumer friendly isn't easy and can take a lot of time and effort. Often, we find pharmacies that have produced websites with highly technical language. This turns consumers off, so it turns Google off. It's recommended that for a typical pharmacy website you'd need to write for more than twenty hours to get just the basics right. The advice is to either get a copy writer or do a communications course. One of the reasons we've specialised in pharmacy websites is to do that work for our clients and make the content easy to implement. Because content is king, and most pharmacies know that - it's the biggest barrier to them getting their website up.
2) Design and layout
'Dress the part and people will take notice'. The design and layout of a website are key factors that Google can detect. If it's attractive design with a clever layout, customers will engage with the content. Place the right information in the right places and customers will scroll, view and click more, which means its relevant to their search terms which means that Google will make you more popular. Tools such as 'heat-mapping' and Google Analytics can help trace the journey of your customers through your website. There's a science to where to place elements (buttons, links etc) and information on the site. This isn't a game of chance, it's a game of strategy. The data drives what is good layout. Creative design drives aesthetics.
Google wants to maintain its reputation as a credible search tool. As such, if your website does not have proper security you'll drop in popularity. Your site should not, I repeat NOT be created with a free website platform. There's a saying on the internet - 'If you're not paying for the product, you are the product'. Your reputation is at risk if a customer goes to your site and is redirected to a malicious website. That is a huge risk for pharmacies where their business is based on trust. If your website has an 'SSL Certificate' you'll be favoured. If it says 'Not secure' in the address bar - time to rethink your website.
If your website has a plethora of connections, you're likely to be seen as a 'good web citizen' and you're boosted. A lack of backlinks (links into your site) and hyperlinks (out of your site) can mean poor ranking results with Google.
5) Good user experience
By having interesting content, a good layout, links and features a 'good overall experience' is created. The customer journey through a website is so important for Google, as higher 'time on page' for instance infers that customers like your site. With a good customer experience a pharmacy can dominate their search rankings locally. Again, there is a science to this. We've worked closely with website designers and consultants to craft a platform and web sites that look good but more importantly incorporate data driven features. The old adage 'all the shiny is not gold' works here. We've often found good looking websites but undert the bonnet they are struggling to be popular with Google.
A recommendation for is to complete Google's free training via the Google Digital Garage. It's easy to complete, video and text based and provides clear information for small business owners. When you crack the Google code (stop picturing Tom Hanks), you can gain competitive advantage. Going it alone is fraught with danger without completing training in web design. Going with a non-pharmacy web designer can end in tears. Pharmacies aren't cafes, they require the right experience for the health consumer. If you have questions about design, please get in touch with us. We've helped a lot of pharmacies save time and money with publishing their website.
23rd August 2018
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