Google Announces Medicaid Renewal Feature: What State Agencies Need to Know
Mark Alves, GMMB
As state Medicaid agencies conduct the Medicaid renewal process, they are focused on outreach to enrollees and ramping up communications campaigns to minimize coverage loss. Many states recognize that digital channels must feature prominently in an effective communications effort and have created landing pages on their websites to provide consumers with more information on the Medicaid renewal process.
As part of its annual healthcare technology event, Google recently announced it is highlighting Medicaid renewal-related information in relevant search results to make the information easier for consumers to find. The company is adding features to search results to provide specific information for users seeking to re-enroll in Medicaid. The first component is a horizontal row of gray subtopic bubbles that highlight relevant sites for each related topic. These links work like tabbed content, making it easier for searchers to navigate through a complex topic like Medicaid renewal. The second addition is a vertical column down the right-hand side (on desktop) of the search results with local details highlighted, including logins to state Medicaid sites, phone numbers, hours of operation, and links to eligibility information. This means states can take steps to ensure that the appropriate landing pages they have created for renewal are optimized for Google’s feature and rank higher in search results. (kiiky.com)
Some searches for keywords, such as “Medicaid renewal,” will generate subtopic bubbles that work like tabbed content.
Searchers in Virginia may see something like the following where Virginia.gov is the first result [under the renewal subtopic bubble].
Those searchers may also see local contact information running down the right-hand column as shown below. This information is pulled from Virginia.gov and CoverVA.org.
How Can State Health Agencies Increase the Likelihood Their Landing Pages Appear in Google for Medicaid Renewal Searches?
State Medicaid agencies can follow the tips below, to ensure Google presents the appropriate agency landing pages regarding renewal first and at the top of results for Medicaid renewal searches.
Identify and Review Your Landing Page. Search for “Medicaid renewal” to see the type of results that appear in your geographic area. “Renewal” is showing state pages in search results more often, as opposed to other terms, and is also the term Google is using. Try this in incognito/private mode to get more standard and general results. Check if a reasonable page from your organization appears there. In most cases you likely want this to be the landing page you’ve created on this topic.
Review Your Landing Page Title. This is the name that appears in your browser tab or when you bookmark the page, not the main headline. The page title often appears in the search results, so you want it to be descriptive. Include the words “Medicaid Renewal” if you want to reach searchers looking for that phrase.
Optimize the Landing Page with Content to Include:
- The purpose of the page with clear headlines and subheadings.
- Phone numbers, hours of operation, and a login link.
- Medicaid renewal timeline and impact on enrollee.
- Your state’s name for the program (e.g., SoonerCare or Medi-Cal).
- Answers to any frequently asked questions.
Identify Opportunities to Link to Your Target Landing Page. Find references to relevant phrases like Medicaid renewal, Medicaid re-enrollment, Medicaid redetermination, and Medicaid eligibility on other important pages on your site and in your press releases. Where it would make sense, link the first mention of, say, “Medicaid renewal” on those pages to your target page. An alternative is to add an aside such as, “(Related: Medicaid renewal and eligibility details)” that links to your target page. This linking tactic helps visitors find your target page. You also signal to Google that you value your main Medicaid renewal page and that your target page is about Medicaid renewal.
Check if Your Landing Page is Mobile-Friendly. Pull up your target page on your phone. Is all the information visible? Do the images, text, and any tables still flow naturally on mobile? If there are issues, talk to your developer to address them. Google usually counts the mobile version of the page as the official version, so it is important for the mobile experience to work for search engines and for all your potential visitors on their phones.
Improve Your Landing Page Loading Speed. Ask your developer if there are ways to increase how fast your target page loads, such as by reducing the size of any large images on your target page.
In an effort to help direct consumers to accurate information about Medicaid renewal, Google is adding search features that will include and prioritize specific Medicaid agency information and webpages. States can take steps to ensure the landing page to which they want to direct consumers is amongst the first and top results that appear when a Google search user searches for topics related to Medicaid renewal. If your state has questions about implementing the recommendations outlined in this expert perspective, or how to improve search functionality more generally, please be in touch.