SEO for Pharmaceutical Companies

Pharmaceutical companies are most successful when they have a healthy flow of health services and practices as partners and customers for the long-term.

There are lots of ways to build up your client list – through cold calling and constant networking in industry events, but arguably one of the most useful things to know in the digital world we live in today is how to use seo for pharmaceutical companies effectively.

Pharma SEO

Companies that have SEO-friendly websites will more often than not benefit from a number of things – increased unique visitor traffic, better customer conversion rates and a more positive brand awareness overall. And in the case of pharmaceutical companies, this will help generate more leads from potential customers, who can be anyone from private health practices to the big fish like government health authorities.

Why use SEO for pharmaceutical companies?

For most consumers, the name of the medicine is usually the first thing they look at – the brand that produced it is more than likely a second priority. By using SEO strategies, pharmaceutical companies who produce these medicines have an opportunity to build up their brand name and stake their claim in the digital world, where patients and medical professionals alike do their own research.

According to research, Health Care Professionals (HCPs) are known to spend more time, up to twice as much time reading up on medicines online as compared to print media. This gives pharmaceutical companies with an online presence an edge over those that don’t. On average, these HCPs perform around 6 professional searches a day on Google. Out of these searches, only 17% of HCPs used search terms that related to a pharmaceutical companies’ name. And finally, almost half of these HCPs searched for medicine using symptom based keywords, while up to 84% searched using condition related keywords.

With enhanced SEO integration into online channels, pharmaceutical companies stand to increase the number of unique visitors to their website and are thus able to cast a wider net into a sea of opportunity – one that is not limited to local geographic restrictions, once logistics are taken into consideration.

Are pharma seo strategies different from regular companies?

Suffice to say, pharma seo strategies have slight variations when compared to regular companies. One such issue that has been quite common recently is that of CBD infused therapy products – a relatively new concept that has pretty much taken the world of pharmaceutical by storm due to an unprecedented increase in scientific research on its effects and its high demand after its legalisation across many parts of the U.S A.

However, for pharmaceutical companies who produce such medicines, there is still plenty to red tape to maneuver around when it comes to marketing their CBD products online – because there is a large grey area when it comes to legality of CBD once it goes across legal state lines (places like California, Colorado, etc) and into the worldwide market, it comes as no surprise that Facebook, the world’s biggest social networking website, places blanket bans on advertising such products. This leaves marketers with the issue of finding out how else to use SEO effectively online in the absence of social media channels.

How to harness SEO for pharmaceutical companies

The recent effects of COVID-19 have shook the world and have resulted in many industries, especially healthcare, shifting their focus to new techniques such as virtual consultations or telemedicine. The knock-on effects on pharmaceutical companies means that while more and more physicians are working from home, there is less chance for sales reps of said pharmaceutical companies to get out on the road to meet with physicians and negotiate contracts in their offices.

This isn’t all doom and gloom however, as by working from home, physicians have more time to do their own research on the best medicines for their practice at a price they’re comfortable paying for. This is where effective SEO strategies and a strong digital presence can help pharmaceutical companies capture more leads with the least time and effort required – they essentially let the search engines work for them.

9 SEO strategies for pharmaceutical companies

Here are 9 strategies pharmaceutical companies can use to optimize their SEO and overall effectiveness of their online presence.

1. Identify your keywords

Most of the big pharmaceutical companies commonly have distinct areas of their websites that target HCPs and the general public. The content and keywords used in these two distinct areas are notably different and should always focus on meeting the needs of either audience. Before you start your SEO, analyze your audience and define which one your target market is. 

After you’ve done that, get the ball rolling by identifying the phrases and keywords that your target audience is likely to type into their search bar. Then, using this data, formulate a keyword strategy that will allow you to optimise every page of your site according to the target keywords.

2. Know your prospects’ search intent

Knowing about your audience’s search intent may be just as important as the keywords themselves. There are 3 main types of intent when it comes to SEO, and here they are as follows:

  • This is when they are looking for information such as answers to questions.
  • Refers to when they are looking for a specific page or website.
  • When they are ready to make a purchase but still want to know more.

By understanding your target market’s search intent, you can think ahead and plan to answer as many of their queries as possible on your webpages, gaining their trust and confidence in your brand in the long run.

3. Learn about your audience

Who are the people that visit your site? Are they mainly HCPs, regular patients or government health officials? Use demographic data gathering tools to mine this information and use it to sharpen your SEO techniques as you go along. If you’re unsure how to do this, this website has some tips for you to get started.

4. Structure your website according to data

Collecting data is useless if you don’t utilize it to its fullest potential. Once you have settled on your keyword strategy, identify the number of pages that you need to target these keyword and intent searches for maximum search engine exposure. After that, create a clear website structure that is easy to understand and navigate. As a general rule for all SEO optimized business pages, the most important pages of the website should always be at the top of the hierarchy, followed by the relevant subpages. The benefits of following these best practices are an improved UX – which more often than not leads to a positive brand experience and leaves your visitor with an increased sense of trust in your company and products.

5. Keep your website loading times quick

Another trick to keep your UX great is to take note of the loading times on your webpages. In this day and age where everything moves fast, a slow loading website is an agonizing experience to say the least – and does nothing but reduce your potential client or customer’s trust in your brand.

In the case of SEO, it’s a well-known fact that slow loading websites are kicked down to the bottom of the pile, because the Google algorithm works hard to ensure that its users are only visiting relevant sites that offer high quality content – and if your website is slow, it unfortunately won’t be regarded as high quality.

There are many factors that affect how slowly or quickly a webpage loads, but for the most part – it has a lot to do with media on your site. Unoptimized images and video are the most likely culprits for a slow-loading website. If your pharmaceutical company’s website is chock-full of large, high-resolution images on every square foot of webpage, you’re probably not going to see any results. If you need more tips on how to reduce your webpage speed, this should give you all the info you need to (literally) bring your website back up to speed.

6. Implement on-page SEO

Keywords can be used in many ways on a webpage. You can use them in a user friendly URL, in headings on each webpage and also include them in an individual page’s metadata. Try to find as many unique ways to include these keywords into each individual webpage while keeping it looking and feeling as natural as possible. Also note that the copy you use on each page is professional, informative and accessible to a site visitor – you’ll be expecting a wide range of visitors and they may not necessarily be HCPs all the time.

7. Utilize the power of backlinking

Across the world of digital marketing, backlinking has always been a crucial mainstay when it comes to highly effective SEO techniques. Backlinking refers to the act of creating incoming links to a webpage. Because of the nature of Google’s webcrawlers to suss out web pages with lots of links to other sites, it has been proven that web pages with lots of backlinks tend to rank higher on the search engines. In fact, backlinks in the past were a major metric for the ranking of a particular web page.

For pharmaceutical websites, it is important to focus on trying to obtain as many backlinks to your site from other high-quality sites as possible. This helps to generate traffic, builds trust and improves your site’s organic rankings according to the Google algorithm.

8. Understand what is E-A-T

In the medical industry especially, the E-A-T concept has become increasingly important. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, and what this means for pharmaceutical companies is that the Google algorithm favors sites which can prove their authority in their respective fields.

The relevant qualifications, education or personal experience of the webpage owner or content creator is required in order to provide evidence of expertise. Authoritativeness is reviewed by the algorithm by assessing the brand reputation and website reviews, references and any related press articles. In a similar vein, trustworthiness is assessed by the provision of accurate and up-to-date information on the web page that cites other sources that are trustworthy.

9. Optimize your website for mobile

It should go without saying that everyone – well, almost everyone has a smartphone these days. And smartphones have become increasingly advanced, with some of the newer models doubling up as essentially a mini computer that you can use for a dazzling array of tasks, from the day-to-day to the professional work-related ones.

The same research from Google has shown that significantly more than half of physicians and HCPs surveyed said that they were more likely to abandon their web search on mobile if the website was not optimised for a smartphone.

This means that your mobile website will have to implement things like swipe-based commands, or finger gestures in order to provide the best UX possible for your webpage visitors.

Final thoughts

It’s always worth remembering that SEO only works hard to get viewers and potential leads to click on your website. The missing half in this equation is to create unique and original content that is great and keeps your visitors engaged. Pharmaceutical companies will have to ensure that they are able to create consistently good content that relates to the products or services that they offer. For example, pharmaceutical companies that manufacture CBD related products will want to cite scientifically backed studies and legitimate sources in their content in order to give potential customers more confidence and peace of mind.

This increase in trustworthiness often leads to search engines including Google realising that there is enough valuable content in the website to justify bumping it up in the search rankings to eventually reach the coveted first page spot on a google search.

Once the website has gained enough traction, it’ll only be a matter of time before users post and link to the website organically, resulting in beneficial backlinks that will bump it up the rankings yet again.