Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for all businesses including pharmaceutical companies which want to bring in more interest and opportunities to their website through Google and other search engines. However, the benefits of SEO can be realized only when your webpage appears at the top of the search results in Google but not many marketers consider this a priority. Online presence is equally important even for research-based life-sciences or pharmaceutical industries to target the right audience. 

So, let’s get started with SEO for pharmaceutical industry without any delay!

SEO for Pharmaceutical Industry: Why Is It Important Now?

Usually, a pharmaceutical digital marketing strategy includes both paid marketing and organic growth efforts. Whether you invest in a healthcare professional (HCP)-focused or patient-focused SEO strategy, the benefits can be unrivalled. 

SEO offers the following proven benefits:

  • Generating more traffic to the website 
  • Improving conversion by attracting more relevant visitors 
  • Increasing awareness about the brand, products, or services offered
  • Increasing online and offline sales 

How Is Pharmaceutical SEO Different from others

Usually, this is how the SEO process appears in other industry verticals.

  1. Identify the keywords that can bring valuable growth
  2. Optimize your communication and website based on your keyword search
  3. Earn authority through backlinks
  4. Attract more visitors through search 

Here’s how it may be different for pharmaceutical industry.

  • Usually, the acquisition strategy is intended to inform, educate, or reach patients or HCPs using non-branded properties, i.e. not promoting the brand strongly. 
  • It needs a multi-prong approach in which every property used has its own custom keywords. For instance, if you are targeting a set of audiences for a particular disorder or condition, then the content has to be crafted uniquely. 
  • Additionally, the audience for each product is different and so will the properties. 
SEO for Pharmaceutical Industry—The Ultimate Guide

Image source: Ethoseo

Before we dive deeper, the following on-page and off-page SEO factors should form your strategy. 

  • Site performance including speed, mobile usability, etc.
  • Trust factors including security and privacy policy
  • Website layout/structure
  • Keyword targeting and HTML structure
  • Rich and relevant content
  •  Backlinks
  • Third-party verifications 

SEO for Pharmaceutical Industry: Areas You Should Focus on 

Let us get into more detail on focus areas. 

#1 Mobile-first indexing 

In general, Google uses the mobile version of your website’s content crawled with the smartphone agent for indexing and ranking. Mobile-fist indexing has, thus, become a focus for marketers trying to increase organic traffic. A majority of users now use smartphones to access information on the internet and it is important to ensure mobile usability. Consider AMP (accelerated mobile pages) for mobile browsing and quick loading of the pages. 

Tip: You can check if your website is mobile-friendly using Google’s mobile-friendly test

#2 Get ready for voice search 

Voice search is becoming popular even though it is still in the early stages. Therefore, it is important to consider this feature in your SEO strategy consideration. To get ready for voice search, take natural language processing into account when creating your content. Make sure to maintain a conversational tone and include long-tail keywords or questions. The objective should be to write your content in a way that helps provide information to the queries people are searching for. 

#3 Define your audience’s persona 

When defining the persona of your target audience, whether patients or HCPs, consider these indicators.  

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Location
  • Employment status
  • Industry
  • Motivators
  • Issues/frustrations 
  • Objectives
  • Personality traits, etc. 

#4 Define the Patients or HCP journey

It is important to understand the journey of your target audience as this will help you supply relevant content to get their attention. Figure out the thoughts, actions, emotions, etc. that they go through in their health journey. 

Here’s an example from Ethoseo on a patient’s journey.

SEO for Pharmaceutical Industry—The Ultimate Guide

Image source: Ethoseo 

#5 Target Featured Snippets and create rich content 

Even for pharmaceuticals or health-related content, the aim is to go for Google’s featured snippet or SERP (Search Engine Results Pages). Here’s an example.

SEO for Pharmaceutical Industry—The Ultimate Guide

You can use your keyword planner to get more in-depth insights on the keywords and phrases to target depending on search volumes, competition, etc. You can also work on your topic clusters based on your keyword search to create rich content. 

#6 Create relevant and intelligent content 

Make sure your content is SEO-optimized, of high quality, accurate, updated, and useful for your readers. Be it videos, app notes, podcasts, whitepapers, live chat, case studies, or infographics, consider on which platforms they will access the content and where it fits in their journey. 

Additionally, ensure your content is sharable, easy to understand and follow SEO best practices. You may also consider the following. 

  • Using metadata to improve discoverability in search engines
  • Categorizing content using tags, etc. 
  • Sharing content for better reach on different social channels
  • Repurposing content into different formats

#7 Don’t forget to use search intent 

A user’s search can be for gathering information on a drug or condition, comparing two medical facilities or therapies, buying a certain medicine online, etc. If you are aware of the search intent and create content to address those, then you can appear in the top search results and generate more organic traffic. 

This process again requires understanding buyer persona and funnelling or segregating them based on their journey. For instance, creating specific content for awareness, consideration, and decision-making stages. For each stage, take into account the terms or phrases they are looking for and tailor your messaging accordingly. 

#8 Develop performance measurement metrics 

Healthcare companies utilize qualitative data to analyze the impact of marketing efforts. However, for more concerted SEO efforts, you would need to establish KPIs to determine their effectiveness. For instance, you may check the following.

  • Are you analyzing bounce rates for the pages on your website?
  • Are you assessing blog post sentiments/responses?
  • Do you know the average time spent on your website pages?
  • Are you tracking the number of content downloads?
  • Are you aware of the return rate of your users? 

You can use various platforms and analytical tools to measure the performance indicators for your website. 

#9 Add visual elements and videos 

SEO-optimized videos with description, title, tags, etc. can help you generate traffic for your website and also improve your ranking. You can embed the links to your YouTube videos on your website pages. 

Tip: With changes in the Google platform, it is expected that videos will become more common in Google SERPs. 

Also, when adding images, make sure to check the following.

  • The image is appropriately named and is size-optimized
  • High-quality, plagiarism-free images are used
  • Descriptive alt text is added for the image
  • Images are submitted within the sitemap of the website 

#10 Focus on backlinks

It is one of the critical elements of SEO to generate traffic, build your credibility, and rank your website higher. When sharing and distributing the content, make sure the content piece can be used for generating backlinks. So, analyze your distribution strategy, identify the content gaps you can fill, and keep looking for newer avenues to generate backlinks. 

#11 Check your on-page SEO 

As a rule of thumb, ensure to check the following points.

  • The keyword is added to your URL
  • URL is short
  • Your keywords have been added to your title, description, metadata, etc.
  • Use keywords appropriately in H1, H2, H3 tags, etc.
  • The content is up to 800 words and is informative (this means your page has depth). 

#12 Build authority 

Pharmaceutical or healthcare companies have active R&D and can share their knowledge offline through different avenues including journals, international organizations, or health-related websites. 

Create authoritative content with press releases, industry reports, interviews, new research or developments, clinical trials, etc. and offer it to third parties to share on their websites or link to your website, establishing your expertise. 

Final Words 

SEO is critical for new customer acquisition. The strategy for SEO for pharmaceutical industry should be designed considering your target audience i.e. patients, HCPs, or other health organizations. On top of that, make sure you are aware of your website performance metrics and changing algorithms to utilize that data to improve your ranking. 

To ace your SEO strategy for pharmaceutical or healthcare industry, get in touch with us today!