pharmaceutical SEO strategy

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Pharma SEO: Do You Have A Pharma SEO Strategy That Rocks?

Are you looking to use pharma SEO strategies to generate insane traffic to your websites, build brand awareness, and engage with your target audience? 

Do you want to boost the authority of your pharma brand, service expertise, knowledge of your products, and skyrocket leads and sales online?

Nowadays, it is more important than ever for your pharma brand to be on top of Google results pages.

And especially so if you want to build brand awareness, trust, authority, improve reputation, provide valuable information and drive sales and inquiries.

However, to achieve your SEO goals, you need to be found on top of the results pages for the relevant search terms.

Though most people rely on search engines and websites as a source of information, sadly, many pharma brands do not know how to tap into the power of a solid SEO strategy for the success of their business.

Most of the time, many do not understand Search Engine Optimization.

And also how to optimize their web copy while remaining compliant in the strictly regulated industry.

So in this article, you will learn what Search Engine Optimization is, and how it is different for the pharmaceutical industry.

And also why it is necessary for the success of your business.

Finally, you will uncover the most important SEO strategies to implement for rapid results and success.

Let's get started.

What Is SEO Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means the process of improving your website and content to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business on Google and other search engines.

Better visibility brings more attention and attracts prospective and existing customers to your business.

How Does SEO Work?

Search engines use bots to crawl pages on the internet.

Moving from website to website, they collect information about those pages and put them in an index. 

Many people think of the index as a HUGE library where a librarian can pull up a book (or a web page) to help you find precisely the information you are looking for at the time.

After that, the search engine algorithms analyze the pages in the index. They consider hundreds of ranking factors or signals when deciding the order pages should appear in the search results for any query. 

SEO strategies help you estimate exactly how well a website or web page can give the searcher answers to their query.

Therefore, unlike paid search ads, you can’t pay search engines to get higher organic search rankings.

SEO experts have to work on your web copy to rank high on search engine result pages. That’s where an outsourced SEO copywriting agency comes in.

NOW:

How Is SEO Different For The Pharmaceutical Industry?

how SEO is different for the pharma industry

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For most brands, the SEO process is simple.

Your research and find the keywords most valuable to your marketing growth and then optimize your website for them.

After that, you create web content to earn authority through links and attract new visitors through search.

However, the SEO strategy for the pharmaceutical industry is different.

Because the lead conversion strategy revolves around unbranded content that is to reach, educate, and interest patients or HCPs without necessarily advertising the parent brand.

This SEO strategy requires a different but multi-layered approach where each content has its keyword strategy.

And each unique piece of content is created for a target audience usually specific to a particular disease state or condition.

The gold standard for most SEO websites is to be seen as an authority in your niche by search engines through optimized high-quality content and web elements. 

And when search engines trust you, they rank you high and the audience trusts you more in return,

The aim is to be an authority on your subject.

However, this can be difficult in pharma SEO for a few reasons:

  • The large HCPs and patients' knowledge gap require different information about the same topic.
  • Big competitors like WebMD and MayoClinic.org have a big advantage over other less-known pharma brands. And because these sites are known as the authority for searches related to treatment, search engines rank them higher all the time, all things being equal. 

Additionally, years of producing high-quality content consistently have earned them valuable links from other sites.

These backlinks boost the ability of these sites to rank higher for terms related to your brand.

However, despite these disadvantages, pharma SEO is by no means a lost cause. 

Since the same search engine ranking algorithms rank ALL websites, you can make SEO strategies work in your favor.

Why SEO Is Especially Important For Your Pharma Brand

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A solid SEO strategy drives every successful organic online marketing campaign.

And having an effective online presence is especially important to the pharma industry since Health Care Professionals (HCPs) are increasingly using search engines to find health-related information.

For instance, in the article - The Doctor's Digital Path to Treatment, Google provided the following key findings:

  • Physicians spend twice as much time using online resources compared to print
  • On average, HCPs perform 6 professional searches a day
  • Only 17% of physicians searched using terms related to pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • 46% of physicians search for symptom-based keywords
  • 84% of physicians search for condition related keywords

Being ranked high on search engine pages is also necessary for pharma brands because HCPs use the internet as a research tool to stay up to date with recent developments in the medical industry.

Research has shown that 74% of all U.S. adults use the internet, and 61% have looked for health or medical information on the internet.

Additionally, 49% have accessed a website that provides information about a specific medical condition or problem.

Therefore, pharma brands must invest in resources to help them focus on their online presence.

Doing so will help them produce valuable content for HCPs and the general public.

A good SEO strategy also improves brand trust and awareness.

Without SEO, you’re missing out on a large portion of your online market.

However, since search engine algorithms are constantly updated, you need to be aware that SEO is a never-ending game that does not provide results overnight.

But it is much more affordable than paid advertising and requires patience.

Here are a few benefits of an effective pharma SEO strategy:

  • Increases organic traffic, 
  • improves brand awareness, 
  • supports content marketing, 
  • improves website usability, 
  • maximizes PPC campaigns,
  •  helps you rank better in local searches, 
  • and gives you a competitive edge. 

BUT:

Why Is SEO A Long-Term Process?

SEO is a long-term process where you cannot rush the strategy and results without penalties.

You can only notice changes in search engine results pages (SERPs) after a certain amount of time.

Sometimes you can notice the results in a few days, and at other times, a few weeks or even months.

Therefore, it is not easy to determine how long it will take for a search engine to evaluate that your site deserves to be the first in its rankings.

It may take your pharma website several months to increase its traffic through SEO.

But if it is well-optimized, it will keep their positions longer.

However, a tested and profitable strategy for achieving success is a long-term dedication to SEO.

And that's because a winning SEO strategy is a continuous process that needs to be maintained.

SEO is a process that requires constant work. And if you are doing it just in the short term, it will bring you positive results only to a certain extent.

Here are the most important reasons why search engine optimization results will only occur after a long time.

And why you cannot rush the process:

#1. SEO Is Constantly Evolving And Changing

Becoming outdated in the world of SEO can happen in the blink of an eye. Google has a long history of evolving and changing all the time. 

And as SEO trends change, you adapt your strategies to the change.

Therefore, your pharma SEO strategy should always be looking to make those sudden changes.

#2. SEO Activities Need To Be Done Step By Step

As far as Google is concerned, a good SEO strategy is consistent incremental progress.

The website is optimized gradually over a while. It is, therefore, to perform SEO activities regularly.

An effective SEO strategy is a long-term activity that is not done all at once and left unchecked.

#3. SEO Rules Are Unclear 

 As any SEO expert will tell you, there is no iron-clad rule book for search engine optimization.

All SEO techniques are by trial and error. That means that it may sometimes take longer to find a strategy that rocks on your website.

#4. Google Is Always Changing Its Algorithms

To provide its users with quality and relevant results without spam, Google changes and updates its algorithms consistently.

Most experts estimate that Google changes refine, and update its search algorithm around 500 to 600 times each year.

That's almost once and twice each day.

Some updates are significant and require you to make changes that may affect how well your website ranks.

#5. Google Does Not Respond To SEO Changes Immediately

Google does not respond to changes immediately

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No two websites are the same, and the changes you make to your site do not reflect immediately, even though Google is constantly improving its search engine algorithms.

At times, Google can respond to the changes you make on your website in just a few minutes.

On the other hand, it may take a few days, several weeks, or months.

But how long SEO would take for your website depends on multiple factors known to the search engines. 

For the best results, do SEO regularly and for the long term.

#6. SEO Takes A Long Time Because Of Website Credibility And Authority 

Authority, relevance, and experience of your pharma website users and bots visiting the site determine how quickly and high you rank on Google's search engine result pages. You can read how Google grades the quality of a website here.

Google takes time to evaluate websites in terms of authority and credibility. Google trusts the sites that exist longer.

And you must be patient in your efforts to build confidence from Google.

A website that Google trusts should have in addition to other factors, at a minimum:

• An About page

• Privacy Policy

• Terms of Service

• Contact

#7. Competition In Your Pharma Niche

Staying on top is a challenge, especially in a highly competitive pharma niche. It is prudent to remember that you are not alone in your niche.

And that's because your competitor can think exactly like you and will do everything to be in the first position in search results that you want.

Therefore, analyze the websites of your competitors regularly. Find their weaknesses and shortcomings.

And implement all the necessary SEO strategies to keep yourself in the top positions in search results.

However, in a highly competitive pharma niche, you may find several reasons why you can not overtake competing websites.

For instance, it could be:

  • you have chosen a competitive industry
  • established websites with strong positions in search results
  • overly competitive keywords that you cannot compete with

There could be other reasons too, but analyze them and choose the right strategy to overcome the competition.

No matter your present SEO situation, keep in mind that an effective strategy takes time before you start to see remarkable results.

Pharma SEO Strategy That Rocks

how to create apharma SEO strategy that rocks

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Here are how to create pharma SEO strategies that rock.

Creating and implementing an SEO strategy that rocks are not for the faint at heart.

An effective SEO strategy takes time for the results to appear on search engine result pages. 

Therefore, pharma marketers can continually and gradually work on their SEO tasks to increase the number of organic visitors to the website over time.

Consider these SEO tips, strategies, and areas to focus your efforts below to improve your rankings on search engines to generate more qualified website traffic.

Here are pharma SEO strategies that rock.

#1. Identify Your Target Audience

To drive growth, you need to know who your target audience is and how to put your business in front of them on the SERPs.

On the other hand, without knowing whom you're targeting your SEO efforts, it will be hard to put together a solid strategy that drives traffic that converts.

Many pharma brands have websites with unique areas targeting the general public and health care professionals HCPs.

These areas must be clearly defined and separated on the website.

Because the content and keywords targeted will be significantly different and focused on the needs of your audience.

Additionally, these areas on your pharma website need to be signposted.

And compliant with pharmaceutical marketing regulations such as those outlined in the PMCA, (International and European) and ABPI code of conduct (for UK sites).

#2. Target Keywords And Search Intent

After figuring out the type of people you want to attract to your website, the next step is to identify what types of phrases and keywords they will be searching for and what their intent is. 

But what are SEO keywords?

SEO keywords are the keywords and phrases in your web content that help people to find your site through search engines. 

When a website is optimized properly for search engines, it becomes easy to connect searchers to your site.

Keywords are one of the main elements of SEO.

Having effective keyword SEO helps your website rank above your competitors.

So what is search intent?

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Search intent is the purpose of a user's search, what the searcher is hoping to find from their search. It's also called an audience, user, or keyword intent.

The 3 main types of intent are:

  • Navigational (looking for a specific website or webpage),
  •  Informational (looking for information such as an answer to a question), 
  • and Transactional (looking to make a purchase). 

Most pharma searches are informational. They are mainly about symptoms and diagnosis, treatments, and community. Community, if living with a condition.

Once you identify the keywords or phrases searched to find your website, 

the next step is to identify the intent- the type of information they are looking for.

Then you can create a keyword strategy.

That ensures that your website content is optimized for people and search engines for one of your target keywords.

#3. Site Structure That Enhances SEO

After completing your keyword strategy and having identified the pages necessary for targeting these searches, it is time to create a clear and concise site structure. 

Website structure shows the search engines how your site is organized and web pages interlinked. It also lets them know which pages of your site are most important. Having a logical site structure helps visitors and search engines

With your website structure, you can influence which content will rank highest in the search engines.

A good website structure shows the most relevant pages on your site near the top of the hierarchy, down to relevant subpages. 

Benefits of a good website structure:

  • A well-designed website structure makes for a great user experience (UX). 
  • Enables search engines to crawl your site more efficiently. 
  • An effective website structure makes it easy for internal links to distribute authority throughout your site. 
  • A well-organized website structure provides site links in the SERP.

#4. On-page SEO

According to MOZ, on-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.

On-page refers to the content and HTML source code of a website page that you can optimize.

On the other hand, off-page SEO refers to links and other external signals.

Is traditional on-page SEO dead? 

NO.

Google shows that on-page SEO is still very much relevant. 

The better Google understands your content, the higher you’ll rank in search result pages.

Higher rankings mean more organic traffic, conversions, and sales.

Even better, on-page SEO improves user experience if done right.

On-Page SEO Checklist

  1. Crawl your website.
  2. Conduct an SEO audit and define your site architecture.
  3. Update URLs, page titles, and meta descriptions.
  4. Make sure your keyword is in your URL.
  5. Include your keyword throughout your page.
  6. Track keywords and topics for each page.
  7. Don't stuff keywords. 

On-page SEO elements should be unique to each page and reflect only the content of that page.

Add an optimized and unique copy to each page that is informative and useful to a site visitor.

#5. Implement A Backlinking Strategy

pharma SEO backlinking strategy

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Backlinks are also known as “inbound links”, “incoming links” or “one-way links”. They are links from one website to a page on another website.

Backlinks are important for an effective SEO strategy.

They signal to Google that other brands find your content valuable enough to link their content to it.

And the more backlinks you get, the quicker search engines consider your website relevant to rank well on the SERPs.

Having an authoritative inbound link is one of the most important ranking factors Google uses for ranking content.

Google views external links as votes of popularity for a website or webpage.

There is a strong association between sites with many quality backlinks and higher rankings.

So if your site gets backlinks from authoritative websites relevant to your niche, it signals to Google that your site is an authority in your industry.

Why are backlinks necessary for your pharma SEO strategy?

  • they send referral traffic to your page
  • they can improve your website rankings 
  • Google finds new websites through backlinks
  • increase brand awareness, 
  • backlinks boost trust and credibility
  • improve organic rankings 

How to get backlinks for your pharma web content

  1. Find backlink opportunities with top niche referral sources. 
  2. Use outbound links to form partnerships. 
  3. Use Google Search Console reports to get backlinks. 
  4. Spy on your competitors.
  5. Find broken links to build backlinks.
  6. Create high-quality content that other sites will link to
  7. Publish a skyscraper content.

For a successful pharma SEO strategy, focus on obtaining links to your site from other high-quality niche sites by implementing an off-site SEO strategy.

#6. Implement E-A-T SEO Strategy

E-A-T is one of the many guidelines Google uses to judge whether the content on a website is valuable to readers and it impacts how content rank well.

It is a characteristic that shows that a page is high-quality, making it helpful to users.

The first mention of E-A-T occurred in 2014 when Google added the concept to their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

The guidelines provide insight into how Google looks at web pages and how they differentiate high-quality content from low-quality ones: 

  • Beneficial Purpose
  • E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), or Page Quality
  • YMYL (Your Money or Your Life)

Even though E-A-T is not technically a ranking factor, it can impact your Google ranking.

The 

E-A-T guidelines tell real human reviewers, exactly what type of content Google considers high-quality.

According to their guidelines, great content should:

  • Help users.
  • Be created by an expert.
  • Be posted on an authoritative site.
  • Be trustworthy.
  • Be updated regularly.

To achieve your pharma SEO goals, create content with a high level of expertise.

Storytelling from people with real-life experience is acceptable when appropriate.

Your website should provide information on the expertise of the content creator to give evidence of authority.

Such information could be in the form of qualifications, education, or personal experience. 

Authoritativeness is also reviewed by looking at the reputation of the brand and website, focusing on online reviews, references, and news articles. 

#7. Use Schema Mark Up To Boost SEO

Schema markup helps your website stand out from your SEO competitors.

It is found at Schema.org and is a form of microdata. It helps the search engines return more informative results for users.

Once you add it to a website, it provides an enhanced description (commonly known as a rich snippet), which appears in search results.

Schema can provide context for a not-understandable webpage.

There is no evidence that microdata directly affects organic search rankings.

However, rich snippets make your web pages appear more prominently in SERPs. And this improved visibility improves click-through rates

How does schema markup boost your pharma SEO?

As we have discussed in this article, a lot of searches in pharma are informational searches.

Stand Out on Google Search Using Structured Data and Search Analytics

For your pharma SEO strategy, use schema to categorize your content by type.

Make it easy for search engines to know what your content is about. Here are hyperlinked type examples below for your convenience:

Assign properties within your Schema types to further provide context to search engines.

For instance, if you're using the schema type DrugStrength, include the properties strengthUnit and strengthValue.

Both have a different meaning to Google. 

Finally:

1. Check out Google's Code Lab. It will walk you through the process

of adding structured data to your site.

2. Browse the pharmacy extension of Schema.org to see

what markup might apply to your brand.

3. Test any code you create with Google's Schema Markup Validator

#8. Optimize Your SEO For Mobile

Ensure that your pharma website is optimized for mobile devices and that it does not take a long time to load. 

For pharma marketers, targeted mobile experiences provide opportunities to connect with healthcare consumers when they’re looking for information about your products and services. 

Google’s research shows that this is particularly important for Pharma.

Why?

62% of physicians surveyed said they were likely to abandon a mobile website not optimized for a smartphone.

If in doubt about whether your website is optimized for mobile, use Google’s free mobile-friendly test will review your website.

And within a few seconds, you will find out. 

After Thoughts About Pharma SEO Strategies That Rock 

This article provides an overview of just some of the SEO strategies your pharma brand can use to improve its online visibility.

Remember that SEO that rocks is a long-term strategy.

Search engines' algorithms are constantly updated and can adopt to improve their rankings. 

The algorithms of search engines are constantly updated and may require that you pay constant attention to your content and SEO strategies.

However, there are many more ways to improve your search visibility.

Check out the blogs of Backlinko, Moz, or SEMrush for more SEO guides.

You can start right away with your pharma SEO campaign by crafting optimized high-quality content and backlinks. 

Or hire outsource your copywriting to a qualified professional agency.

If you are interested in finding out more about Pharma SEO, outsource your SEO and copywriting needs to a pharma agency.

With the Contact us to get started.

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