Increase the performance of your healthcare website in Google using 3 FREE SEO tools (2 minute read)

Free-SEO-tools Search Engine Marketing

Increase the performance of your healthcare website in Google…

Healthcare websites are often built to provide value to either patients or HCPs, but don’t always get the organic traffic needed to really make a difference.

This article is intended for healthcare marketers looking at finding simple but effective tactics to drive search engine traffic to their website. I will show how using 3 FREE tools, if executed correctly, can help boost your sites organic visibility online.

Google Console (GC)

If your website has Google Analytics installed (which most websites have) then you have access to GC, which is a powerful and extremely valuable free tool.

  • Step 1: Log-in to GC, it will show you all the keywords your site is ranking for which is driving the most traffic
  • Step 2: Look at what pages those keywords are driving traffic to
  • Step 3: Take the title tag and the meta description of key pages and make sure you include the keyword and optimise the title tag to be more appealing to increase clicks


Here’s an example of how increasing click-through rate can positively improve your rankings. Let’s say your website is in position 5 within the search results and, over a 30-day period, people who search for a keyword click on your result more than your competitors, Google will move you up the rankings.

Tip: Type your target keyword into Google and look at the title tags of all your competitors, think to yourself how can I make my title tag stand out more?

Google’s engineer Paul Haahr states “high CTR can affect your ranking as it gives the signal that your page grabs the users’ attention. Rankbrain can actually affect ranking to results that show up higher than they should have been, with the number of CTRs determining the permanent position”


This is a great tool to expand on your existing content to make it even more relevant to your audience and rank for more keywords which ultimately will deliver more clicks.

  • Step 1: Pick an existing keyword that you want to drive more traffic from (you have already found the keywords your site ranks for from the Google Console section)
  • Step 2: Take that keyword and add to Ubersuggest, it will tell you all the other long tail versions of that keyword (these are other terms your customers are searching for in Google) – if your site already ranks for the short tail keyword then you will have no trouble ranking for long tail version
  • Step 3: Analyse the keyword results and find some other relevant keywords that get a good number of monthly searches


Now integrate these keywords into your existing content. For example, see screenshot above, one tactic could be to add a sub-header called ‘The physical symptoms of depression’ as we know this is something prospective customers are interested in.

This term gets 1,300 searches per month – now expand on this topic making sure you fully answer the needs of the query. A previous infographic I created called Pharma’s On-Page SEO Checklist will also help you optimise your content to deliver best practice.

  • Step 4: Now repeat the above steps for other key pages, you will find after 30 days your site should start increasing traffic as you rank for more keywords and get more traffic

Google PageSpeed Insights

The faster your website loads the better the user experience, so it only makes sense having a faster site will help improve your rankings. People use Google more on their mobile than desktop which is why Google has an index just for mobile, so a primary focus for increasing performance should be on mobile.

PageSpeed Insights analyses the content of a web page on both mobile and desktop then generates suggestions to make that page faster. Your website will be given a performance score as a benchmark. A score of 90 or above is considered fast, and 50 to 90 is considered average. Below 50 is to be slow.

To see the performance score of your website go to PageSpeed Insights and copy and paste the URL of the page you want to analysis into the search bar and hit ‘Analyze’. If your score could do with being improved send the recommendations to your website developer (or give us a call). Once the changes have been made re-analyse the URL and see what difference it has made!



If you want to increase organic traffic:

  • Find your best preforming pages and make the title and meta description more appealing to improve clicks – we know improving CTR improves search position
  • Use Ubersuggest to find further content ideas related to what you are already ranking for, which you know prospective customers are looking for. This tactic, if delivered correctly, can dramatically boost your site’s visibility online
  • Improve your performance score by increasing your page loading speed, particularly on mobile

Make sure with all these tactics to benchmark your results so that you can measure and further improve results.

Which other search engine optimisation techniques are you currently implementing? Are you achieving the desired results?

CRO-healthcare-industry Website Optimisation

Conversion rate optimisation | For the healthcare industry

If you’re spending a tonne of budget driving traffic to your website and struggling to deliver the downloads/sign-ups/registrations you hoped for, this article is for you. We’ll demonstrate how optimal landing page design drives customer action, supporting your marketing goals.

And if you take nothing else away from this article, remember: Never Start A Marketing Campaign Without A Dedicated Landing page

What we’ll cover:

  1. Landing page: a definition
  2. Landing page types
  3. Long vs short landing pages
  4. Well-designed landing pages
  5. The psychology of colour
  6. Benefit-driven content
  7. Where NOT to send campaign traffic
  8. Matched design: why it increases conversions
  9. Conversion tracking

Landing page: a definition

A landing page is a dedicated webpage with a single objective: to close a deal. It’s the foundation of a successful digital marketing campaign.

According to Unbouce “Landing pages live separately from your website and are designed to only receive campaign traffic”.

This separation allows them to be focused on a single objective and makes analytics, reporting and testing simpler.

Landing page types

There are two types of landing page; lead generation and click-through.

Lead generation landing pages

The primary objective of a lead generation landing page is to get the contact details of your target audience, so you can follow-up with them later. Usually with sales or marketing content.

To get site visitors to relinquish their contact details, you’ll need to offer something in return. Something of [perceived] value greater than their contact details. This is called your Lead magnet.

Possible Lead magnets include:

  1. Access to exclusive content
  2. A webinar with a Key Opinion Leader (KOL)
  3. A presentation or report
  4. Infographics or graphical abstracts
  5. Symposium recordings (video or audio)
  6. Competition to win a car (JOKE!!!)

If you’re a pharmaceutical or healthcare marketer, your Lead magnet must be compliant with industry regulations. So too the language used to describe the value exchange.

But whatever your offer, offer something of high perceived value.

Click-through landing pages

Click-through pages are designed to ‘warm up’ your audience and generally used as the middleman between your ad and desired target page. These pages provide enough information about the value of your product/service before pushing your audience further down the funnel.

For example, if you are a healthcare publisher and you want to direct your audience to research specific blog articles, instead of creating multiple off-page ads/URLs create a click-through page that introduces your content and the benefits along with clear call-to-action buttons to direct the visitor to the various content pieces.

Long vs short landing pages

In short [forgive the pun] both work.

If you’re offering low risk activity [e.g. to download, subscribe or view] a short landing page may be all you need.

Where the perceived risk is perhaps a little higher [e.g. to buy, trial or sample] you’re likely to need longer landing pages, providing more detail on the benefits and features you’re offering.

If you’re not sure which to use, test them both! Conversion rates will tell you all you need to know.

Well-designed landing pages

It takes 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about your website. First impressions count.

Make sure your audience – healthcare professionals [HCPs] and consumers – have a positive first impression of your site.

Successful landing pages aren’t just about having a straightforward objective and message, they’re about providing a clear and visually appealing journey for users.

Every aspect of the landing page must be considered: from font size, colour and graphics to the positioning of your calls to action [CTAs] and how well pages are optimised for different devices.

Recommendation use relevant images, videos and graphics that support your landing page objectives. 40% of people respond better to visual information than text. It provides a more positive user experience.

Anatomy of a perfect landing page

The psychology of colour

It’ll come as no surprise that colour is an essential aspect of a landing page design. If done correctly it will increase on-site conversions significantly.

Don’t go overboard with too many colours and, if using background colours, be sure not distract attention away from your primary objective: lead generation or click through.

CTA colour is key 

You must convince and inspire HCPs, consumers and patients to take action on your website i.e. click your CTA button. But how?! Make your CTAs STAND OUT! Use a contrasting colour from the rest of the page.

Furthermore, test your colours. Create two identical landing pages and test a different coloured CTA button on each by driving similar volumes of traffic to both pages.

Benefit-driven content

As per classic marketing communications, start all your on-page communications with service or product benefits, followed by features. Not the other way around.

Consider the key challenges your customers are trying to address by visiting your site and ranking these in priority order.

From these, create a bulleted list. This makes the benefits and features super-easy for site visitors to understand.

That’s it.

Where NOT to send campaign traffic

Your homepage.

Do not drive traffic to your homepage. Ever. Your homepage likely contains various sections, services and links. What’s your customer to do? Where should they click next?

I don’t know and neither do they!

Think about all those links on your page as ‘leaks’. Each link that doesn’t represent your conversion goal is a distraction that will dilute your message and reduce your conversion rate.

If you want someone to perform a specific action – MAKE IT OBVIOUS. Have only one action on that page that they can perform. Nothing else.

Matched design: why it increases conversions

In a nutshell: your campaign messaging and design must be consistent along the entire customer journey: from original ad to landing page.

 Your landing page must reinforce the messaging presented on the original ad. This will increase conversions and time spent on your site.

Conversion tracking

What gets measured gets improved.

Like all campaigns, it’s important to track how many conversions you get and from which sources. This will provide valuable insight into what works, what doesn’t and where to focus more attention.

Golden rule: keep testing.

Traffic from one source

This is fairly straightforward. If your landing page is getting traffic from one source it’s fairly easy to measure the results. Make sure you link your main CTA to Google Analytics and set it as a goal. This will give you a clear indication on conversions along with other useful stats.

You could even link the landing page with your CRM using some great third-party software, like Zapier.

Traffic from multiple sources

If your landing page is getting campaign traffic from multiple sources, it’s vital you track which channel provides the best results.

Do this by creating unique UTM URL codes for every campaign. They’re variables recognised by Google Analytics to track your marketing campaigns.

A good article called The 10 Best Ways to Use UTM Codes For Conversion Tracking by Search Engine Journal will show you how to set them up.

Social media optimisation tags

If you are running paid social media campaigns, make sure your landing page includes all the relevant tracking pixels and key pieces of content are tagged correctly to help increase social optimisation. (I will go into more details about this in another article)

In summary

As I’ve described above, a dedicated landing page is key to campaign success. Remember these top tips when you approach this:

1.    Focus on your campaign objective

2.    Align creatives and messaging to your CTA

3.    Create your landing page with only one CTA

4.    Populate it with benefit-driven content that’s easy to understand

5.    Track and measure everything, using UTM URL codes

Got a question about any of the above? Drop me a note in the comments below

Google RankBrain healthcare marketers Search Engine Marketing

Google RankBrain | Healthcare’s 5-step guide to more search…

Date posted: 08 November 2017

Links, content and RankBrain. These are the three most important factors for getting your web pages to rank in Google. If you want physicians and patients to find your content online, this is what you need to be optimising for.

In this post, we’ll take a candid look at what Google RankBrain is and what you can do, in five easy(ish) steps, to help drive more organic search traffic to your corporate, brand and therapy area websites.

Google RankBrain: what is it, and why should healthcare marketers care?

What | RankBrain is Google’s name for a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that helps process search results. It’s part of Google’s overall search algorithm, Hummingbird: a computer program that sorts through billions of webpages to find the most relevant results for a search.

How | I’ll assume that you have only a high-level interest in how RankBrain actually work, so I’ll share this quote from Google’s Gary Illyes,

RankBrain leverages the historical performance of essentially, or nearly, identical queries, to see what worked and what didn’t, and then leverages that information to adjust and improve the delivered results for the current query

In short, RankBrain takes complex, multi-word queries, and helps interpret/translate their meaning to find the best pages for the searcher.

Why | RankBrain helps Google process rare and one-of-a-kind queries, including the kinds of searches that are likely to pop-up in healthcare.

For example, a parent may investigate a child’s symptoms associated with a rare disease that leads to an earlier, more timely diagnosis, or a physician could research the management of little-known side effects that leads to enhanced patient care and outcomes.

Whatever the scenario, the value of optimising webpages for healthcare queries is obvious.

How rankbrain works

What should healthcare marketers do about it?

Nothing. You can’t optimize for RankBrain. Pah!

OK, perhap more helpfully, here’s what you should consider when creating web content you want to rank well in Google Search Results Pages (SERPs):

  1. Put audience needs first
    Google’s ranking signals include, click-through rates (CTR), bounce rates (BR) and time on site. These signals (plus a few others) tell Google about the value of your content to the searcher. As such, the more people click on your search result, the lower its bounce rate and the higher their time on site, the better. So put your audience needs first and you won’t go far wrong.
  2. Optimise for clicks
    One way to do this, is to create irresistible snippets to drastically improve your click through rates. To be featured, create content that answers searchers’ specific questions and provide in-depth answers to doctor and patient queries.
  3. End it
    You want your site to be the last place your audience goes to find information. Why? This tells Google that they found what they wanted on your site. To do this, comprehensively address the needs of your audience. See a theme emerging here?
  4. Big is beautiful
    Larger sites rank better. I’m sorry, that’s just life. Therefore, if SEO is a big part of your digital marketing strategy then it’ll be important to invest in the development of lots of valuable, high quality content that comprehensively addresses audience needs.
  5. On-page ranking factors
    From keywords to content, and on-page dressing, we’ve got you covered. Check-out our previous guides for more details on these.

In summary, none of this is really rocket science. Google cares about the needs of the audience more than yours. Using a bunch of different ranking signals, it will preferentially promote pages that best address searcher needs. As such, if you want doctors and patients to find your content, put their needs first by creating and optimising awesome content that addresses their search queries. Easy right?!

Pharma Marketers Keyword Research Search Engine Marketing

Pharma Marketers’ 5-Step Keyword Research Guide

Date posted: 19 October 2017

Keyword Research: Pharma’s How To

Welcome to another Method Minute.

Today we’re looking at the importance of organic search traffic to pharma’s marketers, and how free keyword research tools provide better understanding of audiences’ search behaviours and needs. This will allow you to optimise your content for customers and Google search rankings.

Why Are Keywords So Important To Pharma?

Physicians are people. People use search engines. In fact, physicians are using them many times each day to answer clinical questions for themselves and their patients. Particularly when their queries are time sensitive:

  • 84% of physicians use search engines six times each day
  • The majority of these searches are on a mobile

Pharma invests heavily in corporate, brand and therapy area websites; however, very little organic search traffic goes to them: just 7% of the total search volume.

If you’ve invested time, effort and budget into developing online resources, don’t you want your customers [physicians, healthcare professionals or patients] to find and use them?

If so, then this article is for you.

We’ll look at how you can use free keyword research tools to:

  • Better understand the search behaviours and needs of your target audience
  • Generate ideas for new content customers actually want and need
  • Improve your website’s search rankings, traffic and engagement metrics
  • Create content supporting your business objectives

It’ll take about 10 minutes, so grab a coffee and find a comfy seat.

Coffee and keywords


Keyword Research Using Free Tools: Pharma’s How To

Before we begin, I must confess that at Method we use a combination of the free tools discussed below and a paid service from Ahrefs. We do this to access more detailed reports and metrics, save time and make stronger recommendations for our clients in the pharmaceutical industry.

Having said that, the approach used here is a good practical introduction to the world of keyword research, suitable to inform your strategy and brief your agency.


Let’s go!

#1: Identify Your Seed Terms

All keyword research starts with a topic, or idea, a so-called ‘seed’. This seed can come from anywhere: your knowledge of a disease or therapy area, or directly from customer insights and market research.

If you’re not sure where to start, follow a niche-down approach: start with a broad keyword (like the name of a disease) and niche down until you find the keywords and content opportunities you’re looking for.

#2: Create Your Initial Keyword List

The best way to do this is with a keyword research tool. They pull data from Google’s Keyword Planner, Autocomplete and Similar Searches to provide you with real-world keyword suggestions — the search queries of your target audience.

Our favourite of the free keyword research tools, and the one we’ll use here is Answer The Public. We’ll also combine this with a free Chrome plug-in, called Keywords Everywhere, which will give us the metrics needed to make some educated decisions later.



How To Identify Your Keyword Opportunities

  1. Download the free Google Chrome extension, Keywords Everywhere keyword tool
  2. Go to Answer The Public
  3. Enter your seed term and the geography you’re interested in
    1. Click ‘Get Questions’
  4. Download your list of categorised search queries (a CSV file) and convert to Excel
    1. I’m afraid you’ll need to manually transfer [copy/paste] your metrics from Keywords Everywhere (another benefit of a paid service)
  5. Once complete, you’ll have a long list of keywords and their respective metrics:
    1. Search Volume: the average number of times people have searched for a specific keyword and its close variants in the last 30 days
    2. Cost Per Click (CPC): the amount advertisers pay for a single click for this keyword in Google Adwords. Our surrogate conversion metric
    3. Competition: the number of advertisers running ads on Google AdWords for this specific keyword. The number goes from 0 (low) to 1 (high). This is our difficulty metric i.e. how hard it will be to rank for this keyword in an organic search. It’s not as good as using a proper difficulty metric, but it will do for our purposes here

#3: Prioritise Your Keyword Opportunities

It’s now time to sort and prioritise your target keyword opportunities in Excel:

  1. Rank your keywords by volume, CPC and competition metrics:
    1. Have one column for each metric
    2. Conditionally format each column to rank by a relative score
    3. Rank your keyword data sheet by your priority metric, or combination of metrics. For example, you may choose to prioritise keywords with high search volume and conversion (CPC), and low difficulty (competition). Makes sense.
  2. Group keywords by parent topic
    1. Identify target keywords that are semantically and contextually related
    2. Group them under a ‘parent topic’ to target with a single page on your website
  3. Identify searcher intent
    1. For long tail keywords this is usually pretty obvious
    2. For single keywords this can be very tricky

Tip: If the search intent is unclear, search for the keyword in Google and the results will relay what the intent is

  1. Map your keywords to your customer journey
    Vital questions to consider when mapping keywords to your customer journey include:

    1. What are your business objectives?
    2. Which stage of the buyer journey do you want to target with your content?  
    3. Which topics and keywords (based on intent) align to which stages?
    4. Of those, which represent the highest value to your business?


 #4: Select Your Target Keywords

You must now make a calculated decision, based on how realistic you think it will be for your web pages to rank highly for a given keyword and topic. Influencing factors include:

  1. The website (its authority, size, quality of content etc.)
    1. If you have a large, established, authoritative website, you can feel more confident about targeting competitive keywords
    2. If you have a small, young site, it’s often better to target long tail keywords that are less competitive and have greater specificity of search intent
  2. Goals and objectives (branding, exposure, traffic, leads, sales etc.)
    This is where content is aligned with your business objectives:

    1. If the objective is to increase awareness of a particular disease, targeting queries for information and education are appropriate
    2. If you’re looking to convert prospective customers into prescribing physicians, addressing queries related to your product are more likely to create lead generation and sales conversion opportunities
  3. Budget, resources and deadlines
    1. If targeting highly competitive keywords, you will need to invest more time, effort and money into creating high quality content
    2. If the budget is limited, focus your efforts on addressing the specific queries of a smaller target audience using long tail keywords
  4. The industry and competitive landscape
    1. A competitive analysis using keyword research can help identify content gaps and opportunities for you to address
    2. It will also indicate how easy or difficult competitors will make it for you to rank higher than them for a particular keyword
    3. We’re not going to cover competitive keyword analysis in this article, as the tools required are subscription only. However, your agency should include this as part of their keyword report and recommendations

#5: Create Your Content

By now, you should have:

  1. A list of target keywords
  2. Grouped by topic
  3. Mapped to your customer journey

These topics and keywords should create a win-win for your business and customers.

Use these to brief your agency and review their content outlines against them to ensure a natural inclusion in page dressings and body content.

If you’re not sure how, check out our on-page SEO checklist  and SEO content guide.

Just remember, write for customers first, Google second!


Have you had successes, or challenges with keyword research and SEO content?  

Please share your experiences and advice in the comments section below.

Pharmas-onpage-seo-checklist-banner Search Engine Marketing

Help Physicians Find Your Content: Pharma’s On-Page SEO Checklist…

Date posted: 14 September 2017


Hello and welcome to the another Method Minute | Pharma Blog.

Today we’re looking at the value of organic search traffic to pharmaceutical marketers and what you can do with on-page SEO to attract more targeted, intent-driven physicians or patients to your website. For free.

Before we begin, try this:

  1. Pretend you’re a physician. A customer of yours. You’re busy and you need a quick answer to a clinical question
  2. Type a common customer question into Google that you believe your web page should rank highly for in a search engine results pages

How did you get on?

If you’re not happy with the result, this article is for you.

We’ll provide actionable advice for brand managers, medics and digital marketers (and their agencies) on how to optimise web pages for Google and physicians, using our 7-step on-page SEO checklist.

First, Let’s Briefly Consider Why Pharma Needs On-Page SEO

Physicians Are Searching

Research by Google shows that healthcare professionals (HCPs) are using search engines daily to find the information they need for clinical practice. Unfortunately, this traffic is not going to pharma industry websites:

  • The average physician performs 6 Google searches a day for work
  • 68% of physicians use search engines during a patient consultation
  • 84% of physicians search on condition related keyword terms
  • Only 7% of physician search traffic goes to pharma industry websites

Where is Pharma?

Given HCPs’ high use of search engines, it is likely that there are two core reasons for the low organic search traffic to pharma websites:

  • Pharma content isn’t addressing doctors’ information needs
  • Pharma websites are not optimised for organic search queries

Either way, physicians are finding the information they need from someone else. And that’s not good: it’s a missed opportunity for you to engage your customers, provide value, establish a relationship and build trust. Important if you want to sell to them in the future.

This article and infographic will help you (and your agency) quickly assess your on-page SEO ranking factors and tell you what you can do to optimise them to help you get your content found.

Starting with Google

Essentially, I want you to think of Google as a nice guy. He wants to give his searchers (your customers) a prioritised list of web pages (not websites) that he thinks best meet their needs. Google does this by trying to understand the topic and intent of their queries and then ranking the web page results by their relevancy and authority i.e. how trustworthy they are.

For example, if Dr James types What is the most effective drug for treating IBD into Google, Google is likely to interpret this as:

  • Topic: IBD treatment options
  • Intent: information request, conducted during the interest and consideration phases of the marketing funnel

As such, Google will suggest a comparison, or information web page (not a product web page) that provides a comprehensive review of the different treatment options available to the physician. In this case, the top ranking web page is from the Mayo Clinic doing exactly that.

The Mayo clinic web page ranks highest for two reasons:

  1. Relevancy: the web page contains content that is highly relevant to our search query – in topic and intent. Content is also fresh and of high practical value
  2. Authority: the webpage is authoritative and trustworthy. Google judges this by looking at the number other high-authority sites linking to/referencing it and by the age and size of the domain

Now let’s look at what you can do to improve your on-page SEO ranking factors, to improve your chances of ranking higher in Google’s organic search listings and being found by customers.

The infographic summarises the key information you need to optimise your web pages immediately. The content that follows the infographic offers more detail to support your understanding.

Pharma's on-page SEO checklist 2017

Download our pharma on-page SEO checklist 2017 Infographic

On-Page SEO: 7 Steps to Getting Your Content Found

Let’s take a look at some of the most important on-page SEO ranking factors, to see what you (and/or your agency) can do to assess and optimise your web pages for Google Search rankings: getting your content found by physicians, HCPs or patients.

#1 URLs: Targeted, Short and Sweet

Just like your title tags and your body content, Google (and physicians) use your URLs to understand what your page is about. Make it easy for them: keep your URLs short and include your target keyword. Easy.

#2 Title Tags: Keyword Targeted and Persuasive

Title tags, the clickable, blue headlines for a given search result in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), are important because they tell Google and your audience what your web page is about. They are an important SEO ranking factor and can determine whether or not someone visits your web page.

To rank highly AND receive clicks to your web page:

  • For Google, give every page on your site a unique title and include your target keyword at the front of your title tag. Google values these more highly. Keep the character count under 60 to ensure they display properly in SERPs
  • For physicians, use compelling, accurate and persuasive language that captures their attention and prompts action i.e. to click on your web page link

3# Header Tags: For Structure, Consumption and Targeting

These are your page titles (H1), headings (H2) and sub-headings (H3). Not only are they good for SEO, but they also help structure your content and make it more consumable: helping busy readers quickly absorb the main points of your content without reading it all.

To rank highly AND boost content engagement:

  • For Google, wrap your page title in a H1 tag and include your target keyword. For your headings and sub-headings, wrap them in H2 and H3 tags, respectively
  • For physicians, use your titles, headings and sub-headings to give structure to your content and convey your key points. Don’t get spammy with your target keywords: put the audience experience first.

4# Body Content: Relevant, Consumable, Targeted

Google has said that content is one of the top three ranking factors for organic search.

For the pharmaceutical industry, what makes high quality content from an SEO perspective?

  • It addresses an identified customer need. Using keyword research and searcher intent, high quality content addresses physicians’ information needs and/or helps them to complete a specific clinical task
  • It looks good. Doctors are people. People like good design and navigation. Well designed content makes it quick and easy for physicians to find the information they need and get on with their day. Don’t make them hunt around your site, or bounce back into Google to continue their search: both are negative ranking signals
  • It makes good use of target keywords and related terms. Don’t stuff your content with keywords – this is ineffective, risky and looks terrible – use keywords and related terms naturally in titles, subtitles and body copy. A good rule of thumb, is to include your keyword once within your first 100 words and once every 200 words after that.

Just remember, you’re writing for doctors first, Google second.

#5 Keywords and Searcher Intent

Keywords are the words and phrases (search queries) physicians enter into Google when trying to find answers to their clinical questions.

Keyword research (ideally conducted before you create your content) allows you to identify the information needs of your target audience and develop content, using the same and similar keyword phrases they do, to comprehensively address their needs.

Target keyword selection: considerations

  • Singular keywords
    • High search volume
    • Very competitive to rank for
    • Lack searcher intent
  • Long tail keywords, or keyword phrases
    • Lower search volumes
    • Less competitive to rank for
    • More specific searcher intent

Searcher intent relates to the objective of the searcher and strongly aligns with their position in the marketing funnel. The four categories of searcher intent, with search examples and what they mean for physicians and pharma are:

  • Navigational e.g. Medscape login
    The physician is familiar with the product or service and wants to get back a known site using Google, rather than using a specific URL
  • Informational e.g. Safest biologic for severe psoriasis
    The physician is conducting research to compare and inform a future prescribing decision. Possibly a good opportunity for you to provide a comprehensive review of the different therapeutic options available
  • Commercial e.g. Side effect profile for Drug X
    The physician is interested in prescribing your product and wants to know more before doing so. Provide comprehensive, high-quality content to answer all the relevant clinical questions your customer may have before prescribing
  • Ready to buy e.g.
    Much of the conversion occurs offline in pharmaceutical sales; however, online opportunities do exist to generate leads that convert physicians from prospects to prescribers, by including calls to action, such as: ‘Request a call, or visit from us’, ‘Try our eDetail’, ‘Request an information pack’. Or sending them promotional content via email, if they have opted-in for that

Whichever keywords and intent you target, address the identified customer needs first, with high quality, valuable, relevant content. Worry about Google second.

#6 Internal Links

An internal link is a page link, or ‘hyperlink’ that points to another page on the same website. Link tags can contain images, text, or other objects, all of which provide a “clickable” area for physicians, HCPs or patients to navigate your site.

Internal links are important for SEO, because they help establish an information hierarchy and spread link juice (ranking power) between pages on your site. By linking to priority pages on your website, you are telling Google that those pages are more valuable than the others and that they should rank higher.

Priority pages to link to:

  • Homepage – introducing customers to your company, your products and your services
  • Cornerstone content – the pieces that you are most proud of. The content that reflects your business, communicates your mission and are extremely well written. They are usually evergreen pieces, that are of high value and utility to you and your customers

#7 Social Signals: Create a Buzz

It is believed that social signals (likes, shares, follows, comments etc.) are a positive ranking factor for your web pages and their content. Both directly, and indirectly.

Think of it as social validation – like external links from authoritative sites – it’s a natural way to enhance your authority: demonstrating to Google how trustworthy your audience thinks you are. As a result, we should pay attention to them.

As a minimum, include prominent social sharing buttons next to your high quality content. Even better, participate in social sharing sites. If you don’t have a Twitter account, Facebook fan page or LinkedIn profile you’re missing out.

Build a network that can help you share your content.

Regulatory Compliance and On-Page SEO

The PMCPA states Generally speaking it would not be unreasonable for a company to try to ensure that its sites are ranked high on lists when the search is for that company or one of its medicines (brand or generic).

It would be questionable for a company to try to ensure that its product website was ranked highly when a more general search term was used. Such activity might be relevant if a complaint were received that a company was promoting a prescription only medicine to the public or encouraging members of the public to ask their health professional to prescribe a specific prescription only medicine.

Method Interpretation

  • On-page SEO is not acceptable when trying to rank your brand/product site for related therapy area keywords. For example, if you have a brand site for Drug X that treats rheumatoid arthritis, it would not be acceptable to try to rank for ‘chronic pain’, or ‘inflammation’
  • On-page SEO is acceptable when trying to rank your therapy area website that is a service to medicine, or the public. Just ensure that content intended for HCPs is gated and that there is clear separation from any brand site

To Do

  1. Either personally, or through your agency, get a report noting the keywords you are currently ranking for and the search traffic that they bring to your site
  2. Using competitor analysis, compare this to the sites that rank above you for your target keywords in Google. What are they doing differently?
  3. Look at your on-page SEO ranking factors. They are within your control and can quickly and easily be optimised. Helping customers find your content more easily

Have you had successes, or challenges with your on-page SEO efforts?

Please share your experiences and advice in the comments section below.