Pharmaceutical companies have been stepping slowly and carefully into the world of online marketing. With their direct-to-consumer advertising efforts being closely monitored by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), many pharma companies have been content to spend a large portion of their ad budgets on TV. But more consumers are looking online for prescription drug information which means that pharma companies need to improve the way they’ve been handling one of the most basic online marketing tools – search engine optimization (SEO).
Covario recently took a look at how top pharma companies manage their SEO strategies. For the most part, pharma companies are using this channel to successfully reach one of their key target groups, doctors. Industry experts believe that the FDA will be coming out with yet another round of guidelines for pharma companies and online D‑T-C advertising policies.
But pharma companies can take steps now to improve their SEO results. In considering the most logical industry keyword- pharmaceutical, analysts found that several well-known companies were at the top of the list on search engine results pages. Then, the analysts considered the keywords a typical consumer might use when searching for information on prescription medication. If a consumer does not search for a specific product name, he or she is likely to use a generic term such as ‘drugs’ or ‘medicine’. These terms are searched to a far larger extent than the term ‘pharmaceutical’. However, only one pharma company appeared in the top 100 of the search engine results listing when the words ‘drugs’ or ‘medicine’ were searched.
To improve these results, analysts suggest that content pages be built with keywords that “represent consumer demand.” In addition, content pages should include the same kind of keywords that are heard on TV and other forms of paid media to increase the synergistic effects of multiple marketing channels.[Source: The Covario SEO Audit Score. The Pharmaceutical Industry. Covario.com. 2011. Web. 15 Dec. 2011]