Joe Arcuri, Director of Multi-Channel Services, Palio
According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project eight in 10 people have gone online looking for health-related information. It seems everyone is hitting Google to research medical conditions, locate a physician, find new treatment therapies, or learn about the latest fad diet. Search is the gateway technology to other social media and inspires action. From search, people discover communities, make decisions about a prescription or treatment, increase their ability to perform self care, etc.
Beyond thinking about what someone would type into Google, getting the most from your search campaign requires understanding your target audience, knowing where they interact and gather information, and then getting them to do something, whether that’s visit your company website, make a purchase or enroll in a clinical trial.
How can companies get the most from their search campaign?
Increase digital landscape knowledge, gather information about the population you’re trying to attract and offer them something of value. The challenge is to figure out where your demographic is online and focus your communication strategy around it. Be careful not to pigeon-hole your strategy. Multichannel, multi-audience campaigns require customized SEO efforts. When you deliver value to your customers they’ll be encouraged to share their experience with others.
Create profiles on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Flickr, YouTube, and LinkedIn and take time to periodically review and update them. There are different places and opportunities to increase visibility. Search engines are just one way users find information – remember to think about other avenues such as social networks, linked data, mobile apps, social bookmarking sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon and Digg, online directories, and industry publications.
Know what words and phrases your reader is searching for and craft well-written copy for every Web page. High-quality information will ensure people return to your website and share it with their network. Well-written content creates higher levels of engagement, search engine rankings and promotes the likelihood of links from other sites. Create a list of targeted keywords and use them throughout your content and in various titles. Run keyword audits on competitor sites as well, particularly if they rank higher than yours in major search engines. Titles should be interesting to read, but clearly communicate what the reader can expect to learn.
First-page SEO ranking is important and requires ongoing management and optimization. If your site is appearing at page three for a given keyword phrase, it’s time to make some changes – most people don’t look beyond the first page of search results. Because rankings fluctuate, depending on competition and changes in the Google algorithm, it’s important to monitor rankings over time, and determine if you need to make changes in order to maintain top positions.
Measure everything. Providing value and information of interest to patients, medical professionals or other targets is of primary importance. Use these criteria to build searches on your company, products, and competitors and adjust your search strategy accordingly. Beyond rankings, measure conversations, engagement, brand advocates, influence and links. Appearing at the top of organic search results is a bonus, but achieving the goal you set out to achieve in the first place is a more important measure. Your position in search results or the number of followers on Twitter is meaningless if your campaign isn’t producing intended results.
Together, search and web analytics are important precisely because they are consistently and quantitatively measurable. They should be a top priority not only because they can drive your online marketing success, but because they can be a topline indicator of how successful your offline efforts are as well.
Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.