Since the healthcare and life sciences industry is much of emagine’s customer base, I talk to a lot of biotech companies about digital marketing. A common question they tend to have is focused on biotech SEO and if search engine optimization is worth their time and money.
The biotechnology industry emerged in the 70’s with a core focus on improving the quality of human life. If this is the case, then wouldn’t it make sense for biotech companies to reach humans via the web? Yes, yes it would.
The world searches for healthcare information online and this activity is growing each year. Here are some interesting facts:
- 55% of people surveyed rely more on the internet for their health-related information than they did just five years ago
- Symptoms, treatments, and medication are most frequently searched for items
- 54% of those surveyed feel the ability to fact-check information online is critical their health
And whether or not you believe the survey results, I can personally attest to the self-education people perform to assist in maintaining and improving their health. I run a private Facebook group for Type 1 diabetics. The group has thousands of members worldwide and it ranges from newly diagnosed adults to those who have had this disease much of their lives.
One uniform element about these members is they all seek health information online. They actively ask others for support and they seek credible data through online research. They don’t just stop at news outlets and high volume publications. Instead, they will dig into obscure websites that offer a glimmer of hope for new treatments, medical advancements, and a healthier tomorrow.
In 2019, patients come to their healthcare providers with research studies, press releases, and suggestions for treatment options. They want to take an active role in their health and they want to be advocates for themselves and their medical journey.
We live in a new world of information and the internet is leading the way. Search, and particularly SEO, is at the forefront of this transformation. Thus biotech SEO is a necessary part of advancing biotechnology reach, use, and overall adoption.
10 Questions to Validate Your Website’s SEO Strategy
The question should no longer focus on if biotech SEO is needed. Instead, it should focus on the strategy behind search engine optimization and if this strategy is aligned with a company’s overall goals and objectives.
In answering this critical question, let’s explore ten sub-questions that will help provide the answer. Take a moment and answer the following questions:
- Who is your target demographic?
- Have you created website personas to align with the target demographic?
- Have you mapped out your patient or buyer’s journey?
- Does your website provide navigation and content for each persona and their individual journey?
- Does your website content and SEO strategy support the challenges, pain points, and information needs of each content marketing persona?
- Have you validated your SEO plan to actual search trends and volumes?
- Have you validated your SEO plan to align with search intent and Google’s ultimate method for displaying search results (SERPs)?
- What is the ultimate goal of a website visit?
- Are these goals represented in clear calls to action for your visitors?
- Are you tracking these individual calls to action and using the data to make better digital marketing decisions?
I’m going to bet that the answer to many of the above questions is no. This would indicate you do need better strategy, planning, and execution of your SEO and overall digital marketing efforts.
Key Considerations for SEO Planning and Execution
Not All Website Traffic is Good Traffic
Not all website traffic is going to be the right traffic for you and your offering. Visitors won’t return to your website or reach out to talk if they’re not a good match. Think about the type of visitors coming to your website and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do existing website visitors match up to your target demographic?
- Are you retaining these visitors or are they bouncing upon arrival?
- Do these visitors have a high probability of converting?
If you are not seeing success with existing website traffic, you are probably not targeting the right people, providing the right content, and giving them enough options and visual clues to convert.
And honestly, most biotech websites fall into this situation. Biotech websites tend to have limited information, it is written for only one website persona, and it completely fails to deliver a solid journey map, necessary information, and clear calls to action. And worse yet, most biotech websites have zero SEO to help drive the right people to the website.
Focus on Conversion Quality Over Volume
As a digital marketer, your aim is to attract the leads that have the highest chance of converting. You would rather have a lower amount of high quality of the right conversions, then a large number of unqualified conversions.
SEO helps you drive the right people to the website, which then drives the right conversions.
In today’s world of search, more and more people are searching for phrases that are four words or more. Targeting these longer phrases equates to less traffic, but it will end up being the exact traffic you need to convert.
The magic of high-quality SEO is it allows people to self-qualify themselves before they ever reach your website. They are an ideal fit upon arrival to the website and they arrive at the exact piece of content to service their needs.
Broad-based brand campaigns are great, but they don’t lend themselves to actionable website traffic that brings in qualified conversions that lead to tangible revenue.
Focus on Search Intent
There are two different routes you can take with your keyword strategy: a generic, broad approach or a longtail keyword approach. One of these approaches focuses on optimizing for a smaller set of keywords that are extremely relevant to your business and reflect the intent of the user more precisely. This will then lead itself closely to aligning with search intent, ranking in search, and converting those human visitors.
Broad keywords are typically one or two-word phrases. These phrases are less specific, more difficult to rank in search, and more difficult to convert. While these more generic keyword phrases have higher search volumes, they don’t necessarily reflect the user’s search intent, which means they probably don’t align with what you do and visitors simply won’t covert.
Longtail keywords are multiple word phrases that can be three words or more. These phrases have lower search volumes, but they are highly relevant to your business. They’re more descriptive, have less competition in search, are generally easier to rank for in search, and tend to convert at a higher rate.
An Example of Longtail Keywords vs. Broad Keywords
Let’s assume you are working to create biotechnology for curing or prolonging the onset of type 1 diabetes. Not let’s assume you have a clinical trial that requires qualified participants.
What keyword phrases would you use to generate general traffic to the website, media attention, and participants in your clinical trial?
|Keyword Phrase||Avg. Search Volume||Keyword Difficulty|
|type 1 diabetes||302,090||High|
|type 1 diabetes treatment||11,930||High|
|type 1 diabetes cure||9,859||Medium|
|type 1 diabetes vaccine||393||Medium|
|type 1 diabetes clinical trials||207||Low|
|immunotherapy for diabetes||90||Low|
|clinical islet transplantation||10||Low|
|restoring natural insulin production||Low|
|implantation of islet cells||Low|
|type 1 diabetes cell therapy||Low|
Would you go broad and target “type 1 diabetes” or would you be more specific and target “type 1 diabetes clinical trials”?
Or would you map out your website personas, their informational needs, and use that to drive a more holistic view and multiple keyword phrases?
The right answer is the last one. You would map out who you serve, what their information needs are, and then create a seed list of possible keywords to align with those personas.
A patient, healthcare provider, and scientist will all search for different phrases. Some (patients) will start broad and narrow their search as they become more educated on what biotechnology is available, while others (scientists or researchers) will already have the knowledge to go straight for very specific terminology and keyword phrases.
The key is to think through all website personas, document their individual search phrases, and then create content to attract their traffic and solve their informational needs.
Note: Google and Bing both see a high volume of brand new searches each day. This means the above numbers do not accurately represent actual search volumes. They are used for guidance purposes only. We must remember that the biotech industry is constantly evolving and search data doesn’t evolve as fast as the industry.
Good SEO Amplifies the Reach of Biotech Companies
With immense competition online for biotechnology companies, attracting the perfect website visitor is challenging. The right SEO strategy and digital marketing partner alleviate those challenges.
My team at emagine services all types of companies within the healthcare and life sciences industry. You could say that biotech SEO is part of our company culture and DNA. I can honestly say that me and my team feel very fortunate to help our clients help improve the health and lives of their ultimate customers and patients.
We’d love to help you navigate through the creation of website personas, the process of keyword research, optimizing your website content, and truly helping you service your target market online.
As an added bonus, we’re well versed on the regulatory compliance issues you face daily, so we can be a true technology partner in helping you safely expand and broaden your digital marketing reach.
Let’s talk about your SEO strategy and how we can start driving high-quality traffic to your website.
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