10 SEO Tips for Healthcare and Biotech Business Growth
As a biotech startup, your marketing inevitably rubs against a significant problem: exposure. Explaining what exactly you do can be difficult, especially if you're positioning yourself in a niche that has not yet become an established product category.
Without attention, you cannot grow in either capital or brand awareness. But how do you get that attention? Do it right, and search engine optimization (SEO) may be the answer. If you’re able to optimize your website in such a way that it’s easily found by your target audience, you've taken the first step toward getting the exposure you need to grow your business.
Google, the world's most popular search engine, alone processes more than 40,000 search queries every second. For those counting, that's 3.5 billion searches every day, or 1.2 trillion searches per year. If you want a slice of that pie, here are 10 SEO tips to grow your search engine success as a biotech or healthcare business.
10 SEO Tips for Healthcare and Biotech
1) Understand Your Audience
Audience research may not immediately seem like an SEO tip, but it should be the basis of everything you do when optimizing your website for search engines.
We're way beyond the age of formulaic approaches to search engine optimization. Simply building a link database or repeating a keyword is not enough to get your audience's attention or to rank highly on search engine results pages (SERP). You need to understand who your audience is for a reliable, consistent, and successful SEO strategy.
2) Develop a Keyword Strategy
Around the web, you'll read countless expert opinions on why your SEO strategy should no longer be built around keywords. Through various algorithm updates, search engines like Google have made sure that simply (and overtly) stuffing keywords into your website can actually penalize your website.
But that doesn't diminish the importance of keyword research. You need to know what your audience searches for if you want your content to rank highly for those searches. Finding keywords that offer a balance between popularity and competitiveness can help you build an SEO strategy designed around actual audience searches.
3) Build a Web of Credible Content
Of course, even the best keywords are worth little if you don't do anything with them. The key to ranking highly on Google and other search engines is to build actual, popular content. The more your audience reads, interacts with, and shares that content, the higher it will rise on the SERP.
Especially in the healthcare industry, credibility is absolutely key. A wealth of content about your industry already exists online. How can you make sure your blog posts, whitepapers, and webinars establish your voice in that competitive field? What insights can you share that are not just interesting, but also believable?
4) Differentiate Yourself
A key part of SEO success in this competitive industry: differentiation. Make sure you know what distinguishes your product and expertise from your competitors, and hone in on that aspect of your business. If you have insights into a specific aspect of sleep science, share them instead of focusing on the entire industry.
To make sure you can accomplish that type of differentiation and uniqueness, consider competitive keyword research. A number of tools and strategies can help you better understand what terms and phrases your competitors are trying to rank for. Armed with that knowledge, you can build a strategy that doesn't infringe on an established brand's space, but carves out its own niche and more successfully gains your audience's attention.
5) Optimize Your Site Structure
All of the tips so far, from keyword research to content marketing, are relatively qualitative. But don't underestimate the quantitative aspects of SEO, either. Only a well-structured website can succeed in convincing Google's hundreds of ranking factors that your website is worthy of first page placement.
Your sitemap, for example, should be formatted just right to communicate to Google the originality and structure of your website. Similarly, longer content on your individual pages is likely to rank those pages higher in search results.
6) Consider Mobile Optimization
Mobile optimization is so important, it deserves its own tip. 2015 was the year when mobile website traffic first surpassed its desktop counterpart, and the gap has only widened since. That year, Google first started to openly favor mobile-optimized websites in its search results through an algorithm update known in the industry as 'Mobilegeddon.'
Mobile optimization means embracing responsive design. But it also means building everything on your website, from its navigation to the individual content, with mobile visitors in mind. The more positive the experience of potential customers and investors who use their tablets and smartphones, the more likely they'll be to stay around and read more about your company.
7) Minimize Your Bounce Rate
Bounce rate may be the dirtiest term in web development. No matter how well you build your website, you won't be able to avoid a number of visitors simply viewing one page and jumping off again. In fact, across industries, between 41 and 55% of your visitors bounce after viewing just one page on your website.
Your goal is to keep that number reasonable. High bounce rates have shown a high correlation with search engine rankings, making this aspect a priority in your SEO efforts.
Technical factors and poor design can affect your bounce rate, but lowering it can be even simpler: always offer a next step. End your credibility-building content with a next step on more information to which your audience can navigate. For example, a blog post about sleep science can lead to a webinar registration form to learn more about the same subject.
8) Manage (Not Build) Your Inbound Links
Because Google's algorithm is private, experts don't always agree on the most important ranking factors for SERPs. But they do agree on one thing: you better have a broad database of quality inbound links.
Link building, which used to be a common SEO strategy, is now frowned upon. That's because search engines like Google go through lengths to make sure that every link to your site is organic. Quality and relevant content can prompt your audience to build links for you, which is a much more positive ranking factor.
At the same time, be careful of low-quality links to your website. Search engines can actually devalue your website as a result of these types of links, penalizing your rankings in response. Regularly disavowing backlinks, therefore, is crucial.
9) Use SEM as an SEO Predictor
Most businesses keep their paid search engine marketing (SEM) and SEO efforts separate. But in fact, combining the two can actually provide a boost to your business in a multitude of ways.
For starters, a number of studies have suggested that ranking organically for a given keyword, and buying an ad for that same keyword, can actually increase your web traffic. In addition, you can use SEM experiments to suggest which organic keywords will be successful long-term.
Building up your rankings takes time, especially in a competitive industry like healthcare. SEM can help you deliver short-term traffic increases while also improving your profile on Google while your SEO efforts catch up.
10) Keep the Future in Mind
Finally, don't underestimate the constantly changing nature of search engines. Google alone releases dozens of algorithm updates every year, slightly changing the factors that influence just what web pages make it to those prestigious first-page results.
That's why your SEO strategy should always keep a contingency for future changes in place. Don't assume you can build it once, and it will work in perpetuity. Instead, keep the future in mind, treating your search engine optimization as an ongoing effort for constant improvement rather than a one-time fix.
The Importance of SEO Commitment
In short, SEO should be a crucial part of your digital marketing efforts. The biotech and healthcare industry is competitive, and establishing yourself as a force requires a strategy that highlights your knowledge and maximizes your capabilities.
Given the first five results of any SERP account for more than two thirds of all clicks on that search query, you can't afford to approach SEO without focus and dedication. With the above tips, you can make sure your audience will find your biotech startup, growing your brand awareness in the process.