Today’s guest blog post is by Casey Williams, the Associate Director of Health Sciences at iProspect. Since joining the firm in 2006, Casey has focused on the health sciences market. She is responsible for strengthening relationships with iProspects clients in this field, and cultivating and disseminating health industry knowledge within iProspect and across its client base in order to enhance their performance marketing initiatives. Prior to iProspect, Casey worked in marketing at a DNA sequencing biotech start-up, and interned at both a Fortune 1,000 pharmaceutical company and the National Institutes of Health. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.

By Casey Williams (@iHealthSci)

Nowadays, we take search for granted. At least we do as users but as marketers, sometimes its too easy to let search considerations fall by the wayside.

When a question arises over dinner about what exactly constitutes high blood pressure, the answer is easy. “Just Google it! Our queries are so easily and immediately answered that we have learned to turn to search engines when we have questions.

This is true when more serious issues arise as well. A few summers ago, my boyfriend was very sick fever, headache, vomiting, the works. I returned from a business trip to find him cranky, achy, and immobile on the couch. He pointed to a strange rash on his leg and who did I turn to but Google (or “Dr. Google as I call him in these situations) to diagnose him.

In this case, we were lucky. We found websites that indicated he may have Lyme disease and after a midnight trip to the ER, it was confirmed by a blood test. His treatment began immediately, thanks in large part to “Dr. Google and of course the “real doctor he visited.

Im not alone in my use of search to answer my health questions. There are approximately 212 million Americans online per month, 94 percent of whom perform searches as part of their activities (according to comScore research Jan-Feb 2010). Health is of major interest – 62 percent of those people online visited sites in the health category (comScore Oct 2010). And similar to me, theyre not just reading the information, theyre acting on it. Seventy six percent of people took an action as a result of health-related online research (comScore research Jan-Feb 2010).

You cannot afford to take your brands presence in search for granted. You want your medicine or service to be in front of the right audience when they are actively seeking it. Most brands participate in paid search as part of their media buys. But over 70 percent of searchers click on organic search results. If your brand isnt there, youre missing out on a significant amount of traffic and branding!

Go to Google right now. Search on your brand name. Is your website in the top position of the organic results? Where is your website (or the associated non-branded domain) when you search on your indication? Are you on page one of search results?

If youre nowhere to be found on the first page of results ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is my website technically accessible to the search engines? If youre not sure, try running your site through a crawler program like Xenu.
  2. Do I have content on my website using the exact terms that I just “tested my website on? If not, when is my next planned website update so I can update the content?
  3. Who is responsible for organic search visibility for my brand? Is it my IT department? The marketing team? The Agency of Record? Accountability is crucial for ongoing success.

If you have strong positioning in the organic search results based on these two tests, good for you! A few items for you to think about:

  1. What is your sites visibility in mobile search? Its a fast growing access method with a small screen, making good visibility even more important.
  2. Have you performed a content gap analysis to see where additional keyword opportunities may exist?
  3. Are your paid search and organic search strategies integrated? For example, high-cost PPC keywords should be targeted in organic search. PPC ad positioning relative to organic search positioning can also be tested for maximum efficiency.

With some work, your website can be in front of consumers when they too are visiting “Dr. Google.



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