SEO for the Pharmaceutical Industry (Pharma)

SEO for the Pharmaceutical Industry (Pharma)

By Sadie on September 14, 2011

SEO for the Pharmaceutical Industry (Pharma)


SEO is a creative industry and if you have a good relationship with the client you can get great results with a lot of creativity and even have some fun in the process. Not all clients will give you that free reign over their brand and the pharmaceutical industry is notorious for being strict so how do you do a SEO campaign for a pharmaceutical client.

Falkon Digital are lucky enough to have worked with some great clients including those in the Pharma industry therefore we are fully aware of the constraints they have when dealing with marketing and online marketing.

It used to be that in all you had to do to get ranked in the search engines would be to add keywords to the home page in headers and link to the home page. This has changed a lot as in those days the web was full of spammy sites and bad links from link farms with 100’s of links on one page. However, the importance of links and keywords is still necessary. With the pharmaceutical industry, they are heavily regulated therefore, the keywords that they want to do well for, they may not be allowed to use. They also have to be very careful about buying links or having listings within directories which leaves you with a bit of a problem.

In the past we have had to find different solutions for SEO campaigns when working with the pharmaceutical sector.

SEO Content and regulatory

Content on a pharma site has to be approved by regulatory and they have very strict requirements about using certain words or the way things are phrased, this means a lot of SEO content does not get approved meaning the search engines will struggle to understand the site.
In the past we have had to work hard at inding a common ground and use other techniques to increase relevance for the site other than on page content, this is incredibly hard but achievable with the right campaigns.

Inbound Links for Pharmaceutical clients

Getting people to link to a pharma website can often be very difficult – depending on the product – and spammy paid links are a definite no, no!
Article submissions would be a good idea, however, getting the content for this to be approved can also be problematic therefore the quickest way to get links is to use the companies network of sites. Most pharmaceutical companies will have a range of divisions or products that each have there own websites so from this you can link in the old 3 way link method. However, this is not going to be enough in some cases therefore other ways of generating links need to be used. One of the best ways that works is to use a link bait campaign, this requires a large budget and may need to be coupled with a seeding campaign but you can generate links naturally by creating good content. This can be a video, a useful tool, an animation or a game, it may even just be useful advice but providing this good content will generate links. Again though this can be a long process getting approval on the content but is one of the best ways of getting good quality links.

Social Media for Pharma

Social Media is a great way of boosting SEO and one that many Pharma companies engage in, however this needs to be very strict and is often in the form of a forum rather than a facebook page, although paid for Facebook advertising is a great social media tool for Pharma companies as they have a lot of control over the demographic and content. Social media needs to be closely monitored and in some cases, a ‘survival’ guide is needed in case negative feedback is relayed through social media. Having an approved objection handling script is necessary to nip complaints in the bud so it doesn’t get out of control and will stop the company user from saying something that is not appropriate for the industry.

Log in Pages

Many Pharma and Healthcare professional websites have sensitive information that can only be accessed through a login. If something is restricted in this way then search engine robots will not be able to view content and will think the site is smaller and less relevant than it actually is. To overcome this it is essential to set up landing pages and information pages that can be accessed. This, of course, depends on the product but this can be an effective way of getting websites ranked.


PPC is not organic but paid search but is a great way to get traffic to a campaign, using paid media to complement existing content can help encourage initial popularity in the website to then encourage inbound links.

SEO for the pharmaceutical industry can be a long and frustrating campaign for everyone involved, however, everyone has the same restraints within this sector and can be a really good project to work on. We have only touched upon some of the ways you can employ SEO for a pharmaceutical website as there are more things to do but it is very important to have a good understanding of compliance and regulatory when dealing with a pharma client, this will stop you from wasting time pitching links and time-sensitive blogs that in many cases will not be approved.