Search Engine Marketing for Healthcare Companies

You might have heard of Search Marketing, Search Engine Marketing or Search Engine Optimization and wondered what the difference among them is and, most importantly, if your healthcare company is using the right Search Marketing techniques to gain website traffic and visibility on search engines.

Search Marketing is an umbrella term encompassing Search Engine Optimization – which is the process of gaining free traffic to your website by ensuring that the website is listed organically and ranks high on search engine pages – and Search Engine Marketing – which is to process of driving traffic to your website by purchasing ads that appear on search engine results, often in a higher position than organic listing.[1]

Patients, physicians, nurses, and hospitals are increasingly using the Internet at an exponential rate[2].  More and more healthcare professionals use internet regularly to find information for their medical practice[3]  and many of them use mobiles, including smartphones, within clinical practice to access emails, medically related websites, mobile apps and so on[4].

Healthcare professionals and consumers also use the internet to research products, including medical products. Google’s Consumer barometer shows that 56% of the online users first learned of a product purchased online via website or app. People learn about products through a number of online sources, particularly Search Engines (49%) and brand websites (25%).

For healthcare, pharma, biotech and medical devices companies these numbers simply means that their online presence is key to increase brand awareness, generate leads and improve sales.


With Search Engines being the first online source used to search information about a product, Search Engine Optimization is one of the most important digital strategies to consider if you want to drive relevant traffic to the website.

In particular, healthcare companies can greatly benefit from inbound marketing techniques, such as SEO, content marketing or social media, to attract physicians, as well as executives and purchasing professionals, to the website while doing their online searches. According to Hubspot, inbound marketing techniques have 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing efforts.[5]

Search Engine Optimization is the process of driving traffic to a website by making sure that your website ranks in a high position on search engines result pages when people search relevant keywords related to your industry, services or website topic. There are at least 200 ranking factors in Google’s algorithm, including domain factors, page-level and site-level factors, backlinks, user interaction with the website, and so on (for a complete list, see here). Some of these factors can be influenced by following SEO best practices.

In general, an on-page Search Engine Optimization strategy should be performed keeping your buying persona in mind, and the keywords they are searching for.

Keywords can be branded keywords, generic keywords or long tail keywords. Long tail keywords and brand keywords tend to have lower search volume but higher engagement on the page and conversion rates. When selecting your target keywords, consideration should be given to the keyword’s search volume, which is the number of times this exact keyword is searched on a monthly basis.

For example:


  • Generic Keyword: “diabetes”
  • Monthly Searches Ireland: 6,600
  • Long Tail keywords: “diabetes risk factors”
  • Monthly Searches Ireland: 10


  • Generic Keyword: “surgical instruments”
  • Monthly Searches UK: 50
  • Long Tail Keyword: “dental high speed handpiece”
  • Monthly Searches UK: 10

The following elements should be optimized for your selected keywords on every page. Keep in mind that each page should be optimized for only few keywords:

  • Page Titles
  • Page URLS
  • Pahe Headers (H1/H2 etc)
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Content
  • Image File Name
  • Image Alt Tag

Search Engine Marketing

You have created great content for your website, you have done your Search Engine Optimization, and yet competition is high and you feel that your pages should be present on search engines more often, for more search terms and in a better ranking position.

In this case, Pay Per Click Advertising, or Paid Search Marketing, can help boost traffic to your website.  With 72.48% of the world’s market share of search[6], Google will probably be your first choice when planning a Search Engine Marketing campaign.

Search Engine Marketing is not always easy for healthcare companies, particularly for pharmaceutical companies, and it is not always possible. Google AdWords policy for Healthcare and Medicines is available here and it varies depending on the country. In the United Kingdom for example, pharmaceutical manufacturers are allowed to promote over-the-counter medicines and online pharmacies on Google. In Ireland pharmaceutical companies are not allowed to advertise prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, or online pharmacies.

However, anything from disease awareness campaigns, to medical devices, patient material, brochures and information for healthcare professionals, healthcare awards, and so on can still be advertised on Google AdWords. Campaigns should be evaluated on a case by case basis, depending mainly on the presence of information about drugs on the website.

How does it work? Google Search Ads appear above or below search results on Google Search. They can appear beside, above, or below search results on Google Play, Google Shopping, and Google Maps, and on Google Search partner sites[7].

Advertiser can chose their budget and they only pay when someone click on their ads. The amount paid per click depends on a number of factors including competition for your keyword, the quality of your ads, the quality of your keywords and the quality of your landing pages.

You will chose a number of keywords for which you want your ads to appear. For example, if you create an ad about a new glucose meter, and you want your ad to appear when people search “blood sugar monitor” or “blood glucose device” in Google Search in Ireland, Google AdWords allows you to do that.

You can also use Google AdWords to advertise on websites or apps belonging to the Google Display Network or for mobile advertising. The Google Display Network can help you increase your brand awareness by showing your banners, rich media or video ads on website that are relevant to your business.

You can target users by keyword, or topics (contextual targeting), show your ads on manually selected websites, or create a remarketing campaign to show your ads to people who have already visited your website. For example if your company produces hearing aids, your ads could show in the following topics, or specific websites:

  • Topic:419:Health > Health Conditions
  • Topic:677:People & Society > Disabled & Special Needs
  • Topic:1352:Health > Medical Devices & Equipment > Assistive Technology
  • Topic:246:Health > Vision Care
  • Topic:253:Health > Medical Literature & Resources
  • Topic:1353:Health > Medical Devices & Equipment > Assistive Technology > Mobility Equipment & Accessories
  • Topic:641:Health > Mental Health > Learning & Developmental Disabilities
  • Topic:635:Health > Medical Facilities & Services > Medical Procedures
  • Topic:944:Health > Medical Facilities & Services > Medical Procedures > Surgery
  • Topic:1211:Health > Health Conditions > Ear Nose & Throat
  • Hearing Aids Review Page, Multiple locations
  •,Top left








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