What Is Biotech SEO and Why Is it Important for Life Science Companies?
Since roughly 2003, when Google had its first major algorithm update, search engine optimization (SEO) has been a key factor for companies wanting to stay relevant, accessible, and competitive on the internet.
So, what does SEO actually mean? SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for search and involves having digital content that is keyword-rich, relevant, and either consistently new or updated. When you’re strategically adding value to the web within your niche, Google rewards that behavior by showing browsers your website on the first page when they type in a related search term.
For example, if you are a lab in the Boston area, you’ll want people who search “lab + Boston” in Google to see your website as one of the first options. If your site is showing up in one of the top results, it likely means you’ve been working on optimizing your site for search.
This matters to companies in the biotech industry just as much as it matters to your local dermatologist or a bakery down the street. SEO is rapidly replacing the role of a traditional salesman or even a direct mail informational campaign.
Regardless of who your customer is, the first thing they’re going to do when trying to find you or your product is type search terms into Google. So when thinking about SEO, ask yourself, “When someone has a question related to my product, does my company’s website appear on the first page of search results?”
Unique Challenges and Opportunities for Biotech and Search
Biotech is a fast-growing industry with many very specific innovations. If you’re a company that holds a patent for a critical new medical process, you’re likely one of only a handful in your niche.
Investing in SEO at such an early stage in your business and your industry is a can’t-miss opportunity from both a marketing and sales perspective.
Academic articles or news stories about your patent may be more likely to surface before your actual website, but often, searchers won’t land on a competitor’s website because that competitor is either a) in the same position as you and has not optimized for search; or b) doesn’t exist. After all, what you’re offering the market is brand new, so there may not be a competitor with a robust web presence yet.
Because you have no direct or very few competitors, it may feel like investing in SEO—likely a marketing line item in your budget—is a waste of time. The problem is that often, customers can’t find you organically if you don’t have a robust, content-rich website. And even if they do find you online, the modern internet user is becoming increasingly savvy, meaning they are accustomed to a website showcasing a product or brand’s credibility.
The Big Opportunity for SEO in Biotech
One of the great things about Google is that it will factor in the age of content a website has about a particular subject. So, if your website is the first (or one of the first) to have content about your patented product, Google sees that and will rank you higher because you have some of the most original content on the topic.
Although paid ad campaigns may also be useful for you, investing in a long-term SEO content strategy will yield more sustained results. As you have probably noticed, the top few positions in most Google searches have the word “ad” on the far left side (example below).
As you can see in the image above, the Mailchimp article about SEO also surfaced, and it is not a paid ad. That’s because it’s optimized for SEO and has proven to be an up-to-date resource for many browsers.
According to Marketing Insider Group, “Organic search by nature attracts visitors who are naturally interested in the content you create and the products and services you offer. They click through to your site because your content resonated with them for a reason — not because you paid for it to appear at the top.” A paid strategy may still be necessary for you at times, like when you have a new product, or a competitor is using very similar content and keywords to describe themselves.
However, while you’re the primary business in your space, taking the time to establish your site as the go-to destination on Google for your product or services will pay dividends long after any ad campaign has run its course. Over time, consumers in your space will grow accustomed to seeing your site populate in the top search options and will think of you as a trustworthy resource.
Keyword Research and Long-Tail Keywords
Okay, you have your patent in hand and are working to find a website platform and designer. That means you’re now ready to figure out which keywords to prioritize. “Keywords” are words people type into the search bar in any search engine (Google is by far the largest). At this point in the process, it’s important to think about the different locations your consumers may be in the sales funnel.
For example, if you’ve patented a new electrosurgical tool, consider the type of customer who has the least experience with that kind of technology but still may need information about it. This could be a medical student, a medical device salesperson, or perhaps an undergraduate student preparing a research paper about new inventions in surgical technology.
What terms would they use to try to find your tool? Since you’re at the brainstorming stage, try to come up with 10-15 words and phrases that someone with only a cursory understanding of your product might use to find it.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to start thinking about your long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are very specific keywords, and using these in your content can often help attract those buyers who are searching for exactly what you’re selling.
If your electrosurgical tool is a laparoscopic handset, you’ll want to use the exact name for that, and other related terms and phrases, such as “rigid endoscope” or “endoscope with telescopic lens.” With long-tail keywords, use the jargon that you do internally. Think about the language the people who will be using your tools—in this case, surgeons—would use when trying to find your product.
Creating a comprehensive keyword strategy can take time and should always be refreshed. If you’re overwhelmed by the idea or don’t have time, let the SEO experts at Metric Marketing help your biotech company.
Creating Your Content Strategy
Even though you may have a significant search volume for the keywords your company wants to rank for, it won’t translate to growth in SEO leads unless Google identifies that your website has relevant content. For content to be relevant, it has to be recently updated or new, integrate quality backlinks and be optimized for the user’s experience.
Writing Custom, Keyword-Rich Content
If you don’t put the time into a content strategy, your site likely won’t surface in the top search results for most browsers. Unless that is, they’re already searching for your company name, and at that point, they’re already more likely to seek you out regardless of how high you appear in their search results.
SEO helps those leads get to you faster, but it’s more critical for people who aren’t familiar with your specific biotech product or company but do know the search terms they’re looking for. Since you’re likely a newer company or bringing a new product to market, you’ll need more of the second type of searcher than the first.
Agencies like Metric Marketing can work with you to isolate the important keywords your competitors may be using and those you want to rank for, and then generate a list of topics that showcase your reliability and expertise in your niche of the biotech industry. Using these keywords as a guide for headlines and topics, Metric’s content writers then create a series of long-form, researched articles demonstrating your authority for specific topics, making it more likely your website will surface high in search for those specific keyword topics.
These articles are meant to be authoritative and helpful for visitors. If you’re working with that new electrosurgical tool, you might want a blog post about how it’s an improvement over a previous one or a detailed post about its capabilities. Many biotech companies use case studies to help generate relevant content for their users.
Building Out Your Backlinks
Part of building credibility in any type of written content is citing your sources. Backlinks are the hyperlinks you include when you want to cite a resource or research paper or when you want to link to a different page within your own website that holds specific information relevant to the article you’re working on now.
As you scroll down in this article, you’ll see backlinks to statistics from other sites, case studies, and more. If you include more quality, information-rich backlinks in your content, your site will rank higher in search.
If you understand the term UX (user experience), you’re well on your way to understanding technical SEO. This part of SEO is more about making your website easy to navigate and accessible for most internet users. You’ll want to bring in some expertise on this when building your website. Often, website designers will know to design with accessibility, security, and usability in mind.
Your consumer experience is also influenced by your website’s loading time, and if it’s optimized to be searched on mobile. It’s much easier to think about these pieces now, as you’re building your website, than to try to implement them later on.
Curious to know more? Check out this case study from our work with Akadeum Life Sciences. Since 2015, we’ve been working with them to improve their SEO, which includes a content strategy plan.
With Metric’s help, Akadeum’s organic search traffic increased exponentially year over year, and the company now outranks competitors for keywords like “cell separation,” “protein therapy,” “red blood cell depletion,” and “naive cells.” Here’s a summary of some of the results:
2020 vs. 2019: 131% increase in traffic
2021 vs. 2020: 731% increase in organic traffic
2022 (Jan-Oct) vs. 2021 (Jan-Oct): 99% increase in organic traffic
We also worked on a new website, social media management, content writing, and SEO strategy with medical device company in2being. As a result, in2being saw an 86% increase in organic traffic from 2021 to 2022.
Metric Marketing specializes in marketing services for biotech agencies. Learn more here.
Making Your Biotech Business Scalable With Metric Marketing
As a professional SEO service provider, Metric Marketing has comprehensive services to optimize your website, meaning you can reach your customers without spending money on advertising. Although we can also help with an effective ad strategy if it makes sense for your goals.
Metric will work with you to develop a long-term content plan, incorporating the keywords you want to rank for. Our strategists also have experience optimizing pre-existing WordPress websites to make them more SEO-friendly. If you need help developing your website, connect with us here.
We offer SEO packages customized to fit your needs. We can provide keyword research, competitive analysis, and on-page SEO optimization. Our analysts, designers, and writers are focused on producing the best outcomes for our clients, growing their businesses with long-term marketing solutions, and making this analytical, strategic process as fun as possible.
"I’ve been working with the team at Metric on SEO, paid search & social, and content marketing campaigns. Without a doubt, their guidance and work-product has been a major boost to our commercialization efforts. As a..."
"I love working with Metric! They “get” what we are trying to do and are able to provide clear ideas to make improvements, and they have a team oaf experts in all the areas we need. Plus, they’re fun to work with!"
"Elite! This is the word to describe the Metric Marketing team. I've been working with them for most of 2019 to help the law firm I manage get our web presence to the next level. They have certainly done that with helping us..."
More than one billion Internet searches are conducted every hour. How do you make sure users can find your website? Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the search rankings of a website, which makes it more visible in search results. If you…
As one of the top professionals in your industry, your services aren’t cheap. You are experienced, great at what you do, and have a track record to prove it. So, when it comes to digital marketing, why do you expect cheap, quick fixes to be…
As a business owner, you’re likely eager to see the results of your marketing efforts. You may have heard varying answers to the question, “How long does it take for marketing to work?” Three months? Six months? A year (or longer)? Who’s right? 6 Variables…