When it comes to improving your pharmacy’s online ranking – there are numerous factors that must be taken into account, many of which may be out of your control. The good news is that there are two main roads to improved search engine optimization (SEO), and one of those roads is wide open to you to utilize. In this blog, we will dive into the details of both avenues, and include things you can do immediately.
One very important note – SEO is not a fast fix. On average, websites can see results of SEO changes in 3-6 months with some changes taking even longer. SEO takes time to work, and it is likely that your competition is engaging in SEO as well, meaning that SEO needs to be an ongoing effort and there is no way to make your ranking better overnight.
To begin, we will shortly cover some of the things you may not be able to control, due to your access or ability to make changes to your website. These things are important to have to ensure your website provides value to visitors, as well as makes it easier for both humans and search engine bots to review.
- Internal Linking. This refers to links that are within your website pages, that link to other pages within your website. The primary benefit is that it enhances the user experience by making it fast and easy to find the information they are looking for. Additionally, it can help keep users on your website longer and improve engagement metrics since they will be reviewing more of your website the more links they go through. Finally, by utilizing internal linking search engine bots can easily crawl your site and establish the architecture. Properly built websites have improved rankings over those that are difficult to navigate.
- Title tag optimization. Title tag optimization is important because it provides context about what is on each specific page. When developing title tags it is important to ensure each page’s information is unique and applies to the information on that page alone. Use keywords that users would search for to find your product or service, but don’t stuff a bunch of keywords in with the hopes of improving your odds.
- Image optimization. With image optimization it is important to focus on a few key factors. First and foremost, reduce image file sizes whenever possible without sacrificing quality. Additionally, optimize image file names by giving naming them in a descriptive way. Using alt tags with images is also helpful because they allow search engines to “see” what the image contains and is also required for ADA compliance.
- Responsiveness. This means for all devices, not just cell phones. Your website should adjust to fit any screen size you can make it. Google prioritizes websites that are responsive over those that are not simply because responsive designs are easier for the user. Additionally, having a responsive website provides your customers with a better experience, meaning they are more likely to come back and interact with your site again.
- Site speed. There is nothing more frustrating then going to a website and having it take ages to load. Oftentimes, if a site takes more than 10 seconds, users will leave and not return. There are ways to improve site speed if you speak with your website development team.
Now let’s focus on things that YOU can fully control to help improve your SEO. According to research from Moz.com, offsite SEO-related factors carry more than 50% of the ranking factor weight.
- Content. Making sure your website has accurate, relevant, and updated content is a great way to help improve your over SEO. Focusing on quality over quantity will help ensure visitors are engaged and have perceived value from your website. Content can be text or visual, such as blogs, testimonials, videos, or podcasts. Ideally, you should be updating your website monthly with new content focusing on health tips, product or service highlights, pharmacy news or anything else your patients could find helpful. Here is an older blog that we wrote regarding blogging tips for your pharmacy.
- Social media. While your social media presence isn’t directly tied to your website, utilizing the free platforms allows you to extend and provide longevity to your content. By sharing blogs or other content on your website to your social media pages, you are opening your information to a broader audience. Social media pages also help your findability for those who are searching for pharmacies in the area as they contain your address, phone number, website, hours, and other relevant information.
- Link building. Link building refers to how many other websites out there direct to yours. By having numerous links from third party sources directing to your website, you give your site credibility. It is important to note that paying for links or putting your link on non-credible sites can actually hurt your SEO as Google takes into account the credibility of the sites that are linking to yours. A few examples are having your website on the local chamber of commerce or BBB websites, ensuring your website is listed on various online listing platforms such as Yelp, or SuperPages, having your website linked to local news articles or press releases, etc.
- Reviews. Like social media, reviews aren’t directly tied to your website, but they do help your SEO by building trust associated with your brand. By having your patients leave you positive reviews on Google, they vouch for the quality of your company which Google takes into account when analyzing other markers such as relevancy and authority associated with your brand. Be sure to check out our blog on managing your online footprint and reviews for more details.
- Traffic. There are different types of traffic that can affect SEO. Direct traffic is best (referring to people who go directly to your website rather than via a social media page or a search engine), because it tells Google that these users don’t need to search alternatives, they know who the best is. The other most common types of traffic include
o Referral traffic (this refers to traffic from other website such as local news outlets, chambers of commerce, etc.)
o Organic traffic (referring to visitors who get to your site via a search engine)
o Email traffic
o Social traffic (coming from various social media platforms)
For questions or help on improving your SEO, please contact the GRX Marketing team at 515-280-2914 or visit our contact page to submit a short form.