Let’s Talk Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

April 1, 2023

Here’s the truth: relying solely on your storefront to drive customers to your pharmacy is not enough in today’s digital age. 

Simply put, Googling has become second nature for people. We all do this intuitively whenever we are searching for something. It’s no different when it comes to searching for a pharmacy. Someone may be looking for a specific service, such as pharmacies that prescribe for cold sores, or they may want to know who offers free delivery. It could also be as simple as a Google map search for pharmacies in one’s neighbourhood. According to Google Ads, Canadians google the keywords  “pharmacy near me” 100K – 1M times a month. If your pharmacy does not appear in these searches, you are likely to lose potential new customers.

So how do we get these patients from Google to your doorstep? 

Let’s talk about Search Engine Optimization, otherwise known as SEO.

SEO is the practice of increasing your website’s visibility when people search for pharmacies or pharmacy services online. By optimizing your website, you will improve the position or ranking in a search engine’s results. A higher ranking leads to more clicks and more traffic to your website.  While there are a variety of search engines out there,  Google is by far the most common, capturing 96% of mobile searches (1). Google’s algorithm quickly ranks websites based on the user’s search query and website’s content. A variety of signals are analyzed during this process including the keywords and geographic location of the user, along with the website’s relevance, usability, and quality of content to name a few. 

How to Enhance your SEO

It can be overwhelming knowing where to get started with enhancing your SEO.

We’re here to break it down for you. 

1. Know your keywords and relevant search queries.

Keywords are the terms and phrases that are going to drive relevant traffic to your website and increase its visibility. For example, if someone is looking for a pharmacy in Burlington, they might type in "pharmacy Burlington" or "pharmacy near me" as their keyword or search query. See below how the keyword “pharmacy burlington” returns an average monthly search volume of 100-1000 searches! As a pharmacy owner, you might optimize your website content to include those keywords so that when someone searches for them, your website appears in the search results.

The keyword "pharmacy burlington" returns an average monthly search volume of 100-1000 searches.

Branded keywords that include the name of your pharmacy or brand name can help increase brand awareness and recognition among potential customers.
Location-based keywords that include your city or province can help your website appear in local search results, making it easier for people in your area to find your pharmacy.
Product and service keywords that are specific to what you offer can help attract customers who are searching for those particular items, such as “prescription delivery” or “flu shot near me”.
Therapeutic condition keywords that reflect your specialization in a certain therapeutic area can help attract patients who are searching for it, such as diabetes or asthma medication management. 

Using bad keywords can have negative consequences on your pharmacy website's SEO and credibility. Overusing irrelevant or overused keywords such as “best pharmacy” can make your website appear spammy, which can lead to penalties from search engines. Keyword stuffing, which involves using too many keywords in your content, can also be detrimental to your website's SEO - i.e.it is essential to ensure that you use keywords in moderation and contextually. 

Make sure to follow these ethical and strategic SEO practices that prioritize high-quality content, user experience, and relevance to your pharmacy's niche. 

2. Publish relevant and quality content.

 To establish yourself as a reliable source, it's important to provide personalized content that showcases your services, staff, and unique selling points. Make sure that the information you publish is accurate and up-to-date, including your pharmacy hours and store location.

3. Update your content.

Make sure to update your content regularly. Examples include writing your own blog posts, newsletters, and providing timely updates on the services you offer such as flu shots or COVID-19 vaccinations. Even if it's only 2 paragraphs. When it comes from you as the pharmacist, it establishes trust with your patient.

4. Watch for technical Issues.

Broken links are links that lead to pages that no longer exist or have been moved, resulting in a 404 error page. These errors can negatively impact user experience, making it difficult for visitors to navigate your website and find the information they need. Moreover, search engines like Google also penalize websites with broken links, which can hurt your website's search engine ranking. If you find any technical issues with your site, make sure you fix them ASAP.

5. Build credibility and trust.

Encourage customers to leave Google reviews to help to improve your pharmacy's reputation and ranking in search engine results. Having good Google reviews improves both your offline and online reputation leading to improved search results. You can learn how to get more Google reviews here! Avoid using white links or misleading advertisements that cause people to land on a page that does not meet their expectations. This can ultimately damage your reputation and lead to negative reviews and loss of trust. 

6. Have clear Calls to Action (CTA) 

Instead of just talking about your services, consider offering booking links or other clear CTA’s that encourage users to take action and engage with your pharmacy.  When users take an action such as clicking a link to book an appointment, it reduces your bounce rate. When a patient gets to your website and leaves without taking an action, it counts as a ‘bounce’ and Google will be less likely to show your site higher in the search results.

7. Own your website domain.

Since Google is closing down its Google My Business product and relaunching it within Google Maps, having your own pharmacy domain is now crucial for patients to find you online. In case you didn't know, MedEssist pharmacies are embedded with the Google Maps product, so our pharmacies have a much better web presence for patients searching for pharmacy services, thus making your site more accessible. 

8. Try MedEssist!

In case you didn't know, MedEssist has been working closely with Google for Startups since September and we’ve helped over 400 independent pharmacies across Canada effectively get online. Web developers tend to be costly and don’t understand the niche environment that is your pharmacy. The result is often a poorly formatted website that can quickly become out of date if not closely monitored by you. A MedEssist website is optimized for patient users and provides a functional and convenient experience that is fully under your control. 

To learn more, message us in the chat box on MedEssist.com at any time. 

Remember, building good SEO takes time, effort, and a solid strategy. 

Anyone that promises you will have instant impact or instant results in under a week or month is probably lying to you. Google is the world leader in SEO and informs companies that it takes months to build on this. 

The ultimate goal is to rank on the first page of search engine results since most users don't click beyond that. While results won't be immediate, if you stay committed to creating high-quality content, optimizing your website, and building credibility, you’ll see that hard work will start to pay off!

Works Cited

  1. https://gs.statcounter.com/search-engine-market-share/mobile/worldwide 

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