This article is a bit dated in terms of the techniques it recommends, but it still provides a great overview of the benefits Search Engine Optimization can bring to pharmaceutical marketing campaigns:
For those of you new to the topic, Search Engine Optimization (or "SEO") is a series of techniques for modifying websites in order to improve their keyword rankings in search engines such as Google and Yahoo. SEO has some unique benefits as a marketing strategy in that it can effectively segment target audiences down to the level of individual keyword topics while still remaining completely transparent to the end user.
SEO is gradually making inroads into the conservative ranks of healthcare marketing due to its low cost, high target specificity, and significant reach. Search engines have become a primary source for information among healthcare consumers, making targeting this rich resource even more essential:
A 2001 study by The Boston Consulting Group found that 65% of patients who look for health information online begin their search with a search engine. By comparison only 24% start with health portals and 11% with disease-specific websites.
The September 2002 MD Net Guide stated that there are currently 63.3 million Americans are actively using the Internet to find online health content; of those, 24.7 million are looking for drug information. There is no doubt that the web is one of the first places patients are now going to find answers to their health questions.