All You Need to Know About SEO

Target your market with laser beam focus
Nov 01, 2008
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

Scott Wilson
The Internet has quietly revolutionized the world in this new century. Consumers are banking, shopping, and being entertained and informed from their personal computers. This massive shift of consumers to the Web has relevance far beyond those in the media and entertainment industries.

Today as never before, people are researching their health, their diseases, and their medications online. According to comScore, Inc., 61 billion searches were conducted worldwide on the Internet in August 2007; nearly half (43 percent) were medical or health related, according to Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence service. But although we see this shift of eyeballs to the Internet, drug marketing has been slow to follow.

Those who have transitioned to online advertising have found a medium that moves at light speed and operates under rules far different from the traditional offline world. Great online content delivers targeted messages to your audience. To stake out the high ground in the ever-shifting online landscape, marketers utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO turned into a multi-billion-dollar business almost overnight. But don't be fooled by that impressive-sounding figure. There are plenty of outfits that say they perform SEO, but most don't do it very well.

SEO is the science behind earning first page results in a "natural search," displayed down the center column when using search engines. Natural results account for more than 80 percent of search-generated traffic. The results in the right-hand column and the very top, separated by a light pink-shaded area, are paid ads. Paid ads, known as Search Engine Marketing, are an important part of an Internet marketing campaign, but account for less than 20 percent of clicks.

So how do you win first page placement in the natural results on Google and the other major search engines? With a click of a mouse and some important tips.

Why Google?

Many people ask, "Why Google?" Simple. Google is the world's greatest search engine. Google's goal is to organize the world's information, and make it easily and instantly available to anyone with access online. This is being done by some of the brightest minds in the world and, not surprisingly, the complexity of their search algorithm is difficult to comprehend. After years of studying Google, my firm has simplified SEO into three easy-to-understand principles that I call "The three secrets to SEO."

Secret No. 1: Earn Trust

Until your Web site has earned the trust of Google, nothing else you do matters, and you won't rank high in searches. The most important way you earn trust is by receiving links from other trusted Web sites. When Google co-founder Larry Page created the Google algorithm called Page Rank, he looked at an existing system of qualifying papers called academic citations. If your academic paper was cited frequently, it would become trusted and used more often. Page compared a link to academic citations. The more citations or links, the more trusted the source of the content would become. Therefore, the best way you'll earn Google's trust is by making your Web site the receiver of links, or in "geek speak," back links.

Google's trust also comes with a Web site's age. A business that has just opened its doors is less trusted than one that has been operating for years. Web sites work the same. You can't fake a Web site's age and this weighs heavily on earning Google's trust. As a result, it has created a whole new online industry of people buying, selling, and trading aged domains at online stores and auctions.

Secret No. 2: Get Read!

Once you've earned Google's trust by creating a compelling reason for great Web sites to link to your site, it's time to get Google to read your text in order to understand what your site is all about.

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