The Doctor Is In: Using An Unbranded Health Site

Recently, I had an amazing experience. I was invited to be a part of an all agency partner meeting. Throughout the day, we talked about various initiatives to ensure that the right partners collaborated on each to maximize the brand’s marketing dollars. However, we did something else that was far more valuable. We listened.

The pharmaceutical brand had invited a patient to the meeting. Because this individual has the condition that the brand treats, they were able to provide us with tremendously valuable insights that we could incorporate into our efforts.

This was an amazing experience for me because despite having attended many ePatient conferences over the years, this was the first time I had a seat at the table to not only hear the patient story, but also ask questions about their journey and day to day life.

This experience reminded me of just how important it is for patients, care givers, HCPs, and the pharmaceutical industry in general, to have an unbranded website.

It is an opportunity to get around all the limitations of what you can and cannot include on your brand site, and get back to basics. In short, it allows you to provide patients and caregivers with the kind of information they are truly looking for.

3 Tips To Make An Unbranded Site Work

What are some ways to ensure you give yourself the best opportunity to provide good information to patients and caregivers?

1. Leverage search to get to know your audience segments

It’s no secret that people – patients, caregivers and even health care providers — are using search engines to find health related information. In fact, a 2008 study by Jupiter Research indicates that 72% of users are turning to search engines to find this type of information.

That represents a huge opportunity for pharmaceutical marketers to leverage search engines to get to know their target audience. Using search engines as a jump-off point for your market research will not only tell you what your audience segments are looking for, but also how they’re looking for it. Leverage this information to develop your content strategy so you can become a resource for them.

2. About that content … get committed and dedicate resources to act on it

It’s one thing to identify the opportunity and know it exists, but it’s another thing to act on it. Creating the content you need for an unbranded site requires dedicating real resources – both the budget kind and the human kind. Because this type of initiative is resource intensive, you also need to be committed to it.

With the large number of health information websites out there, along with the Wikipedia’s of the world, it’s hard to compete with them no matter what. However,  a half-hearted effort that produces a five page brochure site won’t give you a fighting chance either.

3. Don’t just develop the content, optimize it!

Given that the vast majority of people search for health information via a search engine, marketers must work to ensure that their efforts are found in the search results. In other words, if you’ve committed to creating the content, be sure that you’re giving yourself an opportunity to be found when someone is looking for the information you have generated.

This means ensuring that your content is technically accessible to search engines. To accomplish this, use Flash in moderate doses but have an HTML back up, incorporate keyword phrases in your content that people are using to find information, and create useful resources that people will want to link to and share within their social circle.

Overall, unbranded websites represent an opportunity for pharmaceutical brands to get back to basics, and deliver the information their audiences are looking for.

Stock image from Shutterstock, used under license.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Brand Aid | Channel: Strategy


About The Author: is a Client Services Director at iProspect, responsible for strategic development and overall execution of campaigns as well as client satisfaction. She directly manages three Client Services Managers whose teams are responsible for the execution of all aspects of client campaigns, including organic search, pay per click advertising, paid inclusion programs, and online display campaigns.

Connect with the author via: Email


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Pat Elliott

    Thanks for your comments. I was a healthcare marketer before becoming a cancer patient and e-patient advocate. My perspective on patient communications has changed significantly. Thanks to the Internet, patients today can access clinical data that was out of reach before. Our knowledge and understanding of our medical condition, treatment options and treatment alternatives are often stronger and deeper than the healthcare marketers and “advocacy” organizations who develop programs to reach us, and we can spot the phony, surface level and/or condescending approaches immediately. We call this stuff out and share it with other patients.If we can’t find what we need , we can generate it ourselves. In some conditions e-patients became active mentors long before “social media” even had a name. There are strong, credible, reliable resources in the patient community yet most of the conferences about communicating with patients never include a patient presenter, It’s past time to give us a seat at the table.


Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide