What’s the difference between branded and direct search? Here’s what medical device companies need to know to attract digitally-savvy consumers.
In an increasingly crowded and complex medical device market, more companies than ever are marketing their devices directly to patients. Investing in both paid and organic search can help medical device companies build brand awareness and find patients who are already searching for treatment options.
Climbing the search rankings is no easy feat, but one segment that every company should be able to dominate is, well, searches about itself. Users usually arrive at a medical device website in one of two ways: branded search, where they’re searching for the brand name of a product you sell; or direct search, where they’re searching for the name of your company.
Here’s how medical device companies can capitalize on each of these search strategies and build a stronger SEO presence:
Branded Search for Medical Device Companies
To clarify, branded searches are searches for products you sell, which return a list of results. The clothing store Gap, for example, might rank for “Gap clothing reviews,” “Gap 1969 jeans,” or “Gap NYC” as well as the business name. Medical device marketers can build an effective branded search strategy by evaluating all of their branded search queries and determining how to rank highly for each.
To increase their rankings for relevant keywords, medical device companies should keep an eye on these four general query types:
- Your brand name + reviews
- Your brand name + your product
- Your brand name + contact/login info
- Your brand name vs. your competitor’s name
These searches indicate that consumers are looking to learn more about your device, compare it to your competitors’ products, or make a purchase. It’s important that you rank highly in all four of these queries to capture patients who are already close to the bottom of the funnel. A useful tool called Serpstat can help you find and manage all of these branded queries.
Once you’ve identified these terms, you can work on dominating the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). Google Search tends to favor businesses and products with several reviews, especially positive reviews. To increase the number of product reviews, medical marketers may want to provide a survey to patients who have purchased their device. Finally, it’s important to include relevant keywords on your website and anywhere else your business is featured. This will help Google to pull relevant information to feature on SERPs.
Direct Search Strategies that Work
Direct searches, on the other hand, are a main line to your company name or contact information. Patients, doctors, or healthcare administrators conducting direct searches are likely familiar with your product and are close to making a purchase, recommending your product to a patient, or purchasing it to use in a hospital network or healthcare organization.
These results are therefore an important opportunity for medical device companies to make a good impression and help distinguish themselves from competitors. What’s more, companies that don’t take charge of their direct search results could find that their competitors take over that valuable space.
To take control of direct search results, medical marketers need to pay careful attention to their third-party assets such as reviews, ratings, and external articles. Fortunately, there are several steps companies can take to optimize their direct search results:
- Conduct a direct search: Perform searches including your full business name, your business name and address, and any other relevant information.
- Review results: Examine the results that appear to see what’s working and what could be improved. For example, if a Gap location were to have negative reviews on Yelp, they could focus on eliciting positive reviews on that site, or promoting another platform where their ratings are better.
- Evaluate third-party assets: Do any interviews, videos, or articles about your device appear in the results? You can decide to promote certain assets over others in order to improve your performance.
- Examine visual results: If images and videos appear in your direct search, do they help or hurt your product? You may decide to publicize more visuals to further engage patients.
Direct search strategies, like all digital marketing, are continuously evolving. That’s why it’s essential to continue monitoring your results and optimizing your content.
For medical device companies looking to navigate branded or direct search best practices, there are several resources available to guide the way. Medical marketers who are new to this area may also want to consider partnering with a qualified marketing agency that can help drive conversions through direct-to-patient marketing.