There’s an increasingly competitive fight to attract and retain clinical trial participants. So, to help with engagement, healthcare professionals rely on marketing efforts that use a combination of science and art, including digital and social advertising, user experience (UX) and web design strategies, and traditional media tactics.
Part of an effective marketing strategy is helping clinical trial sponsors get in front of potential trial participants via search engine. This is because as technology continues to evolve, so too does the way patients conduct research on their options. It’s now second nature for patients and caregivers to do some digging online about their condition and potential treatments, and as a result, every trial must have a fully functioning, user-friendly prescreening website in their arsenal. Even so, a website alone won’t improve your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) – but medical SEO will.
What is search engine optimization (SEO)?
SEO is the process of optimizing a website’s rankings in Google, Bing, and other search engines. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to increase traffic to your website and attract potential patients to your clinical trial. In most cases, potential patients don’t want to dig through the SERPs to find the information needed to make a decision. This is where medical SEO plays an essential role in the success of your clinical trial and patient recruitment strategy.
Here are three best practices to keep in mind when crafting your SEO strategy:
1. Focus on UX.
Potential patients and caregivers are looking for a quick and easy way to consume information when landing on a website. Landing on a patient recruitment website often provides their first impression of not only the clinical trial but of the sponsor itself. Therefore, a well-thought-out patient-centric design and message are key to a successful patient recruitment website.
A straightforward navigation and clear visual calls to action will increase the chances that users stay on the page longer. Patients who land on your site will also know where to click and what to complete. Ensure your site is mobile friendly and that there’s a simple contact form or link to a basic questionnaire to capture their information and potentially recruit patients for your trial.
2. Deliver relevant, accurate, and high-quality keywords and information.
In the clinical trial realm, success can depend on patients and caregivers knowing that the information you provide is accurate and up to date. Ensuring this will build trust with your users and, ultimately, search engines will help your website move up in the SERPs.
Knowing your audience is crucial, and keyword research is vital to understanding what your patients are really searching for. Then, we can utilize this information to create content and other digital media strategies that meet patients’ needs and drive higher rankings.
3. Choose your images and videos carefully.
Adding appropriate images and videos to your clinical trial website helps support the content on the page and further drives the message home. In addition, engaging visuals will increase the amount of time a potential patient spends on your site – an important factor for Google’s ranking algorithm.
It doesn’t stop there. Make sure you’re effectively optimizing these visuals for the web by adding descriptive file names. This helps search engines interpret the relevance of your content and rank it individually in image searches. In turn, the larger your image files are, the longer the page will take to load, and page speed is an important UX and ranking factor that you need to manage. Finding the right balance of reducing file sizes without impacting image quality is a skill worth learning.
It’s all about putting the patient first and adapting to the ever-changing expectations of SEO and clinical trial requirements. Web design and development is an important part of Praxis’ recruitment offerings, so don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about how we can support your next clinical trial.