Your pharmacy's website, how can you be better ranked on Google?



 Most independent pharmacies in Switzerland now have their own website, for example www.mapharmacie.ch. Despite the recent rise of social networks, especially Facebook and Instagram (more so in 2020), a majority of Swiss continue to use Google.ch as their gateway to the Internet. For example, a Lausanne resident will write “pharmacy Lausanne” in Google.ch to find a pharmacy in his town. The area that deals with increasing visibility and ranking in search engines is called SEO (English Search Engine Optimization), the word SEO is also sometimes used. Since the middle of the year 2018, it should be noted that Google has a ranking for Google Desktop (computer) and a Google Mobile ranking (smartphone) which varies. In other words, differences can exist if you access Google on your computer or via a mobile phone, for example the site of a pharmacy can appear in 5th position on Google.ch Desktop and in 9th position on Google Mobile. But the basic concept for SEO remains more or less the same with the high importance of backlinks (inbound links, read below).

Why have a well ranked site?

A site well classified in Google.ch allows new residents in your city or town to find you, including by mobile phone (eg iPhone). The site can also reassure and give information to existing customers such as opening hours and show photos of your staff to increase sympathy capital. And for those who have an e-commerce site a good ranking in Google is essential for visitors to find your products. Google.ch has a market share of around 90% in search engines in Switzerland, according to our information. In other words, it's a little Google or nothing. Either you rank high in Google or you don't exist on the Internet.

How Google works

We can imagine Google a bit like a mayonnaise. If we follow this metaphor, it means that you have to mix several ingredients in the right proportions to reach the top of Google's ranking and its first page of results (in English we also speak of SERP for Search Engine Result Page). As we can see in the screenshot below, if we type "pharmacy Lausanne" we see that local (yellowpage) appears in the first two pages of natural or organic results. In position 3 we see the "pharmacy 24" appear. As we will see in this article, Pharmacy 24 probably has a lot of inbound links (backlinks) from other websites, particularly pharmacies, informing that this pharmacy is on call and open 24/7. Besides, to understand, here I put a new backlink for pharmacy 24 just after the colon: pharmacy 24. This should strengthen their ranking, because Pharmapro is a reference site in the field of Swiss pharmacies. In this example, Pharmapro.ch (this article) is the backlink for Pharmacy 24.

3 parts

As we can see in the screenshot above taken on a computer (Desktop), there are in the results pages of Google in this case 3 parts: at the top the advertisements part (Google Ads, formerly Adwords ), to appear there you will need a credit card, create an account with Google and each time a visitor clicks your account will be debited (sometimes around 1 franc per click or more, but often 50 cents or less) . In other words, it can quickly be very expensive. In addition, Google mostly refuses advertisements for pharmacies. In the 2nd part there is a Google map injected directly by Google, it is difficult to have influence on the map (according to our information). Then below the map there is the organic ranking. This is where SEO plays an important role. This is the subject of this article.


In short, if Google is like a cooking recipe, in mathematical or computer language we talk about an algorithm, it is about finding the right ingredients, quantities and the recipe to be well classified. Unfortunately the Google recipe (algorithm) is much more complicated than that of mayonnaise. It is estimated that there are over 200 signals taken into account to deliver a results page.

Backlinks

The most important parameter according to the majority of SEO specialists, which made Google successful, remains in 2020 the number of links that point to your site (in English backlinks). The links which point towards your site must be if possible of good quality and with addresses (url) ending in .ch. as your pharmacy is in Switzerland. The name of the algorithm is called PageRank, from the name of one of the 2 founders of Google (Mr. Page).

If we take our example of www.mapharmacie.ch, you have a probability of appearing at the top of the Google ranking on a keyword such as "pharmacy Lausanne" if your site receives links from sites considered to be of quality or of reference as for example the CHUV, the HUG, the RTS.ch (main media in French-speaking Switzerland), Tribune de Genève, 24 Heures, etc. The links that point to your site can also be websites in your neighborhood such as a bakery or butcher in Lausanne as well as other pharmacies. This probably explains why "Pharmacy 24" is the first pharmacy in organic results. The pharmacy site probably receives links from many other pharmacy websites, in order to inform that it is open at unusual hours.

How to receive "backlinks"?

The easiest method is to simply ask the website owners. For example if your pharmacy is located next to a bakery that has a website. Ask the baker to put a link on his site with for example written: Discover the pharmacy X located next to our bakery (then a link that points to www.mapharmacie.ch). Perhaps your municipality has a site that lists the various businesses in the city. You can also ask another pharmacy to link to your site, if possible that is not a direct competitor.

There are other more complicated methods which include paying a site to distribute an article (we speak of guest blog or native advertising), it is also possible to be interviewed by a media (eg 24 Hours) then ask the reporter to link from the interview page to your site. Agencies specializing in SEO can help you receive more backlinks, but be aware that this can quickly be expensive and probably beyond the reach of an independent pharmacy, unless you have an e-commerce site with a substantial budget.

If your site publishes quality medical content that is often updated, you can also apply for the HON-Code label (and here is a new backlink for HON-Code, which already has thousands of them) in Geneva, which rewards sites on quality health and following a procedure with certain principles.

other factors (trust)

As we have seen, there are more than 200 factors to guarantee a good ranking in Google. Other important factors are the speed or speed of your site download (avoid too heavy photos), clear writing of the articles without spelling mistakes, if possible put the first and last name on each page of who wrote the article with the date of the last update. Google, as in real life, works on a concept of trust, in other words it is important to put the name of the pharmacist who owns or manages on the pharmacy website. Create a "Who are we?" Page with a clear link from every page of the site. If possible also put photos of the team precisely to convey confidence (to Google and Internet users).

Summary - Remember:

Your pharmacy site should:

- Having links pointing to your site (backlinks) if possible of quality (eg French-speaking media) or in the same field as you (pharmacy, health, medicine)

- Your site must have an optimized version for mobile (responsive or mobile version, eg m.mapharmacie.ch)

- Each page of the site must have a description, a title and a clear url (eg mapharmacie.ch/equipe and not mapharmacie.ch/xgvb67tg)

- The name and surname of the pharmacist must clearly appear with the contact address of the pharmacy (to pass the trust, trust in English) and the date of update

- Your url must be in https and not in http (secure version)

- Your site must be light and fast (no photos too heavy or poorly optimized) to open.

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