The FDA has published guidance on how to use Twitter and third-party sites to market pharmaceuticals. Next, the Federal agency will explain how links may be used for marketing pharmaceuticals and medical products online. What will this mean for SEO and digital marketers in the pharmaceutical industry?
the FDA has yet to release any guidance about links or SEO in particular. Based on the emphasis that the existing guidance places on Fair Balance and Off-Label, we can make some educated guesses about what the expected FDA guidance will, and will not, allow:
Pharmaceutical page content cannot be optimized to build traffic for off-label prescriptions.Site information visible on search engines (titles, meta descriptions, etc.) cannot be optimized to violate Fair Balance guidelines or promote off-label prescriptions.Pharmaceutical sites cannot solicit links from third-party sites that promote off-label uses or violate Fair Balance guidelines.Site pages cannot link to other pages that promote off-label uses or violate Fair Balance guidelines.
If these restraints constitute the bulk of FDA guidance, there will still be room for effective SEO. For example, site pages could be optimized to gain visibility on searches by people in a drug’s target market, or optimized to be visible for searches related to the symptoms and conditions that the drug has been certified to treat. All web pages intended for visibility on search engines would contain prominent Fair Balance information.
The potential for SEO in FDA-compliant marketing for pharmaceuticals is exciting and significant, but clearly SEO efforts will be most effective after the FDA provides specific guidance in this area.
Via Pharma Guy