Smartphones continue to influence business models and the way companies can interact with their customers. Advertising is an industry that is greatly affected by the growing functionality that smartphones provide marketers with in terms of targeting specific customer-bases. One area that is primed for advertising is the health sector as search data shows that there is much searching related to health and wellness issues. This searching has traditionally been on the desktop, however, with greater smartphone adoption, more health-related search queries are being generated from smartphones, which carries advertising potential but also challenges that could be mitigated with a greater role for SEO in traffic-driving initiatives.  

Details regarding symptoms, medication side effects, health conditions, and tips are sought through all platforms, but increasingly more with mobile devices. WebMD remains a popular destination and the numbers are increasing. For example, traffic from mobile devices increased five times over in the last two years for Everyday Health, a company that manages health, diet, and exercise sites. Health information is not only searched for but now managed and tracked on mobile apps that enable users to measure eating and exercise among other elements of their health.

There has been a surge in the popularity of these apps and their use only affirms the practice of smartphone users turning to these devices for health information-gathering and solutions. For example, roughly one third of smartphone users measured their exercise and dietary intake digitally during the month of January, according to research firm comScore. And in terms of raw numbers, from the September-November period of 2011, 17 million people used their smartphone to obtain health information, again according to comScore.

Definitive SEO Potential
Following these trends, there is clear potential for increased paid search advertising for health related products and services. However, the move to advertising on the platform has been slow for health care companies. By year's end 2011, health-related ads accounted for a slim 1 percent of all display ads.  Drug companies for one, according to an executive from Digitas Health as cited in a recent New York Times article, are having trouble fitting the details regarding side effects and other related information onto the smaller smartphone ads. For health companies and especially drug companies, given their circumstances in having to provide more information, are well-suited for organic SEO and improving the search engine rankings for their pages.

In terms of organic SEO, such companies can:

  • Engage in keyword research to target what is being searched.
  • Evaluate the search volume for issues relating to the company's main products and services.
  • Create targeted content that is optimized for these keywords.
  • Engage in organic SEO to drive targeted traffic to the company's web properties effectively funneling the searchers of relevant health information to their sites.

The potential for such advertising is great and it is only a matter of time before health care and drug companies capitalize on this potential. For more information on this advertising window and the potential for SEO, reach out to me directly at