With SEO being all the rage nowadays, many companies are beginning to take a look at their web content and wondering how they can drive more traffic to their website. For existing companies, a wholesale revamp of their website is most likely in order as search engine optimization wasn’t even a concern when their websites were created. Many companies will find that identifying target keywords to utilize within their website and linking to pages within their site will provide some immediate benefit in regards to boosting their page rankings. Today we would like to offer some SEO advice to companies who are regulated by the FDA, more specifically those in the Dietary supplement industry.
Keywords Are Your Best Frenemy
For companies in the Dietary Supplement industry who are facing stiff competition in an increasingly more crowded playing field, the need to optimize their website will become increasingly more important and will provide an advantage over their competitors. It is an unfortunate truth that just as focusing on keywords can be helpful in driving potential customers to your site, optimizing your SEO can also increase your visibility with the FDA. Since avoiding problems with the FDA should be a primary concern for these types of companies, and since 1/3 of all FDA audits performed in 2014 were performed on a companies’ website, any company selling Dietary supplements (or similarly regulated products) needs to take great care to select keywords that aren’t going to draw the attention of the FDA. Once you have done your audit of your website and identified the keywords you want to focus on, you should do a full out scrubbing of any offending content that remains.
You Can Run but You Can’t Hide from the FDA
It is bound to happen that once you have spent the next three weeks doing a full scale review of your website and have removed all “conflicting” or “offending” keywords (yes, I’m talking to you) someone will complain that “now the website isn’t as interesting and that the company is going to lose sales because we make any claims about our products”. Someone in the marketing department who is semi familiar with SEO will then make the pitch, “Look, I know we shouldn’t be saying these things on our site but what if there was a way for us to say these things on our website just not ON our website?” They are referring to adding keywords to the metadata of your site, this is the information that is used to describe the information that is seen on your webpages. While metadata doesn’t improve your results in the rankings it does help with click through rates from potential customers. While this proposal will certainly be appealing, it is a practice that should be avoided. As part of its enforcement, the FDA typically prefers to go after the low hanging fruit, however, that hasn’t stopped them from trying to make an example out of someone. This article discusses warning letters issued by the FDA to companies for improper use of keywords in their metadata.
So you have decided to listen to our advice and avoid trying to sneak some keywords into the metadata but aren’t sure how to drive traffic without using the terms and phrases you have used all along. Our recommendation is If you still are unsure of the best way for your company maximize their search results ranking in a way that is compliant with FDA guidelines, reach out to one of the handful of companies dedicated to helping companies like yours. They can assist you in identifying specific fixes to optimize your site in order to focus on the things that make you different from others and help drive the wanted traffic from potential customers in a way that isn’t going to get you slapped with a warning letter.