Take the Lesson: Don’t Mess with Navigation Labeling

Is it Efficacy or is it Protection? Or, said another way, stick to what works.

Brad Yale
Brad Yale
Oct 25, 2019 · 3 min read

For some odd reason, one of the things I enjoy most about my job working in pharmaceutical advertising is the daily ability to research and understand search trends.

I love this because it is a window into the human mind. The way people speak to Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., is a direct window into how people:

  • Relate to a machine
  • Converse with a machine
  • Unpack their own mind through making online connections

Now I say this because my job affords me the ability to have strategic conversations with major pharmaceutical brands to determine what content will go on their websites, in their emails, across the web on banners, etc. And let me tell you something, these conversations provide a front-row seat to the age-old question in marketing/advertising of brand vs. client priorities.

Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, is this seen more directly than the choices brands make when it comes to the impact of words they choose to get people to their website via organic search.

Take for example the following scenario: within the pharmaceutical market, efficacy is a known term to both health care professionals (HCPs) and patients. The term represents the due diligence of testing a brand does on a specific drug to make sure it is safe for human use. It is a term which you will find on nearly every HCP and patient-facing website.

On the other hand, the term protection — while speaking to the underlying premise of efficacy is a general term that the mass population uses and understands — is not directly linked to the pharmaceutical industry both historically or contextually.

This presents a problem when it comes to how a brand would choose to label is primary site navigation.

As you can see from the aforementioned MOZ keyword analysis, based on a pure keyword volume metrics, the choice is clear. As you can also see from the below the choice between efficacy and protection, in a slight variation leading to a long tail search, denotes clear distinctions and navigation labeling choices.

This stated, and the analytics over time will bear out this analysis, it would be wise for brands to run A/B tests for navigation and key search element copy to see how it performs in terms of search interest, SERP listings, and onsite utilization.

So, what is the lesson here?

When it comes to working with brands — be they in the pharmaceutical industry or outside of it — an agency like mine (DDB Health) has the responsibility to inform their client of the impact brand narrative choices will have on their search rankings and ultimately, their ability to reach, convert, and keep their client base.

Brad Yale can be reached for comment at brad.yale@ddbhealth.com. He believes in the power of search to map the human condition. Yet, when it comes to Siri or Cortana, please, just stop.


A Force for Good Health

Brad Yale

Written by

Brad Yale

Nerd at heart. I write about health, tech, data, search and content.



A Force for Good Health

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