VisualSonics uses organic search to ramp up site traffic

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Google's organic search algorithms change frequently, but there's one thing that's always constant: Contextual inbound links help boost natural search rankings. The more links you have coming in from related sites, the better your ranking. Shailja Tewari, director of marketing at instrumentation manufacturer VisualSonics, said she had this in mind during a recent site redesign.

VisualSonics sells high-frequency ultrasound imaging equipment to researchers and primary investigators at universities, research institutes, pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies. The devices are used to peer inside small animals to cure diseases and assess the effectiveness and safety of medicines, among other things. Prospects find the VisualSonics site by searching for “very specific nomenclature,” Tewari said. “The principle investigator looking at cancer, for instance, has a very, very narrow focus,” she said. “For him to go to Google, he won't be looking for "cancer imaging.' He might be studying "hypoxia,' so we need to place high in the rankings of those very specific terms.”

This time last year, the company was ranking around the “45th placement” on Google's natural search for many of the key terms that might bring a researcher to the VisualSonics site. In response, Tewari's team started working on building in-bound links with Toronto-based Search Engine People. At the same time, the site went through a redesign, segmenting the content by research type and bringing in more keyword-specific terminology.

Search Engine People, Tewari said, spent time visiting scientific forums and industry websites, “seeding” them with content and links back to the VisualSonics website. Content came directly from VisualSonics. “They post in response to other people's questions or start new threads,” she said. “One of my team members is responsible for working with them on a weekly basis. We try to incorporate and integrate all the [marketing] campaigns we're working on.” The team member is also responsible for making sure the brand's reputation is positive, monitoring the sites and looking for any negative commentary, she said.

Other inbound links come from guest blog posts, trade show participation (such as the company's recent participation at the American Association for Cancer Research conference) and technical documentation. Work with Search Engine People's link-building process is ongoing, Tewari said, because inbound links must be relevant and recent. “You need to be constantly active on a site for those inbound links to count,” she said.

A year later, the company's website traffic is up 50%, and search rankings have moved up considerably. Tewari, who credits both the vendor and her own team for the success, said VisualSonics now has natural search rankings for key terms that are on the first page and, in many case, between the first and seventh spots.

“At the end of the day, it's a tool. It's not something you can just outsource and forget about,” she said. “You need to be an active participant every step of the way.”

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