Despite generating only half the revenue of its leading competitor and investing virtually nothing in SEM, Pepto-Bismol ranks Gifted in L2’s Digital IQ Index®: OTC Health Care. The brand’s secret appears to be a savvy SEO strategy.

For Pepto-Bismol, 64% of unbranded organic search traffic comes from users typing in the symptoms listed on the product label (heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea). For four of those terms, Pepto-Bismol controls nearly 100% of traffic. Thus the brand has little need to invest further in SEM, according to L2’s Insight Report on OTC brands’ SEO/SEM strategies.

SEO strategies

Even for the most competitive term in the sector (“heartburn”), the brand captures 13% of traffic, putting it ahead of much larger competitors such as Nexium and Zantac. Given that many OTC brands rely heavily on paid search to drive unbranded traffic, Pepto-Bismol’s success suggests that a lower-cost strategy can achieve similar results.


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