As part of a life science digital marketing strategy, there is a strong possibility that SEO makes up some proportion of your strategy. Unfortunately, having an employee that is dedicated to managing your life science SEO strategy is a luxury not many businesses can afford.
This means that it is often left to a member of the digital marketing team to manage for themselves. And creating new scientific content isn’t always easy, or a viable option for people in this position.
However, if this sounds like you – or a team member – you might be interested in reading this article further.
In this article, I am going to show you some common SEO issues I see working with life science businesses and how you can go about implementing improvements for yourself.
Write Proper Content For your Product Pages
If you are selling lab products, consumables, or something else on your website, you should really ensure that product pages are properly optimised with relevant and useful information.
This should generally include sections such as a product overview section, documentation and proper images.
This might be tricky where you are selling chemicals or reagents, but for physical products such as pipettes, centrifuges or a water dispenser, make sure to populate your product pages with as much useful content as possible!
Consider Your Product Category Pages Too
You shouldn’t leave it at just your product pages, but also make sure that category pages are properly optimised too.
This can be as simple as writing content that describes the type of product(s) found in that category, but also include useful sales and company information to help assure the customer that your business is legitimate and the right solution for the customer.
Of course, relevant and useful content can also help improve SEO performance, especially for keywords related to buyers intent!
Improve Existing Blog Posts
If you already have blog posts – news, articles, problem solving-type articles, or something else – there’s a likelihood that you are already generating organic traffic from these articles.
(If not, you likely have a bigger problem!)
Consider updating these articles so that they are up-to-date and match the intent of the keywords you are targeting. You can perform additional keyword research for this, or simply look through the list of keywords that you are already ranking for in Google Search Console and optimise further for these.
Just make sure to be careful not to compete with other ranking pages, or repeating content on multiple pages!
Get Rid of Those PDF Files
Life science businesses deal with a lot of data and reports. These documents are often created as PDF files, which eventually find their way uploaded to the website without any SEO considerations.
Interestingly, I see many PDF files ranking in Google and generating plenty of impressions and clicks.
Although this sounds great, there is a problem.
If a user finds a PDF through organic search, then clicks on it, this is typically the end of the interaction. PDFs are often under-optimised and contain no links to relevant webpages that could prove valuable to your business.
Fortunately, there are two ways to go about this.
Convert PDF Documents into Standard Web Pages
Just before you think about pressing publish on your next PDF upload, ask yourself whether the content is suitable to be viewed on a standard web page.
This will typically mean copying and pasting text and images into your website editor. The benefit of creating a webpage is that you can optimise it fully before publishing AND you can make further edits at a later date – without messing around uploading new PDFs to different URLs.
If publishing as a webpage, make sure to take opportunities to include a title, headings and subheadings, internal links and optimised images.
However, if you believe PDF files are crucial for your customers or as lead generation, you can always include a CTA that offers you to send a PDF version of the webpage via email. Capturing an email address as a lead and satisfying your visitors!
Pre-Optimise Your PDFs
If you have no option to upload content as a standard webpage, at least make the effort to optimise as much as possible before publishing.
Again, this includes using a heading, subheadings and internal links to other webpages. If you can optimise the written content, consider target keywords that potential searchers are looking for!
Read Next – SEO for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)
Target Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are the term given to special search engine results, which appear at the top of a search results page.
They appear above the position one result, and often get referred to as ‘position zero’.
If you don’t know what I mean, check out this featured snippet, for the rather basic search query ‘what is a conical flask used for’.
Featured snippets don’t appear for every search query, but they often appear for question-based queries.
The good news also, is that it is possible to get featured snippets even if the rest of your website doesn’t have ‘good SEO’.
The key to optimising content for featured snippets however, lies with identifying keywords or keyphrases that result in a featured snippet.
This can be a bit tricky to find, but if you have access to an external keyword tool such as SEMrush (see image below) or Ahrefs, then some simple keyword research can quickly identify relevant search queries that result in a featured snippet.
But what do you need to get one?
If you already rank for a keyword (or similar) that has a featured snippet result – but you don’t currently rank – make sure to update you content that includes both the ‘question and answer’.
Sometime it can be as simple as using a subheading, with a short paragraph underneath. It can also be useful to use lists – bulleted and numbered – and images (if relevant) and these can also appear alongside a featured snippet.
Alternatively, add FAQs (next section) may also be beneficial to generating these kinds of results!
Add FAQs to Your Content
FAQs are a really easy way to add short snippets of content that can target longtail keywords related to your on page content.
As mentioned above, FAQs are also a really clever way of adding question and answer related content which gives you a strong possibility of featured snippet opportunities.
But to add FAQs, you need to find target keyword questions. Fortunately, there are a few ways to do this.
Firstly, search for your target keywords in Google, and scroll down the page until you find the ‘People Also Ask’ sections – as demonstrated for the keyword ‘Secondary Antibodies’ below:
Here, you are greeted with a list of related questions, that unsurprisingly, ‘people also ask’. You can generate more questions by opening the dropdown answer for multiple questions.
Secondly, go to your Google Search Console for the page you are looking to optimise. Take a look through all the ranking keywords, and identify keywords that are commonly asked as a question. You can filter search queries by question by copying the following into the search query filter (also shown below):
Lastly, you can make the task easier for you if you have access to an external keyword tool, such as Mangools, Ahrefs, SEMrush or any of the many options available.
In this example, I used Mangools to type in my focus keyword and click on the ‘questions’ tab. Here I get an automated list of related questions and monthly search volume too.
So if you are going to all the effort to add well researched and well written FAQs, you may want to take that one step further and investigate schema mark-up (next section)
Add Schema & Structured Data
Schema and structured data are both forms of semantic vocabulary that helps search engines understand your content easily, and produce better, more informed results in the search engines results pages.
Schema and structured data is quite an advanced SEO topic, so you may wish to learn more about it.
If you have a web developer on your team, asking them to implement structured data should straightforward. But if not, you have the possibility of using plugins (particularly on WordPress) that will automatically populate structured data for you.
The problem is, there are loads of different types of structured data you can implement – you can implement multiple at once – but here’s a list of ideas to investigate.
For many ecommerce sites, it is common to feature reviews and ratings from past customers on your product pages. However, you can make use of these reviews, by implementing review schema which can show ratings and reviews in Google Search Result Pages (SERPs).
I’ve already talked about FAQ schema and how it can benefit your appearance in the SERPs for related queries. However, go one step further and add FAQ schema markup, you can start to help search engines show your content directly in the SERPs, as shown in this example for ‘ELISA Kits’.
Local Business Schema
If you are offer scientific services such as maintenance, installation or repair of equipment, it is likely that you have many locations to service different regions.
In this example, it makes sense to highlight each of these locations using local business schema.
For example, if you are in the business of manufacturing chemicals and somebody were to search ‘Chemical Manufacturer UK’, your location could be shown directly in the SERPs, with contact information directly to you, as shown below:
During the COVID-19 pandemic where many of us have been forced to work from home, live webinars and events have been a popular option to help maintain online brand presence and generate leads remotely.
If you are hosting future webinars, make sure to use event schema to help Google understand what event you are hosting, where and when to access and other information.
Even better, for related search queries, it shows up directly in the SERPs!
Get Links From References
If you sell lab consumables or reagents, there is a highly likely chance that these are being used for cutting-edge research.
And we all know that the best research often gets published online.
So, anytime you find an instance of somebody referencing your products in their publications, simply reach out to them and ask if they mind including a link to the specific product page, or failing that your homepage.
Building links from other websites has the potential to improve your SEO, as Google uses citations and links from other sites as a positive reference in your favour.
If somebody has already mentioned you, then they are likely to insert a link – if they can.
When approaching potential link opportunities, remember to mention where they referenced you, where you would like them to link to, and be sure to offer them some goodwill and politeness along the way.
Not all opportunities will end up being fruitful, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Will My Business SEO Improve Overnight?
If you go to all the effort to do any of the recommendations listed above, you’ll want to see some sort of benefit right?!
Unfortunately, it is not that simple.
Making small and regular improvements to your SEO well definitely benefit you in the long run, whether that means an increase of organic search traffic, or simply as a way to help counteract what any of your competitors are doing to improve their SEO too.
If you need help implementing any of these SEO tips, or you would like to investigate an extensive SEO analysis and implement a proper digital marketing strategy, then don’t hesitate to reach out to me to see how I can help you!