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Life Sciences is the most difficult sector for SEO – find out how to follow best practices and why quality translation matters for online success

Posted 20 April 2022

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SEO for the Life Sciences sector has been a challenge ever since Google’s “Medic Update”. Find out what steps both start-ups and established organisations can take to improve their search engine visibility, and why quality, specialised translation is a critical piece of the puzzle for success in multilingual markets.

In the race for the top positions in search engine results pages (SERPs), companies are producing more content than ever before. High-quality content is in demand by companies of all sizes and helps start-ups catch up with their competitors. However, deciding which content is considered high-quality is no longer subjective – Google is the main decision-maker here. Its algorithms determine the order of website rankings for specific keywords that affect business visibility and traffic.

Google is constantly updating its algorithms, and any update is likely to affect its ranking in search results. One such update was the “Medic” update in 2018, which largely affected websites in the healthcare & life sciences sectors. Google said the changes were aimed at favouring pages that had previously been under-rewarded, suggesting that pages could only do better if they continued to focus on creating great content.


What is E-A-T and why is it important?

E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, the three considerations Google considers when deciding on the most relevant and reliable content to provide to the user. The content should be written and created by an expert in a particular field, an authority in a particular field, and it should enjoy a high level of trust (determined by reviews, the quality of the comments, etc.).

It is obvious that the E of E-A-T is essential for medical websites. From debates about the benefits of turmeric to the symptoms of a heart attack, articles that have any kind of medical significance should be written by a qualified and experienced professional in order to rank well. The content should also be prepared by professionals who can prove that their document has been reviewed by an expert and/or approved by an authority, for example, a governmental organisation or a certified association. Finally, the algorithm also ranks your site by how trustworthy it is based on your security certificates, ratings, and testimonials.

There’s no need to rewrite all the content – all you need is for your existing content to be reviewed by an expert.


Here are 3 steps health content publishers and businesses can take to improve their rankings after the Medic update.


Know Google’s quality rating guidelines

Google employs a team of quality assessors who consider various factors to objectively decide on the quality rating of a particular page. In its 264-page guidelines for quality assessors, Google explains in detail how the quality of the pages is determined. One excerpt reads as follows:

“We have very high standards for evaluating the page quality of YMYL (Your Money Your Life) pages, as poor quality YMYL pages could potentially have a negative impact on users’ happiness, health, financial stability or safety.”


Make sure that the purpose of your website matches the intention of the user


Make sure your website is useful and doesn’t try to manipulate or deceive the user


Remove excessive advertising and improve the speed of your website


Check your link profile, remove links to pages with low authority, and include high-quality outbound links.


E-A-T well

The guidelines for quality assessors state the following about E-A-T:

“Medical advice with high E-A-T should be written or prepared by individuals or organisations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation. Medical advice or information with high E-A-T content should be written or created in a language that is a professional-style and should be edited, reviewed and updated regularly.”

High-level medical information websites typically work with qualified writers, editors, and reviewers to ensure they publish accurate content. If you’ve previously published content that hasn’t been reviewed or written by an expert, now is the time to change that. Here are some steps you can take to improve your E-A-T:

Find a qualified expert who will develop well-researched, reliable and accurate content for your website. If the content was written by a non-expert, make sure it’s been reviewed by a qualified professional – this is crucial for Google to rank it as reliable content.

Don’t forget to add the author’s references to increase credibility, and also link to a more detailed profile that lists the references and publications.

Include reliable sources and links in your articles.

Insert a rating widget on your website

Publish only verified information or nothing at all

In the race for content, quality prevails over quantity. If you don’t have enough resources, publish less content, but make sure it’s peer-reviewed and doesn’t run the risk of being misleading or inaccurate. Don’t fill your content calendar with multiple unchecked articles.


Ensure your content is suitable for your target market

When creating content for multilingual websites, ensuring that you use an experienced life-sciences specific translator is important. Language for this sector can be highly technical, and content that is deemed low quality due to poor translation, even if the source text has been written by a professional, means your site will struggle to rank in that market.

ALM has provided clients in the Life Sciences sector with translation, transcreation and digital marketing services for over a decade. Get in touch with us today and find out how our in-market specialists can support your international growth.



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