Is your life science website in good health?

With a rise in Healthcare Professional’s taking control of the buying process and looking to the internet to research devices and suppliers it has never been more important to ensure that your that your website is in good health. Remembering that your website may be one of several that is being used to research information prior to purchase or engagement we thought it would be interesting to test a sample of ten random websites in the life sciences sector.

Using Website Auditor by SEO Powersuite we looked at some key factors that affect not only the SEO value of your website but the customer experience. Here are a few points that were discovered.

Usually websites are available with and without “www” in the domain name. Merging both URLs will help prevent search engines from indexing two versions of a website.

Although the indexing of both versions won’t cause a penalty, setting one of them as a priority is best practice, in part because it helps funnel the SEO value from links to one common version. Half of the websites audited were not configured with merged domains.

Four out of ten websites were using 302 redirects. 302 redirects are temporary, so they don’t pass any link juice (SEO value). If you use them instead of 301s, search engines may continue to index the old URLs, and disregard the new ones as duplicates. Or they may divide the link popularity between the two versions, thus hurting search rankings.

Nine of ten sites had broken links. Broken outgoing links can be a bad quality signal to search engines and users. If a site has many broken links, they conclude that it has not been updated for some time. As a result, the site’s rankings may be downgraded.

Eight of the ten sites had a huge amount of links. This can be a tricky thing to manage with complex propositions that require information to be broken down however according to Matt Cutts (former head of Google’s Webspam team), “…there’s still a good reason to recommend keeping to under a hundred links or so. If you’re showing well over 100 links per page, you could be overwhelming your users and giving them a bad experience. A page might look good to you until you put on your “user hat” and see what it looks like to a new visitor.” Although Google keeps talking about users experience, too many links on a page can also hurt your rankings. So the rule is simple: the fewer links on a page, the fewer problems with its rankings.

Every page should have a unique, keyword-rich title. At the same time, you should try to keep title tags concise. Titles that are longer than 70 characters get truncated by search engines and will look unappealing in search results. Even if your pages rank on page 1 in search engines, yet their titles are shortened or incomplete, they won’t attract as many clicks as they would have driven otherwise. Every site that we looked at included titles that were too long.

If you would like a detailed health check for your own site, please let us know and we will provide you with a full report completely free of charge.

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