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How a UK-Based ePharmacy Grew Traffic by 634% in 6 Months
SEO case study of the independent pharmacy.


163.1K to 1.2M Monthly Visits


Health & Medical



Reporting Date

November 2023

Forecasts show a 79% growth in global revenue for pharma eCommerce from 2023 to 2028. This sets the stage for a record-breaking $81.37 billion in 2028.

And with these numbers on the rise, so does the intensity of the competition.

Online pharmacies are facing a landscape where strategies must be at the top of their game, or they risk falling behind.

In this SEO case study, we’ll explore how one UK company embraced the ePharma trend early on and is now soaring at 1 million monthly visits.

Let’s discover how they did it and tips for your own path to digital triumph.

About The Independent Pharmacy

The Independent Pharmacy is an online pharmacy based in Bristol, United Kingdom.

It was founded in 2013 by pharmacists Andy Boysan and Scott McDougall.

Their goal: connect remote patients with trustworthy medications and essential medical advice.

Enter, a digital haven and health resource for UK-based ePharma shoppers.

The Independent Pharmacy homepage, a UK online pharmacy.

The Independent Pharmacy provides health consultations, medical advice, and medications.

Patients can order both prescription and over-the-counter medications online and have them delivered to their doorstep.

Today, The Independent Pharmacy is considered one of the leading UK online pharmacies.

It treats 86 medical conditions, offers 887 treatments, and has over 19,000 positive reviews.

Historical Performance

According to Semrush historical data, The Independent Pharmacy started getting traffic in April 2014.

The independent pharmacy 10-year organic traffic with traffic spike in 2023.

During its first 4 years, organic traffic stayed below 831K annual visits.

This changed in 2019 when The Independent Pharmacy broke 1 million visits for the year.

Then came COVID.

2020 nearly quadrupled the previous year’s traffic, totaling 4.1M organic visits.

Now, as we analyze this site’s performance in November 2023, The Independent Pharmacy is doing better than ever.

They reached 1.2M visits in November alone.

2-year organic traffic growth for the independent pharmacy.

The past 6 months have been particularly impressive, with 634% organic growth.

So, what did The Independent Pharmacy do to suddenly skyrocket its traffic?

You’re about to find out.

The Catalyst: How The Independent Pharmacy Surpassed 1 Million Monthly Visits grew its organic traffic by performing the following:

  1. Leveraging FAQs to appear in Google’s People Also Ask
  2. Updating reviews for content freshness
  3. Using schema markup to win rich results
  4. Gaining a quarter-million backlinks

Let’s look at each strategy in detail to understand how it fits into The Independent Pharmacy’s SEO success.

1. Leveraging FAQs to Appear in Google’s People Also Ask

The Independent Pharmacy has woven FAQs into almost every corner of its website.

Whether on the homepage, treatment guides, or product pages, patients find valuable information where they need it most.

Here’s an example of an FAQ in one of their health guides:

FAQ example for the question is there an antibiotic I can get over the counter.

Not only do these FAQs nurture a comprehensive user experience, but they also play a role in The Independent Pharmacy’s rankings.

FAQs are a great way to win rich results in Google’s People Also Ask (PAA) box.

This section of the SERP provides relevant questions to the user’s original query.

Here’s how search engines transformed the earlier FAQ into a rich result in Google’s PAA box:

People also ask box on Google for the query antibiotic cream.

And this isn’t the only one.

In November 2023, The Independent Pharmacy ranked for 8.7K keywords in the PAA section.

Keyword rankings for the independent pharmacy with people also ask results.

Why this matters:

The People Also Ask (PAA) box is prime real estate for website owners looking to grow their traffic.

Due to its prominent positioning, rich results promote the following benefits:

  • Higher clickthrough rates (CTR)
  • Increased organic traffic
  • Stronger niche authority
  • Greater brand awareness
  • Better visibility

How to optimize for PAA results on your site:

Like many things in SEO, high-quality content is at the core of winning PAA results.

To help guide your content creation process and optimization efforts, follow these steps:

  1. Perform keyword research for question-based queries.
  2. Craft content that fulfills search intent.
  3. Add FAQ schema.
  4. Conduct a competitor analysis.

For a thorough explanation of each step, this guide tells you exactly how to optimize for Google’s PAA section.

Tools for PAA results:

In addition to high-quality content, FAQ schema plays an integral role in PAA results.

FAQ schema is structured data that lives in your website’s code. Then, they can use that information as a rich result on the SERP.

For WordPress users, FAQ schema is easy to implement with AIOSEO’s Schema Generator.

Just select FAQ from our Schema Catalog, and we’ll format it properly for search engines.

Schema Catalog in AIOSEO offers various schema types, including FAQ.

You can also use our FAQ blocks to write directly in the WordPress editor.

You an add an FAQ block in the WordPress editor.

Beyond FAQ schema, The Independent Pharmacy uses several schema types on its site.

Let’s take a closer look at other ones they use and why it made a difference in 2023.

2. Using Schema Markup to Win Rich Results

As we just saw, search engines can use schema markup to produce rich results on the SERP.

There are several schema types available to use, and each helps search engines better understand your content.

The Independent Pharmacy strategically selects schema markup to facilitate this process.

Here are some schema types we found in the backend of their website:

Let’s look at the first two schema types in an example.

The red arrows point to two elements that can come from breadcrumb schema. The red box shows the photo used in the image schema markup.

Google SERP for the query fucidin cream, which shows a rich result with an image and breadcrumbs.

The additional information allows your page to occupy more space on the SERP.

Sitelinks, represented by the blue links beneath the summary text, also provide another benefit: multiple entry points to your website.

Let’s look at another example.

The screenshot below shows information generated from product schema. We learn important details like the manufacturer and price.

Rich result with product schema on the SERP for the query otomize ear spray.

Both examples illustrate how schema markup can be instrumental in winning more real estate on the SERP.

Why this matters:

A larger space on the SERP means a better chance of catching users’ attention.

This translates into more clicks and, consequently, higher organic traffic.

How to implement schema markup on your site:

There are several ways to manually implement schema markup on your website.

Check out this article for three methods for adding schema markup to WordPress without a plugin.

You’ll need to obtain and copy code snippets into the backend of your site with each method.

Tools for schema markup:

Take the easy route and use our one-click Schema Catalog.

Here are some of the options:

Schema Catalog in AIOSEO has various schema types available.

You can also easily add custom schema with AIOSEO, as shown below.

Schema Generator allows you to add custom schema.

Next, let’s look at how The Independent Pharmacy manages existing content.

3. Updating Reviews for Content Freshness

The Independent Pharmacy is doing something SEOs and search engines love to see.

They’re regularly updating their content, specifically reviews.

And you can see their refresh strategy right on the website.

Every review features a set of dates, as shown below.

The Independent Pharmacy shows review date, next review, published on, and last updated date for each article.

Users and bots know:

  • When the existing review happened
  • When the next review will occur
  • When the review was published online
  • When the page was last updated

This approach gives you a comprehensive view of this content’s life cycle.

It also means The Independent Pharmacy nurtures its existing content instead of letting it fall victim to content decay.

Content decay is the natural decline of a page’s performance over time.

The Independent Pharmacy battles content decay with regular review updates.

Why this matters:

Google prefers fresh content. And so do users.

Content freshness is often associated with relevancy. For many topics, it’s natural to assume that a more recent post may be more relevant than one written 3 years ago.

However, that’s not always the case.

Your content may not have lost its value, but it’s up to you to make sure Google doesn’t serve another site over yours just because it thinks yours is outdated.

That’s why keeping your content up-to-date and aligned with the current search intent is critical.

Regular updates help you achieve this and safeguard your site’s performance.

How to fight content decay on your site:

A good rule of thumb is to revisit your content at least once a year.

This can be more or less, depending on the subject. (For example, a Contact Us page doesn’t need to be updated as often as best of product lineup.)

Ultimately, you’ll want to put a process in place to track all your content and its most recent updates.

For very small websites, this may be manageable with something as simple as a spreadsheet. (Albeit a bit labor intensive with manual entry of performance data).

However, as your site grows, you’ll need a tool to keep track of your pages and their performance metrics.

Let’s look at which one we recommend next.

Tools for preventing content decay:

Catch a performance slip before it takes a toll on your SEO with Search Statistics. This tool helps you spot content decay quickly so you can take the necessary steps to reinvigorate your page.

With Search Statistics, you have two reports that make this process effortless:

  1. The Content Performance Report tells you which page is dropping in performance.
Search Statistics shows which pages are slipping in organic performance.

2. The Keyword Rankings Report lets you know which keywords are on the decline.

Search Statistics shows which keywords are dropping in performance.

For further reading, this guide shows you how to stop content decay using Search Statistics.

Now, let’s look at the final growth factor for The Independent Pharmacy: backlinks.

The Independent Pharmacy’s backlink profile underwent significant growth in 2023.

November boasts 125K backlinks.

Backlinks growth at the independent pharmacy with a spike in December 2023 with 125,515 backlinks.

And what’s even more impressive is that 84% are follow links.

The independent pharmacy has 84% follow links vs 16% nofollow links.

Why this matters:

Follow, or dofollow, links are like endorsements for your website.

They tell search engines to follow the link and explore your site, facilitating the transfer of valuable “SEO juice” from the source to you.

The more follow links you have, the better (provided they’re high-quality.)

To delve deeper into this topic, here’s a comprehensive overview of follow vs no follow links.

Backlinks are just one piece of an effective linking strategy.

This article shows you how to get backlinks, but you’ll also want to optimize for the following:

  • Internal links (from one page on your site to another page on your site)
  • Outbound links (from your site to another external site)

This link-building guide has all the steps you need to optimize for each.

Link Assistant helps you find internal linking opportunities in no time. With linking suggestions that populate directly in the WordPress editor, it’s as simple as clicking Add Link.

Link Assistant shows inbound and outbound internal linking suggestions.

Standout SEO Wins

Before we wrap up, there’s an additional SEO technique worth highlighting at

1. They use canonical tags to avoid duplicate content issues.

Like many eCommerce, The Independent Pharmacy offers sort orders on product listing pages to aid user navigation.

Sort order options on The Independent Pharmacy include popularity, price, alphabetical, newest, and highest rated.

However, each click on a different sort order generates a new URL, potentially posing SEO issues for the site.

Consider the following URL examples:


This proliferation of URLs can confuse search engines. The content on these pages remains identical, featuring the same copy and products.

Without proper canonical tags, search engines may struggle to determine which URL to serve in search results.

That’s why you need to tell them with a canonical tag.

A canonical tag acts as a directive, guiding search engines to your preferred URL.

In the image below, The Independent Pharmacy tells search engines not to rank the URL ending in =newest. Instead, it tells them to index and serve the “main” URL of /treatments.

Canonical tag that shows how one URL canonicals to another URL.

The above strategy ensures the correct URL ranks in Google’s search results.

It also helps your pages avoid competing with one another or experiencing duplicate content issues.

Tool: Setting up canonical tags in AIOSEO settings is a straightforward process. Enter the preferred URL of the page, save, and that’s it!

Customize canonical URLs with AIOSEO advanced settings.


In our analysis of, we’ve discovered how smart optimizations helped them grow their organic traffic.

Now, let’s recap their top strategies and which ones to reconsider for your site.

Top 3 Strategies to Emulate

  1. Use FAQs to optimize for PAA results. By incorporating FAQs into your content, you can optimize for PAA results. This approach enhances the user experience and secures prominent positions on the SERP for more clicks and traffic.
  2. Implement schema markup to win rich results. Using schema markup enhances your chances of securing rich results on the SERP. This creates a more informative and visually appealing presentation of your content for higher CTRs.
  3. Maintain content freshness with regular updates. Regular content updates are crucial to stay relevant in the eyes of users and search engines. You’ll want to create a process to monitor your content’s performance over time. Then, as you make updates, you ensure your content stays fresh, engaging, and aligned with evolving user needs.

Bottom 3 Strategies to Reconsider

  1. Neglecting image title tags. Despite a largely positive effort to optimize images, The Independent Pharmacy overlooks title tags. Image titles appear when users click or hover their mouse over an image. They also help search engines understand the content of your images. We recommend using the image SEO tool to automatically create and set title tags for you.
  2. Exceeding metadata character limits. Some meta titles and descriptions surpass character limits. This means they get truncated on the SERP. Instead, run your metadata through a SERP snippet tool before publishing. This will show you how it looks on the SERP, avoiding a truncation issue.
  3. Overlooking the power of social media. While The Independent Pharmacy links to their social media accounts from their website, there’s very little content once you get there. In fact, LinkedIn has zero posts, and the Facebook page no longer exists. Now, given its positioning in the healthcare industry, it isn’t crucial to have a robust social media presence, but it could extend its reach even further.

    Social media is a great way to connect with your audience where they are. AIOSEO’s social media tools allow you to integrate your website with your favorite platforms.

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Win More Rich Results and Traffic With AIOSEO

Taking on the SERP is no small feat, and when you’re running a business, who has time to do it all?

Luckily, you don’t have to.

AIOSEO is the best SEO WordPress plugin—ready to streamline your optimizations for faster SEO and maximum impact.

All in One SEO homepage, the best WordPress SEO plugin.

With thousands of 5-star reviews and trusted by over 3 million website owners, you’ll be in good company as you grow your rankings. AIOSEO has a comprehensive suite of tools to help you take on the competition and win more real estate on the SERP.

Here are some of the tools you’re going to love:

  • FAQ Blocks: Add user-friendly FAQ blocks directly in the WordPress editor. You can write like you would naturally, and we’ll implement the FAQ schema behind the scenes.
  • Rich Snippets Schema: Pick from our ever-growing catalog of schema markup to win more rich results on the SERP. It’s as simple as choosing the schema you want; then, we’ll format the structured data for search engines.
  • Search Statistics: Easily track keyword rankings and monitor for content decay. Search Statistics makes it easy to stay on top of your content’s performance and pivot when you notice a decline.
  • Link Assistant: Get link suggestions, edit anchor text, and add internal links to your content in just 1 click. Link Assistant makes your internal linking strategy more effective than ever.
  • Image SEO: Save time on manual optimizations with the help of automatic image alt text and title attributes.
  • Social Media Integration: Seamlessly connect your social media platforms and share content with your audience. Available integrations include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and more.
author avatar
Gabriela Jhean SEO Specialist
Gabriela is a creative and results-driven SEO specialist dedicated to helping small businesses stand out online. She contributes in-depth SEO case studies at AIOSEO Trends to reveal the winning strategies of top-ranking websites. In her downtime, Gabriela enjoys treasure hunting for antique jewelry.