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If you are an SEO professional, there will be a lump in your throat every time you hear about an algorithm update from Google. Algorithm updates induce contrasting emotions in the users and SEO professionals. When SEOs consider it a bane, it’s a boon for users as they get more credible and authentic information.
Recently, Google announced the rollout of a new algorithm update, now christened The Google Medic Update. It’s one of the broad core algorithm updates that Google has released in 2018. Like all other incremental updates of Google, the medic update has also made improvements in the search experience for users.
Well, that’s the user side of the story, but from the SEO experts’ side, many websites have been affected negatively by this new update. Let’s find out which website genres have suffered due to this update and which are the ones that have remained intact without experiencing any ranking fluctuations. Before we get into the details, it’s important to understand what is a broad core algorithm?
What is a broad core algorithm update?
Google makes a continuous effort to enhance your user experience so that the search engine gives out the most appropriate information. It makes changes to its search algorithms around twice a day and in 2017 alone, there were 630 updates of this class. These updates are known as Google core algorithm updates and they are quite different from broad core algorithm updates. Google has confirmed that the update that was made in August 2018, was broad core.
Unlike the core algorithm update, a broad core algorithm update is a major one. Also, the broad core algorithm updates happen only a couple of times in a year and they can induce significant changes in the SERP ranking.
Google released two broad core algorithm updates in March and April, prior to the one that we’re discussing here, the August one, AKA, the medic update. Most of these updates are focused more on the content than on the quality of the website. Google said, “As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less than well, for now. Instead, it’s the changes to our systems that are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.” This means that your rank may go down after a broad core algorithm update not because there’s anything wrong with your site but because some other websites who were “under-rewarded” got ranked well.
Google “Medic” Update- Why the name?
Google did not give any name to the new update, however, the name “Medic update” got attention after Barry Schwartz, one of the most prolific SEO writers in the search industry, called it that. Even though this update affected medical sites, those are not the only ones to get hit badly. Let’s dig in a little deeper into the genres of websites whose ranking was affected the most by the Medic update.
Who did the Medic Update August 2018 affect the most?
According to Barry Schwartz’s findings, the Google Medic update impacted health-related websites the most. He reviewed over 300 sites that are said to have been impacted by the update and found that around 42% of these sites were health related. In fact, it’s quite surprising that a broad core algorithm update is concentrated so deep on one particular niche. Other niches like e-commerce, insurance, finance, business to business, entertainment, and deal sites were also affected by this update. To cement the fact that health is the one specific niche that got impacted the most, Schwartz said that most of these e-commerce sites were the ones who were selling health-related products.
Another popular opinion is that the Medic Update has influenced other YMYL sites strongly as well. YMYL acronym stands for “Your Life Your Money” and these are the sites that can have a negative impact on the readers’ life, income, or happiness in case their quality is compromised. Google is trying to solidify the quality of YMYL websites that are ranked in the search engine results, through this update. YMYL sites include those websites that give information on health-related topics but they also include other niches as well. These are the Following are the pages that can be categorized under YMYL pages:
- The sites that give health-related information on specific diseases, medicines, and physical and mental health conditions.
- The sites that give financial information like tax, loans, or investments.
- The sites that give legal information.
- Shopping sites and pages on which you make financial transactions.
- Pages that had a low EAT (Expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) level and that can potentially harm people due to incorrect or insufficient information. For example, the pages that provide information on car repair and maintenance.
So, what we know from all this information, is that Google is trying to rank websites that come under these categories based on their credibility and the quality of their content.
Who didn’t get affected much by the Medic Update August 2018?
After the latest Google algorithm update, the rank stability of websites that had a high level of EAT decreased when compared to those with lower EAT levels. This means that if your website is ranked in the first position for a particular keyword, there are lesser chances of the update affecting the position. Why do you think it is so? Most of the YMYL websites that are ranking in the first position for different keywords have already established a high level of credibility and trustworthiness, and their content is mostly written or reviewed by experts in the particular niche. For example, a website that gives information on health has a detailed “About us” section, and all of the content published is written by the doctors, or reviewed by doctors, will have a high EAT level. Such websites are at lower risk of being negatively impacted by the Medic Update August 2018.
What can you do if your website is hit by the update?
Here are some key points that may help you recover, in case, you are affected negatively by the Medic Update August 2018 negatively:
- Display the EAT of your website: You need to let Google know that your website has good quality and trustworthy content. Make use of your ‘About’ page to increase the EAT of your website by writing about your years of experience, your achievements, the media coverage you’ve gotten, and the awards you’ve won.
- Display the EAT of the authors: Another important thing is to improve the EAT of your authors by adding more information about them and their achievements on your website. It’s vital to mention author’s name write the name of the author along with the content, linked to which should be his or her bio.
- Improve the reputation of your website and that of your authors: One of the best ways to improve a website and your authors’ reputation is by getting favorable media coverage. It may take a lot of time and effort, and while you’re at it, you can try to foster positive user reviews and testimonials. You can publish these reviews and testimonials on your website and also try to get them published on other authoritative websites. To improve the reputation of your authors, you need to get their content published on authoritative websites that are ranking well.
- A deep review of the products that you’re selling and their EAT: None of these things would help you if the products that you’re selling on your website are sketchy, spammy, or harmful. Even though things may get a little more competitive, if you want to get ranked better, then you need to have products with better EAT.
Even though the Medic Update August 2018 is a broad core algorithm update, it has clearly affected the YMYL websites and especially, the ones that are related to health. The impact has a solid relationship with the EAT of the websites, their authors, and their products. The ranking stability of the websites decreases based on their ranking positions before the update. Follow the aforementioned tips to get back on top of the SERP by improving your EAT and reputation.
Author Bio: Jafar Sadhik
Jafar Sadhik is a passionate logophile turned creative content specialist pursuing a dream in ever inflating digital market. Currently employed as a technical blogger at Stan Ventures, a digital marketing company.