Google Medic Broad Core Update Key Points to Know


Kevin Urrutia




February 09, 2024

If you are an SEO professional, there will be a lump in your throat whenever 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 a new algorithm update rollout, now christened The Google Medic Update. It’s one of the broad core algorithm updates Google released in 2018. Like all other incremental updates of Google, the medic update has also improved users’ search experience.

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 from this update and which ones have remained intact without experiencing any ranking fluctuations. Before we get into the details, we must understand a broad core algorithm.

What is a broad core algorithm update?

Google continuously enhances your user experience so that the search engine gives the most appropriate information. It changes 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 are pretty different from broad core algorithm updates. Google has confirmed that the update made in August 2018 was wide-core.

A broad core algorithm update is a major one, unlike the core algorithm update. Also, the general core algorithm updates happen only a couple of times a year and can induce significant changes in the SERP ranking.

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Google released two broad core algorithm updates in March and April before the one we’re discussing here, the August one, which is 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. For now, there’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform poorly. 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 were “under-rewarded” got ranked well.

Google “Medic” Update- Why the name?

Google did not give any name to the new update. However, the word “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 mishit. Let’s dig a little deeper into the genres of websites whose ranking was affected the most by the Medic update.

Who did the Medic Update in August 2018 affected the most?

Surprisingly, a broad core algorithm update concentrates profoundly on one particular niche. 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 affected by the update and found that around 42% of these sites were health-related. 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 that were selling health-related products.

Another popular opinion is that the Medic Update has strongly influenced other YMYL sites. YMYL acronym stands for “Your Life Your Money,” and these sites can hurt the readers’ life, income, or happiness if their quality is compromised. Through this update, Google is trying to solidify the quality of YMYL websites ranked in the search engine results. YMYL sites include those websites that give information on health-related topics but also have other niches. These are 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 with low EAT (Expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) can potentially harm people due to incorrect or insufficient information. For example, the pages that provide information on car repair and maintenance.

So, from all this information, we know 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 in August 2018?

After the latest Google algorithm update, the rank stability of websites with a high level of EAT decreased compared to those with lower EAT levels. The update is less likely to affect the work if your website ranks first for a particular keyword. Why do you think it is so? Most YMYL websites ranking first for different keywords have already established high credibility and trustworthiness. Their content is mainly written or reviewed by experts in a 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 doctors or reviewed by doctors, which will have a high EAT level. Such websites are at lower risk of being negatively impacted by the Medic Update in August 2018.

What can you do if the update hits your website?

Here are some key points that may help you recover in case you are affected negatively by the Medic Update August 2018:

  • 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 essential 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 the author’s name and write it along with the content, linked to which should be their 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 try to get them published on other authoritative websites. To improve the reputation of your authors, you need to get their content published on traditional websites that are ranking well.
  • An in-depth review of the products you’re selling and their EAT: None of these would help you if the products 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, you must have products with better EAT.


Even though the Medic Update August 2018 is a broad core algorithm update, it has affected the YMYL websites, especially those 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 tips above to get back on top of the SERP by improving your EAT and reputation.

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