September 20th, 2018

Google “Medic” Update: Google Launches First Major Algorithm Update Since 2017:

Have you done a Google search for your website this month only to be surprised to find that your website has dropped significantly in the search engine page rankings? If so, you may have been caught up in Google’s latest “Medic” algorithm update.

On August 1st Google publicly announced the roll-out of a “broad core algorithm update.” (via Danny Sullivan’s @searchliaison account). This marked the first major Algorithm from the company since the “Fred” update in March of 2017.

Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable, found in surveys he sent out to SEO professionals, of those websites that were effected, over 50% were in the healthcare industry. According to Schwartz “while many other types of sites in other areas were impacted, such as e-commerce, insurance, finance, business to business, entertainment, deal sites, etc, the interesting thing about many of those “e-commerce” sites is that they sell health/medical related products.”

The effect of the algorithm update ranged across all countries, languages, types of sites including blogs, doctor practices, e-commerce, advice, lifestyle tips, and more.

The one common thread is the value being placed (again) on relevant content showing authority, expert knowledge, and customer/viewer satisfaction. (Healthcare sites were affected, for example, because a large portion of content was written without showing knowledge, expertise or professional quality). Low-value content, thin content with no real meat to it or helpfulness to readers, along with excessive and disruptive ad placement have caused the deep plunge for many webmasters and companies.

August 1st Google Medic update by industry, courtesy of SEO Roundtable

No Surprises from Google

Google has always made it a point to stress that the following websites must be written by accredited, qualified experts:

  • Medical information
  • Financial advice
  • Advice or information pages on any topic that can have a potential negative impact on a person’s health, happiness or wealth
  • High-quality hobby pages

Google’s advice to webmasters for this latest core update is the same as for past Google updates, saying there’s “no quick fix” for website pages that may perform less well, other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content could rise relative to other pages.”

Google also said, “As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.” The major takeaway from these comments is that Google is intent on remaining focused on E-A-T.


Focus on E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness

“Expert” – You need to be an expert in the field that your website is focused on. Maintaining an up-to-date “testimonial” or “reviews” page on your website is a way of showing Google that you are an expert on your topic because you are receiving feedback from third parties.

Authority” You want to show that your website is an authority on your topic. This differs from being an “Expert” because you are presenting your credentials proving your position or experience in your field that shows in your content, by presenting material that answers your readers’ questions and helps them solve a problem, the search engines will credit your website as being an authority on your subject. An auto repair shop that has certified trained mechanics will want to have their certifications listed prominently on the website.

“Trust”– You need to show users they can trust the website they are on. This is especially important for eCommerce websites that ask users for their credit card information. Everything about your site should make users feel safe while they’re visiting. Be sure your site uses a reputable payment processor with proof that it is safe for customers to utilize.

Site Speed is Also a Factor

Google’s “Speed Update” of July 2018 is another factor in overall site performance ratings. Slow loading websites impede customer viewing and website navigation which will cause them to leave a website faster increasing the website’s “bounce rate” and lower their search engine rankings. Site speed on mobile devices is also becoming a focus of the search engines as more people are viewing the majority of their searches on mobile devices.

The IMM team works to monitor the slow-loading aspects of your website that can include large size images, too many plugins or broken URLs.

IMM Has Been Implementing Google Guidelines Since Day One

Even though the rollout of the “Medic Update” seems to be mainly impacting the healthcare industry in the search engine, Google is once again showing that quality content is an underlying component on how they rank websites overall within their search engine. Simply putting up content for the sake of having words on the page is no longer going to go unnoticed by Google and thin content without the E-A-T principles will cause more harm than good to your website rankings.

As Google continues to place a high level of importance on quality, authoritative, expert, and trustworthy content. It’s even more clear that the investment in a team of quality content writers is one of the best decisions website owners can make.

Content has always been “King” with readers and with the Google, this recent update (Medic Update), is reiterating the belief in quality, expert and authoritative content to enhance the reader experience and provide relative information on the topic that Google users are searching for which keeps users engaged on the Google platform longer.

IMM provides our clients with the highest quality content that meets and/or exceeds search engine expectations. The E-A-T principle is here to stay. Make sure your content encourages readers to see your site as an authority. To see how your website can improve its rankings in the search engines contact the Internet marketing professionals at IMM today.

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