At the end of July 2018, Google basically started rehauling their algorithm, in what is now known as the Google Medic Update. Here are the essential changes and highlights:
- This particular algorithm update targeted almost exclusively sites in the medical, health and wellness industries. Hence the name “medic”.
- YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) pages also were affected. These types of pages are typically themed around subjects that are impactful to a person’s future happiness, health and wealth as well as user’s safety. Such pages typically solicit personal information that could potentially be used for identity theft, entail monetary transactions, i.e., requiring your bank account or credit card number, or offer medical information or advice on important lifestyle decisions such as purchasing a home, how to parent or legal and financial guidance
- Early observations of this update appear to have negatively affected a large group of health sites, which is an historically unusual result for the type of “broad core” update Google defined this as.
- Google isn’t giving much information about this update but has noted it was not to increase page speed, contrary to a July announcement from Google that page speed would become a ranking factor.
So, the question is: WHY did Google update their algorithm? The short answer is that they needed to clean up the system. Actually, Google updates algorithms all the time, but usually in a manner that is undetectable to the user. While we will never uncover the exact proprietary ingredient list of the Google algorithm, it is common knowledge that it is made up of several hundred ranking factors, including page speed, keywords in title page, mobile responsiveness, etc. It makes sense then, that when they go in and modify even a few of those factors, there is going to be a ripple effect throughout the algorithm that may result in unforeseen ranking gains or losses. In the case of the Medic Update, all we can say at this juncture is that whatever Google “tweaked” it seemed to affect health, wellness and lifestyle pages.
If You Have Been Affected By The Medic Update, How Do You “Recuperate” From It?
Unfortunately, Google basically says you CAN’T Fix it! You can however follow the guidance and advice of Google as you look to the future of your page:
- Follow Googles guidelines – their latest guideline update stresses expertise, authoritativeness and trust (E.A.T.) – make sure your information is credible, evidence based and formulated by experts.
- Always include a detailed “About Us” section and brag openly, but honestly about any official awards, rankings, certifications or notable successes you have received or earned.
- Make sure you can source the authenticity of everything you include on your page. Do your fact checking!
- Use actual customer reviews and feedback to support your credibility and your reputation. Happy customers are your best calling card!
The bottom line advice to counter any negative results of the Google Medic Update? Devote your analysis to making sure your content matches your desired users’ intent as closely as you possibly can.