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Google frequently comes out with changes to its algorithms to improve search results for the end users. Some of these changes are focused around specific improvements but some are broad that effect search results in significant manner. Google previous updates improved upon something specific, like:
- Venice update dealt with branding and site-wide authority.
- Panda focused on content quality.
- Penguin targeted the black hat linking tactics.
With these updates, Google made businesses to identify the flaws and reverse engineer the issues to regain their lost rankings and credibility among the people.
This time, Google came up with its new update on 1-2nd August 2018, officially known as Broad Core Algorithm Update, or Medic Update as it is commonly known. In fact, the update was rolled out a week prior, but peaked on August 1 and 2. What ensued was a few days’ of heavy rankings’ flux for the websites in various industrial segments. The update seems to have affected both the organic search and map listing local results.
Update focused on general website clean up
Unlike previous major updates, Medic Update doesn’t address a single factor or punish for bad behavior. It’s more about a general clean up.
Though Google’s updates always remain a well-guarded secret, the world’s top search engine considers several hundred factors to rank a website such as:
- Responsive website design
- Page loading Speed
- Keywords in meta tags
Many experts have opined that the Medic update was intended to bring more power to the health and wellness websites with higher authority, such as Mayo Clinic.
- The update has mostly affected the online businesses that operate on the basis of Your Money or Your Life (YMYL). These are the businesses that focus on life events and money. What exactly then constitutes a YMYL business? As per Google Raters Guidelines, YMYL businesses have pages that:
- Solicit personal information of the users such as driver’s license number and bank account details that could be misused for identity theft purposes.
- Offer medical or health information that could have a significant effect on your well-being.
- Use monetary transactions wherein the users are asked to provide their bank, credit card or debit card details.
- Offer advice on major life decisions, such as on good parenting, purchasing real estate etc.
- Offer advice on major life issues that could impact your future finances and happiness, such as legal and financial issues.
- Businesses in medical devices, nutrition and pharmaceuticals are largely affected by the update. Almost half of the websites affected were in the business of medical and health related products. Coupons and deals sites, finance websites, business to business, ecommerce, insurance and those in entertainment niche have also been affected.
- The websites that ranked higher after the update display clear signs of authority and expert author bios.
- Sites with higher domain authority got higher ranking while those with lesser authority witnessed the dwindling of their SERP rankings.
Google just not seems to be considered about the reputation of a website but also the reputation of each of its individual authors that write content for the website or serve as thought leaders and influencers.
If your website features work from multiple authors, each of them should have well-rounded author bio accompanying their contribution.
So, businesses need to follow a rigorous screening process while accepting content from the guest bloggers and contributors.
Quality Raters’ Guidelines or QRG can help determine the webmasters what constitutes great content. Implementing the changes based on QRG, one can get better ranking for the website.
Some of the top winners of Medic update include:
Some of the top losers are:
A disproportionately large number of health sites found themselves on the list of top losers after the Medic Update.
What can you do if you were hit?
- Your About Us page should demonstrate your E-A-T or Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust to your website users. It should provide justification for why you are being recognized as the most authoritative business in your vertical. You need to highlight any awards or recognitions received and also put plenty of genuine customer testimonials on your About Us page. The golden rule is that if you have got it, flaunt it.
- If you are selling the products that are perceived to be harmful, your ranking could be dropped. If real users leave bad reviews about you, such issues must be addressed appropriately.
- Perform a thorough crawl analysis and audit of your website.
- Improve the reputation of your authors and get their work published on the authoritative places outside of your website.
- Analyze Google Search Console (GSC) reporting, including the new index coverage reporting and fix SEO problems at the earliest.
- Improve your product E-A-T by soliciting reviews, participating in various forum discussions and having a product or serviced that people would like talk about.
- Keep the website free of thin or low quality content and annoying ads.
- Check for the ease of user navigation during website browsing.
- Populate the website with quality content with high sharing potential and more branded searches for your business.
Content quality needs to meet user intent
Content creators need to ensure that their subject headline matches with their content. Content marketers also need to pay as much attention whether the content matches the intent of the user or not, in addition to the SEO services.
However, smaller businesses will find it harder to establish credibility and score high on E-A-T parameters as they don’t have the authority and resources that come easy to their well-established larger competitors with wide network.
Overcoming the Medic Update challenges
Since Google is focusing more on E-A-T, ensure that everything you provide, be it products or services, has serious credibility. The whole idea behind E-A-T is to provide the most relevant and trustworthy content to the users for each of their search queries. One also needs to understand the user’s intent based on search query.
Search words like buy, affordable, deals, coupons, discount etc. signify a buying intent, while the phrases like top 10, reviews, what is, how to, why, examples, where etc. signal about an information query only. Additionally, have some really good collection of positive customer reviews from the real users or clients.
Taking these measures should help improve your ranking in the organic searches. Adhering to the principles of QRG should help you set up for higher rankings in the future search results by Google.
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