Google Medic Update: Things You Need to Know

Mar 02,2020 by Parul Singh
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In August 2018, Google rolled out a core algorithm update that impacted several authoritative websites and left everyone wondering what the update was all about.

SEO expert Barry Schwartz labelled the update ‘Medic’ because it seemed to have primarily affected health, fitness, and medical websites.

However, later on, it was discovered that its impact was far beyond the medical niche. Google Medic update is being talked about even to this day because a lot of websites haven’t been able to recover yet.

So, what happened in the Google Medic update, how did it affect websites and how can you recover from the medic update? That’s what we are going to discuss in this post.

So, What Exactly Happened in the Google Medic Update?

So far, Google has offered a vague explanation of this update. At the time of its release, Google said that the update was a ‘broad core algorithm update’ and that it carries out such updates several times each year.

Google further went on to say that there was no ‘fix’ for websites that were negatively impacted by the update, other than by building quality content.

The technology giant quoted, “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….”

Google also stated that this was a global update and affected all websites irrespective of location or language. It, however, refused to divulge information on what percentage of the websites were impacted.

What kind of Websites has Google Medic Update Impacted?

Google Medic update is a global update and could potentially affect websites from any niche.

However, as per the data gathered from SEO experts, the update had chiefly hit the health and medical websites although websites from e-commerce, finance, insurance, travel, gambling and technology were also impacted.

The following types of webpages were severely impacted by the update: 

  • Webpages offering medical or health information that could affect your physical health.
  • Webpages that give advice on major life decisions such as purchasing home, vehicle, investing money or parenting.
  • Webpages that offer legal or financial advice that could affect your future and happiness.
  • Webpages that ask for personal or sensitive user information such as bank account number, social security number, driver’s license number and so on.

SEO expert Barry Schwartz (who coined the term Google Medic update) collected the data from over 300 domains that were apparently affected and segregated these domains into different categories.

Below is a chart showing a break-up of these categories:

Source: searchengineland.com

How to Recover from the Google Medic Update?

Whenever Google brings in a major update like this, your job is to check if your website was affected. The best tool for doing this is Google Analytics.

The organic traffic report in Google Analytics can show if Google Medic update has led to a drop in your traffic.

Now, considering you were impacted, you can take the following steps:

1) Review your Existing Content

Google has repeatedly stressed on creating high-quality content. So, the very first thing you should do is to go through all the content on your website and ensure this content is high-quality, relevant and up-to-date. If you come across pages that are thin on content, either add more content or remove these pages altogether.

Infuse a lot of research-based facts in your web content and articles-link out to statistics and data from authority websites. Focus on creating unique, well-researched content that showcases your expertise.

If your site has a lot of spun articles (i.e. pre-written articles reworded to make them appear unique), there are chances of it getting affected.

2) Revamp Landing Pages to Enhance Credibility

If the information displayed on your landing pages does not communicate trust, your website’s ranking is likely to be impacted after an algorithm update.

Pages such as ‘Contact Us’, ‘About Us’, ‘Terms of Service’, ‘Privacy Policy’ should have all the requisite information with no ambiguous data.

It’s a good practice to mention customer reviews, company history and recognized industry certifications on the website. These elements make your site more credible.

3) Get Rid of Duplicate Content

Analyze your website for duplicate content. If you have several webpages conveying the same or similar information, it does not reflect your site in a positive light.

You may have many landing pages targeting the same keyword. The right approach in such a scenario is to combine the content from these pages into a single page. This way you will end up with fewer but superior quality pages.

4) Optimize Metadata to Sound Trustworthy

If your title tag and meta-description sound too aggressive or pushy, you might miss out on rankings. Be persuasive without being overly assertive.

Eliminate words such as ‘immediately’, ‘right now’ or claims that appear exaggerated. So, essentially everything that creates a sense of urgency in the user should be gotten rid of.

5) Create a Content Marketing Strategy

To future-proof your website against any major update (including Google Medic update), devise a well-thought-out content marketing strategy.

Include a blog section in your website; this way you can have your content updated at least once a week. Posting 2-3 quality posts each week puts you in a good position.

Your content should be unique, relevant to what you sell and linked to trustworthy sites. You can get ideas for fresh, out-of-the-box content from sites like Quora, Wikipedia, Reddit, niche industry forums, your competitor websites and blogs.

The Final Word

Through Medic and other recent updates, Google is compelling websites to create superior, original content that demonstrates their expertise. The key lies in constantly improving your website, content and overall user experience bit by bit. These steps can go a long way in enhancing the overall rankings of your website.

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