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 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….”
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….
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) March 12, 2018
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.