With ever-demanding searches being made daily and Google, being one of the most prominent players in answering the public, it becomes crucial that the giant remains a trusted and genuine source of information to suit the interest of the user.
To meet the respective objective, Google frequently releases new updates and tweaks to better its ranking system and add to its quality raters for a finer selection of articles and pages.
Google has released and publicised many algorithms that have really changed the SEO game in the past. Now this time confirmed by the officials at our very own Google on 1st August 2018, is a core update which is referred to as “Medic Update” has been one of the most talked about and widespread in terms of effects.
In this article, we’re going to shed some light on this algorithm update and be discussing various other factors related to the same and how one can optimize their online properties to stay in coherence with each other.
What’s Google’s Medic Update?
On August 1st 2018, Google’s officials confirmed an update regarding some addition to its quality raters/ parameters that had to do with the site’s overall authoritativeness and expertise (E-A-T) in the respective topic it seemed to discuss or give advice about.
This update has been one of the most impactful of them all and the primary target has been sites that are categorised under “YMYL” (Your Money Your Life).
Sites which didn’t have something to back up the sayings and advice on these pages were heavily affected in terms of rankings and there are cases where sites ranking on top 3 for a keyword suddenly were nowhere to be found in the top 100. Google looked at the E-A-T for these pages/ sites and ranked/de-ranked them accordingly.
The name “Medic Update” has not been officially coined by Google but by Barry Schwartz a renowned SEO writer addressing the fact that the most affected sites were the one under the health and medical niche (thus Medic).
What is E-A-T?
As we’ve discussed, Googles’ new update takes into consideration of a few factors that have to do with the site’s authoritativeness and expertise per se.
But what really are these quality factors? Let’s have a little dive into it:
E-A-T; the abbreviated form representing – Expertise Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, are the three main factors Google has included in its new update to better understand a piece of content and rank it accordingly.
Now let’s understand each parameter individually and what role do they have to play in this algorithmic update:
Nowadays virtually anyone and everyone can write a blog and publish it to the web in the form of an article.
While it’s a great opportunity, it also becomes a land of information from people of various age, maturity, and background who might not even be qualified enough to touch on some critical topics that are if misinformed can potentially lead to detrimental choices ahead of an individual’s life.
Sounds scary right? Well, that’s the reason Google came up with a quality rater such as this which takes in account of the Expertise and qualification of the person from where a piece of advice or content is coming from so that only the genuine and the most appropriate answers regarding a question can be accessed by the users.
Now the next factor here is of authority, Google has to make sure that ideally the website/blog with the information should deal in a niche that’s directly relevant to the topic and not some broadly related category i.e. a website publishing an article related for “Nutrients found in Fish” should ideally revolve around Food Nutrients and Diet etc.
Apart from that, the website should also have a good standing among the community and received praises and referrals over the course of time. Google takes these factors as a sign of authority in a particular field and thus rewards it with more quality score.
Third and the last most prominent factors/ parameters of this update is the bar of trustworthiness.
If Google’s whole intention is to provide its users with the best experience possible then a “trust factor” always remain inside the equation, because who doesn’t like to be in a warm and cosy part of the web, not worrying about viruses or information theft.
To do this, Google takes inputs like if the site has been associated with fraudulent activities in the past, if the site is making a claim does it have the legal works to back it up. It also takes into account if other websites residing in the same niche has criticized the respective site due to misinformation etc.
Having an SSL certificate can also help a lot to provide that sense of secureness especially when there are payment gateways involved. Moreover, Google is pushing hard on SSL so why don’t we install it anyway, hardly takes a few bucks and there’s even some available for free.
Ultimately what Google wants the publishers to make sure of is that the highest possible quality of content is provided and that the users receive real-life genuine and practical information. Again, solidifying the fact that content plays a huge role in terms of SEO in today’s’ era.
What are YMYL sites?
We’re going to bring this term a lot so let’s just know a little bit more about what YMYL is.
YMYL which represents Your Money Your Life includes sites that deals with niches that are very crucial and holds a great level of significance in an individual’s life. Some of those topics include but are not limited to; health and fitness, finance, online transactions, legal information etc.
Google can’t afford to take even a single chance of risking its user’s well-being by providing a piece of not so authoritative information from a non-credible writer.
So, it becomes obviously clear why these are the primary sites that have been affected by Googles’ Medic Update.
What were the impacts and which sites did the Update affect the most?
As this update rolled out several listings which had less to show for its credibility witnessed a drastic drop in the performance and search listing.
We’ve already discussed, and it’s pretty clear that the primary affectees of the respective algorithm update are the YMYL sites.
And among those, the most affected ones are the one which had to do anything related to health and fitness, nutrition, diet, medicine etc.
Now, the effects of the update don’t stop here though and it’s spread through almost each and every niche there’s possibly is because even a sports niche can potentially guide an individual into buying a particular item (like a jersey or a shoe) which comes under some form buying/financial advice.
Nevertheless, here are some types of websites which got impacted on a large scale:
- Sites dealing with health, nutrition, drugs and medicinal advice.
- Transactional and monetary sites that ask for confidential information such as card/ bank details etc (E-commerce).
- Sites that provide information regarding legal topics such as Law, government.
- Financial topics like mutual funds, stocks, insurance.
- Niches that guides an individual into taking a financial decision, such as buying a product.
- Sites that deal with giving advice that can potentially impact a person’s well-being and happiness.
Also keep in mind that not all sites got affected negatively, there are many websites that actually got benefited from this particular update as they were adhering to the E-A-T parameters properly and thus got a boost in rankings.
Googles’ Medic Update in some form or other has impacted nearly every website possible and it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve and optimize your website for the best to still win in this game.
We recommend going through the points discussed in this article and starting optimizing on the basis of the same. Overall this update will ensure that the users get the most qualified answer possible and the publishers will be more inclined towards using legitimate sources and actually having an expert to vet the content published, which will contribute to a better ecosystem of knowledge and advice.
What are your views on this New Update by Google? And how do you think this might benefit or act as an impediment for your online venture, feel free to let us know :).