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2018 Google Algorithm Medic Update

How will this update impact your senior living community website?

As SEO specialists, it’s our job to stay up to date with the latest Google algorithm changes. Recently, Google came out with a broad core algorithm change, called the “Medic update,” that impacted various sites related to health and wellness.

Here’s what you need to know:

Though the first iteration of the Medic update hit in late July, the updates continued and peaked on August 1. During this time, Google released a statement confirming that a “broad core algorithm update” had been released, meaning the update was global and affected all industries.

As previously mentioned, despite dips and jumps among a diverse array of industries, there were significant changes for sites related to the health and wellness industry. Though this didn’t affect rankings for many of our client websites, it did have a large (positive) impact on rankings and organic traffic for those websites that were content-heavy. For example, during the update, we saw a dramatic increase in traffic for one client site – a 200% increase, to be exact. However, this number has since leveled out.

Favoring Domain Authority

It’s suspected that this update was meant to boost the ranking powers of sites with a higher authority score, like WebMD. During the update, Google tended to favor larger sites with a higher domain authority.

Your Money Your Life

In addition, pages coined Your Money Your Live (YMYL) were also hit pretty hard. These types of pages are viewed by Google as content that “could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial security or safety of users.” Trademarks of a YMYL page would be:

  • Soliciting personal information, which could be used for identity theft.
  • Pages where transactions take place.
  • Pages that offer medical or health information.
  • Pages that offer advice on major life decisions.
  • Pages offering advice on major life issues that could impact your future happiness and finances, such as pages giving legal or financial advice.

Moving Forward

There are a few things to note about the Medic update that could prove useful in content creation and website setup moving forward:

  1. In a core algorithm update, Google tweaks how they value certain ranking factors. That doesn’t mean that sites experiencing dips were doing anything wrong; they just weren’t focusing as much on the factors Google suddenly gave extra weight to.
  2. Google made it clear there isn’t anything you can “fix” to improve your rankings after this update. Rather, you should focus on matching site content with user intent and boosting site authority. Work on building expertise, authoritativeness and trust.
  3. Google has a team of search quality raters who look at sites and grade them according to a guidebook. A recent guidebook update places an emphasis on the “beneficial purpose” of a page. This means raters are asked to consider not only the quality of the content, but also whether the page has a beneficial purpose or adds value on the site.

How to Build Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust

  • Include an “About” page that showcases the qualifications of your business, highlighting awards and recognitions received.
  • Create author bios that detail the writer’s previous experience, online mentions in notable publications and other written works. Convey credibility.
  • Gain positive press you can display and use on your site by applying for awards or seeking reviews. This is where reputation management and public relations come into play.
  • Avoid clickbait by creating high-quality content and making sure the headline matches the content on the page. Make sure content aligns with user intent as well.
  • Cite credible sources and get credible links back.

On top of all these best practices, you should also ensure your site complies with algorithm factors that are crucial to user experience. That means looking at page speed on mobile devices, installing SSL certificates and making sure sites are responsive.

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