Top Takeaways from #StateOfSearch 2017
Google’s Medic Update & How it Affects Your Rankings
It’s no secret that Google is constantly making changes to its algorithm in order to provide users with the best, most relevant content out there, but figuring out when these updates are coming and how they will affect your site can be tricky.
Last year, Google released the “Medic Update”, affecting mostly YMYL sites (Your Money Your Life). YMYL sites have the power to make an impact on a user’s health and wellbeing, whether that be financial, physical, emotional or mental. With the Medic Update, Google is trying to filter through all YMYL sites so that users aren’t exposed to a site that could negatively impact their health or wellbeing. Google does this by looking at the E-A-T of a site: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust. If your site has a low E-A-T, you’ve most likely seen a drop in rankings and site traffic because of this update. But don’t worry—we’ve created this Google Medic Update Checklist to help improve your rankings.
Google looks for sites that are created by individuals or groups who have a high level of expertise. Don’t worry if you didn’t graduate the top of your class at Harvard, this includes individuals who may not have formal expertise but have plentiful life experiences on the topic at hand.
Expertise is especially important when your site is scientific or medical/health related. If your site represents some sort of scientific or medical topic, Google is looking to make sure your site is updated by an individual or group with the appropriate scientific or medical expertise with some sort of established, scientific consensus. Google wants to know that what you’re saying is backed by other scientists or medical professionals. If your site is selling medical or health-related products, it’s important that your product or service has a positive reputation in that field. This is where it can be super helpful to publish reviews on your site.
Your site’s authority goes hand-in-hand with your expertise. Google wants to know that the authors and creators of your site have a high level of authority in their field. You can improve your site’s authority by making sure there are reputable external sources linking to your site, and by including bios for all of the authors who contribute content. Make sure all of your blog posts and articles have an author linked to them and create a “Who We Are” page if you don’t already have one.
Other ways you can improve your authority are by getting your authors published on other authoritative sites, requesting testimonials and reviews from your clients or customers to publish on your site, and making sure your pages and articles have a solid amount of content. Google will trust you less if your pages don’t have enough content on them. Speaking of trust…
When it comes down to it, all Google wants to do is provide helpful, high-quality content to users. Google’s algorithm is searching for the best of the best, and if it feels like it can’t trust your page, your rankings will drop.
The main purpose of your site should be to help users, whether that be through products, services, or information, and it needs to be obvious. When users land on your homepage, they should have a pretty good understanding of who you are and what you stand for. Your page titles should also glean this information—they need to be descriptive and helpful. If Google thinks your site is deceptive based on your page title vs. what you are actually selling, your rankings will drop.
Other things that might affect your rankings…
- You have a bad or negative online reputation
- The information on your site is not updated on a regular basis
- Your pages are disorganized and lead to a negative user experience
- You have ads that continuously cover your main content or distract users from the content of the page
Long story short: if your site has a high E-A-T and is overall helpful and relevant to users, this algorithm update shouldn’t drastically affect your rankings or site traffic. You can dive deeper into this update here.
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