The Google Medic Update; what you need to know
Was This a Big Google Update?
It’s been three years in the making, but August finally brought with it the Google Medic Update and it’s had much more of an impact than anticipated. As the name suggests, the update was targeted at the Health Industry and author expertise, but ramifications have been felt far beyond. In fact, this may even be looked back upon in a year’s time as a pivotal shift in how SEO works, time will tell. But so far, we have seen a number of well-known web pages drop -40% in traffic…
Why Did Website Traffic Drop?
Well, general gist of it is quality control; the Google Medic update has favoured the more ‘authoritative’ and credible sites over the more ‘lifestyle’ focused sites. At this point in time, Google’s latest algorithm has only been live for a matter of weeks, but here are the most prominent changes it has brought so far:
It’s fair to say that this update has shifted things up in the seriousness scale; EAT factors are being prioritised. EAT factors refer to websites that contain Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust. Therefore, the more professional websites are being ‘rewarded’, whilst the less professional, more ‘lifestyle’ sites, are being ‘punished’. It’s an attempt by Google to clamp down on sites towards the lower-quality end of the scale.
No longer can sites make bold claims without backing them up with industry awards or reputable links. Links have endured over 20 years as the most reliable signal of a web page’s importance, and this doesn’t seem likely to change any time soon. For instance, sites with outbound links to quality, relevant sources, performed well across the Medic update, as did sites with quality inbound links (however, credible inbound links are clearly much harder for a site to gain). Conversely, sites lacking these credible, quality outbound and inbound links saw decreases in traffic.
Tone of Voice
‘Professionalism’ appears to be the word of the hour; sites written in a ‘professional’ tone have gained significantly more than those in ‘expert’ or ‘layman’ tones of voice. In line with this, content written in the third person has been looked upon much more favourably by Medic than content written in the first or second person.
Websites with well-structured content (i.e. with headers, tables of content, metadata and bullet points) are the ones seeing a rise in traffic. Others are losing traffic rapidly.
There’s now a fine line regarding keywords in meta titles; it seems Google has returned to favouring the less subjective, keyword-rich meta titles. Saying this, titles must not be overloaded or spammed with keywords, because this is a tactic that has been penalised by previous Google updates! So, tread the line carefully…
What Does the Google Media Update Mean to My Website?
To put it very briefly, the update favours the more authoritative content, that’s backed up by trusted sources. Google is still receiving the same number of searches each day, and therefore, while some sites (such as LiveStrong.com) have lost considerable traffic, others have gained; i.e. there is clear potential for sites to capitalise on the latest update. So, it’s not all doom and gloom.
It’s unlikely that over the next few months Google will roll out any more major algorithm changes, so make the most of the opportunity presented; professionalise your site content, titles, structure, tone of voice, and back it up with credible, quality outbound links.