- Use cases
- Customer Success
- LOG IN
- Start free trial
On August 1st, Google rolled out what has since been named Google’s Medic Update. This core broad algorithm update has been at the heart of passionate debates within the SEO community as some of them immediately started to face ranking drops. Dr. Pete J.Meyers from Moz even stated, based on the Mozcast tracker, that August 1st had been the hottest days of change in 2018 so far.
This article aims to demystify what is behind Google’s latest algorithm update and to understand how to anticipate penalties.
MozCast is a monitoring tool that detect “spikes” of search ranking changes on a daily basis. The solution saw a record heat increase of 114 degrees on August 1st and 2nd, correlating with the latest news from Google.
While the “Medic” name implies that the update targeted medical sites, it doesn’t mean they were the only ones affected by ranking drops. The official answer from the Google team was – as usual – generalist:
“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…”.
“If you think this isn’t helpful: we’re sorry. It probably is the best advice you’re going to get around this update or any update for that matter. You shouldn’t “just” build great content though. Great content has to fit with the goal of your site, whether that’s informing people, selling products or something else.” (source)
A new update from the Mountain View search engine always means a lot of speculations. Is it focusing on qualitative links? Mobile site speed? Intrusive adverts?
Studies have been run over the last couple of weeks, and while the results can’t be comprehensive as the amount of data to study is tremendous, trends have been identified.
These pages refer to pages focusing on money and life events and that deal with information like:
RankRanger shared the results of their studies across different verticals and it results that the finance, health and home goods industries were quite impacted, even at the first position.
Here are the charts shared by the company on Search Engine Land and showing ranking fluctuations by niche for the first, second and third results before and during the update. Overall, health, home goods and gambling were the most impacted.
Moz also shared their data and ended up with similar conclusions:
Finally, Search Engine Roundtable worked on a helpful representation of the websites categories impacted. He collected over 300 domains and analyzed them manually. Almost half of them were in the medical and health space. Here is the pie chart breaking down those categories:
While, YMYL seems to have been impacted for the most part, websites from other sectors have also been penalized. It is important to remember that these researches are just trends. Glenn Gabe actually shared in his insightful article that other sectors have been impacted:
A lyrics site:
A coupon site:
Google is, as usual, not officially communicating on how you can fix ranking drops. They have said that the best way to be prepared is to focus on E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trust) which also resonates with a site’s quality and relevance. While it targets a lot of indicators, good content, positive user experience, optimized technical SEO, etc remain central metrics to pay attention to. Recovering from a penalty means you need to implement for the long run and don’t expect shady shortcuts to be efficient.
So, if you have been impacted, don’t wait for the magic to happen. Here are a few steps to help you recover from Google’s Medic Update:
Have you been caught by Google’s Medic Update? We would love to know more about your experience.