Google confirmed a “broad core algorithm update,” with wide reports of massive impact. It rolled out over the period of about a week but peaked on August 1-2. This update seemed to disproportionately affect sites in the health and wellness vertical, although the large-scale impact was seen in all verticals.
Who was impacted by this update?
SEMRush in its SEMrush Sensor ranked the Google August 1 update an overall 9.4 on its scale, which is very high. But the firm also ranked it by niche and according to SEMrush, all industries saw significant fluctuations, with less so in the travel sector and real estate section. Here are the rankings for that day from SEMrush:
- 9.4 Arts & Entertainment.
- 9.4 Autos & Vehicles.
- 9.4 Beauty & Fitness.
- 9.3 Books & Literature.
- 9.3 Business & Industrial.
- 9.3 Computers & Electronics.
- 9.4 Finance.
- 9.4 Food & Drink.
- 9.4 Games.
- 9.4 Health.
- 9.4 Hobbies & Leisure.
- 9.4 Home & Garden.
- 9.4 Internet & Telecom.
- 9.4 Jobs & Education.
- 9.4 Law & Government.
- 9.4 News.
- 9.4 Online Communities.
- 9.4 People & Society.
- 9.4 Pets & Animals.
- 9.1 Real Estate.
- 9.4 Reference.
- 9.4 Science.
- 9.4 Shopping.
- 9.4 Sports.
- 8.7 Travel.
Our best guess as to what the Medic update did was improve that “match” between intent and results. All of the changes above would make sense with that point of view. The “problem” is that if that’s true, Google’s advice probably is still the best advice on how to do better: build a site that people want to visit. A site that matches people’s search queries and their search intent, and you’ll do just fine.
Many experts chimed in:
Glenn Gabe wrote a very large post after analyzing over 200 sites, summarizing:
The core algorithm update that rolled out on August 1, 2018 was massive and many sites across the web were impacted. Although there were a lot of health sites impacted, many others in non-YMYL categories were affected as well. If you have been negatively impacted by the 8/1 update, then it’s important to objectively analyze your site to find ways to improve. And remember, there’s never one smoking gun. There’s usually a battery of them. So go find them now.
Marie Haynes also wrote her thoughts saying:
The August 1, 2018 Google update was a massive one. I believe that it was primarily about Google’s ability to determine E-A-T for a website. I also think that the T in E-A-T became even more important as Google is working harder to determine which websites are the most trustworthy to show searchers.
BrightLocal shared a similar message:
This latest algorithm update, if what we’re seeing from the community is to be believed, may well have been focused on demoting YMYL pages with low E-A-T.
Whilst this will definitely impact websites like forums with low-quality advice, it should be noted that local businesses are just as at risk (as shown by Joy and Marie above) from providing advice that doesn’t come from a place of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Key Takeaways from the Google Medic Update
Here’s a brief rundown of what we covered:
- Google confirmed its latest “broad core algorithm update” on August 2nd
- They didn’t give any specific information on what’s causing rank fluctuation for sites, and there’s no way to “fix” pages that were hit
- The health and wellness industries seem to have been hit the hardest by the update, followed by some in the YMYL category
- Pay special attention to Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines for clues on how to improve
- Focus on improving domain authority: Add in proof of expertise and authority wherever possible on your site, including individual author bio’s
- Focus on aligning your content with user intent
- Continue to focus on known algorithm factors like PageSpeed, HTTPS, mobile responsiveness, and making sure your site is technically correct
The Google Medic update is one for the books.
And while there’s no exact cause or remedy to regain lost traffic, by sticking to the principles, you can set yourself up for higher rankings in the future.
The August “Medic” update was significant in many, massive to others.