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Google Medic Update - Were you hit?



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Google Medic Update - Were you hit?

Google Medic Update - Were you hit?
On the 1st of August 2018, Google went live with a core algorithm update. 

This update was one of the largest core algorithm changes I've seen in years. I haven't witnessed so much volatility in my client's ranks in at least 5 years. 

But first of all. What is a core algorithm update?

Well think about it this way: Google has between 200 and 500 ranking signals for which websites and pages are evaluated and ranked accordingly in Search Results. When a core algorithm update is implemented this ranking signals may change in importance. So if for example headings and keyword played density played a huge SEO role at some point, after a core algorithm update these signals may change in importance and may influence a lot less the overall on-page SEO score, thus, making you lose ranks to your competitors that had other strong signals set. 

What happened after the Medic update? 

The Medic update hit by large the medical niche, thus called medic update by Barry Schwartz (an important figure in the SEO community). Besides the medical niche, it also hit general lifestyle, fitness, and other health websites as well as a few other niches even though Google the update was global and had a general character. 

In the first few days, the medical niche community was devasted, especially websites that used to have relied on huge amounts of health-based articles. One of my clients for which I build and optimized content for at least 3 years lost about 70% of its traffic. 

My main client lost about 20% of its organic traffic though that would be a little hard to estimated because we already had a significant increase in organic traffic for the last 30 days. 

Google response? These are nothing you can do, the affected websites weren't penalized and there wasn't anything specific you can do to improve your ranking and gain them back. The solution was very generic: just make your website better. As you can imagine, people weren't too pleased. 

What should we do if we were hit by the Medic Update?

If the update affects you win a positive way, congrats you are winning at SEO.

On the other hand, if you notice a drop in rankings, your first instinct will be to find solutions, at least this is what most SEO tend to do. Will start implementing loads of changes right away in the hope that they will recover lost ranks. I believe the right approach is to wait. 

After such a big update Google generally implements a fix or a correction about 7-10 days after the update. This time it took 22 days for the correction to come, but I glad I stuck by my optimizations and did nothing all this time. On the 22 of August, my main client's website recovered the lost traffic and even gain new ranks in the last couple of days. 

After this date, the other medical based website I still manage started to also slightly recover, but most of them are still on the downside. A solution would be to link a recognized name to the author of the articles. I'm not saying you should go attribute article to famous random doctors, but you do need to realize this new update impacts the way Google perceives content on an authority level. This means the content has to have verified and notable web authors that activate in the medical niche.

Most of my clients are clinics; these clinics have loads of doctors, some of them pretty famous and renowned on the web, some even have Wikipedia pages written about them. So these are the kind of people I need to convince to write professional articles or update previous articles and attached their name and expertise to them. I already started this process, and the results are satisfying. 

Other tips for people that got hit by the medic update: 

Test and test again. You need to figure out what made Google drop you in ranks. Not every website is the same so don't expect certain fixes to work for you just because it worked for others. 

I had success in increasing the number of exact matched keywords. Remember the times when Google used to intoxicate us with the advice that keyword stuffing is bad and you should avoid creating content with lots of exact matched keywords? Well, me and other SEOs done some tests and it turns out increasing the number of exact matched keywords in websites that got hit by the Medical Update actually improves rankings!

Your turn!

Have you experienced a loss in ranks and organic traffic after the 1st of August Google Medical Update?
Have you recovered if you manage to improve your ranks, please share them in the comments below! 

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anwebservices

I am not actually surprised about this Google algorithm change. it was about time for it because there is so many blogs created in that niche for pure purpose of driving Adsense revenues, but with poor information for health seekers, so real informations had low ratings and it was hard to find on Google search for many keywords. I am actually glad that this happen, because there is so much desperate people searching for real, helpful and trusted information regarding their health issues. So i would say "Way to go Google" well done.

I know many efforts by bloggers was let down and loss of organic traffic is bad for anyone, but real info should get real authority.

Just imagine if you were sick and searching for good solution, then you search on Google and bump into bunch of useless websites with crappy contents, ads and links to another affiliate websites etc etc... Desperate people were really disturbed by this.




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Cristian

I agree the medical niche was out of control for many years now. And not only medical, health and food were also in the same place, creating tons and tons of almost useless content so that they can drive organic traffic and make a profit out of Adsense.

Even real and renowned clinics and doctors started practicing this kind of behavior, publishing content based on what the "public" was searching for but doing a horrible job on actually explaining and giving people real advice about their medical conditions. Truth is, the answer to most medical content should be "go to the doctor and stop using the internet to place a diagnostic!".




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cmoneyspinner

I was not aware of the update but I am not surprised. I have general health blogs or rather micro-blogs but I never presented them as an authority or as a substitute for professional medical advice. If the algorithm is flushing out useless content, that's great! But if informative medical and health websites and blogs are like the "baby" being thrown out with the "bath water", then it's not really a good thing for the public who is seeking and searching for reliable information. It's a good thing to go to the doctor. It's also a good thing to educate yourself.




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Kakashi2020

I know that Google would update their ranking algorithms every so often and when it does, a lot of people gets affected. I'm lucky I'm not in the medical field and have not encountered any problems in terms of ranking.




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ballyhara

Tell me about it. I was seeing this coming for some time. It's so bad for those who were affected, and I know some of my colleagues were, and now they're writing to some kind of support or whatever. On medical field, rankings are a very clever and important part, so obviously that's why they feel somehow scammed or cheated.




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Martinsx1

The truth is that getting a good ranking in Google takes lots of time and effort and once a website owner gets the ranking he or she desires, he or she would like to stay there or improve from that spot. It very painful to drop in ranking as a result of update from Google, this is why those affected by the medic update feel so bad about it but I'm sure that they will work past it sooner than later.




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stbrians

Any change is good change be it a Google algorithm or any other. Changes often bring repulses but we soon get used to them. Life must contunue surely. The onlybthing that does not change is change.




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Martinsx1

Exactly! For the fact that some online business owners who involve Google with carrying out their daily day to day business activities don't expect to see such changes in some updates makes them to frown at it because they weren't prepared to face it just yet but it's just with time and they will get used to it and move on just fine.




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overcast

I think I expected this type of the update. The reason being medical advice is often given through the wrong type of people. Like some are not qualified. If not qualified they are not professional either. So you have to understand that such updates are going to cause issues. So it's reasonable to say that medic update was expected from the google. And it is going to have some impact on the business if they are giving random advice. So i hope some good sites in medic are boosted.




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Martinsx1

One thing that we don't or can't have anything to do about is death once it comes but when it comes to having some challenges with one's online business especially if the issue is coming from the end of Google, there is nothing much one can do about it but only to find a possible way to adapt and adjust to the new update. Some will definitely be affected by this update in a serious manner while some will benefit from it.




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overcast

I think google was under pressure that a lot of fake sites and fake news and the fake content was topping the chart. And for that reason you can see that google medic update was needed. so i am not surprised at their actions. it was meant to be because we needed the filtering badly. and considering in near future there are going to be issues with the content verification too.




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Martinsx1

Google is always in the habit of coming up with new updates from time to time and it's all to make the search engine be up to standard with all its business activities. It's true that some people will be affected in some ways with each new update, but it's all to the betterment of everyone on the long run.




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jpyy

Often I have a tendency to see Google as tyrannical. Nonetheless, this time, I have more sympathy. I mean, medicine is often life or death with people - so we don't need inferior articles. They could produce false answers or at least answers that are less than desired.




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Everett

And there is a lot of bad articles, and a lot of them are actually outdated, or just complete lies. For instance, there are websites still promoting coconut oil when scientist have come out and said it's actually terrible for your health, and they link it the same as a poison for the body. However, health websites and blogs are still promoting coconut oil, and for what? Adsense revenue and commissions. All comes down to money. If someone can make content to monetize, they will and don't necessarily care if life or death as long as they make money.




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HappyLady

I can see why Google instituted this update. The Internet has some excellent medical information based on proper medical science, but the first thing my own doctor would say is "don't look at the Internet because of all the misinformation out there. It looks like what they were trying to do was ensure any medical information links to credible sources. That said, I am sure many genuine medical sites were also hit. I am late hearing about this, but it is all useful information to help understand the current state of SEO.




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Everett

I am very thrilled that Google implemented this because as many others have previous stated: there is a lot of misinformation when it comes to the medical community and junk websites. For instance, there is a huge drive to get people to stop taking coconut oil because they have found that it actually is "poison" for the body due to it's fats. A lot of health blogs and websites we basically worship coconut oil and a scientist decided for themselves to take action against people stating coconut oil was a miracle oil but it is not in fact.

So by Google implementing changes to their algorithm, hopefully they rank science-backed websites with actual facts other than websites and blogs that just post content to get adsense revenue and commissions from the sell of such products.

I am now waiting for Google to do something about all the junk websites that only post content that is considered spam (at least to me) and making their posts go viral just to collect adsense revenue. For advertisers, this would be very good because we do not want on our ads on rubbish websites, at least I do not.




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focusedwriter10

I am not running any website at the moment. But, one of my client who runs an affiliate site lost 40% of his organic traffic, and his drops so much. He is still on the recovery path.




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tiensinh123

I also do not know how to solve it? You know how to handle it, help me with
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Corzhens

I am glad that I am not in the medical field although my niche being pets can also have been affected with the medicines for animals. Do you think that this medical update made a big splash by the change in the policy of Google? If so then what happens to the next update, would it be for another industry like the industry of cars or movie industry? If Google will be doing updates from time to time then I guess it is not stable anymore.




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