The Google Medic update was one of the largest core algorithm updates in recent memory. The update was rolled out on the 1st August 2018 and confirmed by Google on August 2nd in the UK.
Who Was Most Affected by the Medic Update?
Analysis of the impacted websites showed that Healthcare and Ecommerce were the most affected areas.
The above pie chart demonstrates the most affected industries (taken from SERoundtable).
Why Were These Sites Affected?
The Google Medic update saw the rise in importance of EAT on YMYL sites. Both EAT and YMYL are acronyms that had appeared in Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines for quite some time prior to the update.
YMYL sites that displayed low levels of EAT were affected the most, due to Google deeming them to be low quality and potentially dangerous to the website visitor.
What Is EAT?
E-A-T stands for “Expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness,” and it’s the metric by which Google’s evaluators rank pages.
Google hires evaluators to analyse content and rank it on a scale of “Lowest” to “Highest” quality. The evaluators help Google understand how the algorithm updates are performing, but they don’t have direct input into the algorithm itself.
Though the evaluator guidelines document was created to help with quality rating, it’s an excellent source to better understand how Google defines quality.
Expertise – You need to be an expert in your field. This means you need to show the expertise of the creator for the Main Content (MC) and mention it within your text.
Authoritativeness – You need to show that you are an authority, or the authoritativeness of the creator for the main content – this comes from the expertise of your writers or organisation.
Trustworthiness – You need to show users they can trust the creator or company of the main content and the website.
What Is YMYL?
YMYL stands for ‘Your Money or Your Life,’ and refers to queries that involve your money, finances as well as your life, health and well-being. The reason why these queries are important for Google to tighten up on, is that they can strongly affect a person’s life.
If non-authoritative and non-factual sites are prominent in these kind of queries and are giving bad advice, then that could be dangerous to the well-being or financial state of that searcher.
What’s The Relationship Between EAT & YMYL?
High-ranking YMYL pages will show a high level of E-A-T. That’s because the safer a user feels while visiting a page, and the more the content meets their search query, the more it will meet the needs of E-A-T. Sites that are genuinely offering helpful advice or a solution to a problem will meet these needs more readily than sites that try to game Google’s system.
Google defines pages that “could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users” as “Your Money or Your Life” pages, and these include:
Shopping or financial transaction pages
Financial information pages
Medical information pages
Legal information pages
News articles or public/official information pages
What Does Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines Say About These Sites?
“High E-A-T medical advice should be written or produced by people or organizations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation. High E-A-T medical advice or information should be written or produced in a professional style and should be edited, reviewed, and updated on a regular basis.
We will consider content to be low quality if it is created without adequate time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill.”
By rolling out the Medic update, Google decided to reduce the organic visibility of domains that are deemed to be offering services or selling products that it deems unsubstantiated by the necessary bodies — be that official government institutions, medical associations, charities for illness/disease/medical conditions, or external reviewers (including customers and industry experts) — or that are publishing content written by unqualified professionals.
What Is Google Looking For?
Enough main content (MC): content should be ample enough to satisfy the needs of a user for a page’s unique topic and purpose (broad topics require more information than narrow topics, for example)
The page and its associated content is expert, authoritative, and trustworthy for the topic they discuss
The website has a positive reputation for its page topics
The website features enough auxiliary information, for example, “About Us,” “Contact,” “Customer Service” information
The website features supplementary content (SC) that enhances the user’s enjoyment and experience of a web page
The page is designed in a functional fashion that allows users to easily locate the information they want
The website is maintained, edited regularly and frequently
Is your website easy to use on mobile?
Is your website easy to navigate?
Is the main content easy to read?
Are there too many ads interrupting the reading and flow of content?
Does the page take too long to read?
Is your content original?
Is your websites NAP consistent throughout the web?
Does your organisation have a positive reputation across the web
How Do We Achieve This?
This process needs to be utilised across your core ranking and key performance pages – as supplementary pages on your site won’t require as extensive attention to detail or EAT as they aren’t used to generate convertible organic traffic.
Always remember to write for the user first, not the search engine. By doing this, you commit to creating credible, accurate and trustworthy information that is displayed in a safe environment.
Please see our checklist on how to achieve this below:
You need to be an expert in your field. This means you need to show the expertise of the creator for the Main Content (MC) and mention it in your content.
Points to consider:
Can you demonstrate why you are in a position to offer advice?
What experience can show expertise for this topic?
Write in your brand’s voice, directed towards your audience
Make sure you include accurate statistics and attribute the correct sources
Make sure your content is updated and contains accurate facts
Review content so that there is a greater chance of publishing the most accurate content possible
You need to show that you are an authority, or the authoritativeness of the creator for the main content – this comes from the expertise of your writers or organisation.
Points to consider:
Why are you credible?
Can you demonstrate accolades, awards, industry recognition for the topic in question?
Credentials are important, but so are personal experiences
If you can’t demonstrate authority on the chosen subject, cite your research
Do not display business advice without a creditable source or author
Customer reviews/case studies will help demonstrate reputation, experience and authority
You need to show users they can trust the creator or company of the main content and the web site. This is especially important for websites that could directly impact a searcher’s life and/or finances.
Points to consider:
Do not keyword stuff your content
Content should be written to help users not search rankings
Your content should either help or teach your users something on a topic related to your business
Adding links to other related articles will increase trust on the chosen subject