Did you know Google came out with yet another core update in August 2018?
It happened during the first week of the final month of summer.
As you can surmise from the name, SEOers (especially Barry Schwartz of SEO Roundtable) believe this update mainly affected content in the health, medical, and wellness industries.
That said, sites in other industries took a rankings hit, too.
That makes sense because Google’s core updates are global (meaning they affect all pages across the internet, no matter the industry affiliation).
So, what could the Google Medic update possibly mean for your website, content, and rankings?
Does it mean anything at all? 🤔
Let’s find out.#Google rolled out the Medic Update in August 2018. @JuliaEMcCoy gives us the lowdown on this core update and what it means for marketers. #SEO Click To Tweet
How Does the Google Medic Update Affect Marketers?
Google officially announced the Medic update via Twitter on August 2nd:
This week we released a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. Our guidance about such updates remains the same as in March, as we covered here: https://t.co/uPlEdSLHoX
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) August 1, 2018
The main key to remember here is this was a “broad core algorithm update,” as Google terms it.
According to Google, that means:
- It’s routine – they do these types of updates several times per year.
- It affects websites and web pages internet-wide.
Most importantly, though:
- Google says sites and pages that take a ranking hit because of updates like these have nothing wrong with them!
How do I know?
Because in the above tweet announcing the Medic update, they reference the March 12, 2018 guidelines. These specifically state that: “There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well.”
In other words, if you saw a rankings shuffle because of this update, it’s not because you’re doing anything wrong. Instead, it’s because other pages better than your content in the first place are now being ranked correctly.
So, now that you understand it’s not you, it’s them…
What should you do about it?
What to Do Now: 5 Ways to Continue to Rank Well in Google Search
There’s no question about what to do now.
Google already laid it out for us.
We understand those who do less well after a core update change may still feel they need to do something. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward….
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 11, 2018
So, how do you offer “the best content you can”?
1. Play by the Rules
According to Google, there was/is no “fix” if your site rankings dropped because of this update (or any other “broad core algorithm update”).
Instead, they continually advise marketers and SEOers to keep focusing on great content.
There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) March 12, 2018
Of course, to create great content, you must continue to play by Google’s rules.
What is “great content” as Google sees it?
That’s the question you must continually ask yourself. And then, you must fulfill it.
Hint: The Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines give us a good idea of what the search engine looks for in great content. These guidelines recently got an update of their own – check out our analysis where we cover the most important points.
2. Win Your Readers’ and Customers’ Trust
Another facet of great content:
It effortlessly wins your readers’ and customers’ trust.
It does this a few ways:
- Great content provides concrete examples of your E.A.T. (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)
- Great content seeks to help, entertain, inform, or guide the reader FIRST
- Great content is factually accurate, and claims are backed with proof
- Great content benefits the reader
What all this means is if you focus on producing great content, you will naturally win your audience’s trust as a byproduct. You won’t have to bend over backwards to do it, either.
3. Avoid Bad UX
If your website and its pages make users want to tear out their eyeballs, or if your site is so cluttered with intrusive ads it’s hard to use, the quality of your content won’t matter.
A bad UX (user experience) makes the presence of great content a moot point. It might as well not exist if it’s hard to read, confusing to navigate, or inaccessible.Google rolled out another update in August 2018: the Medic update. Does it mean anything at all for your website? Let's find out in this new blog post by @JuliaEMcCoy. Click To Tweet
4. Don’t Take Shortcuts
If you believe you can game Google and get away with it, you’re reading the wrong blog.
Instead of helping your rankings, SEO shortcuts are the quickest route to getting dumped onto page 5.
This is what Moz has to say about SEO tricks:
“The problem with SEO tricks is that they’re about getting a site to the top of the SERPs regardless of whether it deserves to be there. That’s the kind of trick that search engines have a vested interest in continuing to combat, which leads to algorithmic updates like Penguin.
Over-reliance on SEO tricks is what causes your rankings and traffic to be completely wiped out overnight by these updates.
Without a foundation of quality SEO in place, you’re going to spend a lot of your time fixing stuff and doing stuff over every time the search engines catch on to your latest trick.”
Shortcuts are the reason many sites’ rankings get knocked down overnight.
Even if they appear to work at the outset, they WILL come back to bite you. You can count on that the next time Google rolls out a broad, global update.
Just say no.
5. Create the Right Kinds of Content
In a recent marketing email from Brian Dean, he revealed that he always smiles when he sees Google announce an update.
Why a smile and not a cringe?
As he says, “My traffic almost always goes UP after Google rolls out an update. And this update was no exception. My organic traffic is up 25.2% compared to pre-Medic.”
He goes on to explain that there’s a better way to do SEO that works both short-term and long-term, a way that makes those updates your friends instead of your enemies. In particular, Brian emphasizes creating the right types of content.
How do you do that?
- Start with a content strategy. I go over how to set one up quickly and easily in this post on Search Engine Journal. I also teach a comprehensive Content Strategy & Marketing Course!
- Know your audience. If you’re not talking to the people who could easily become your followers, customers, and loyal fans, your content will never work.
- Know your expertise. What makes you an industry expert? What knowledge do you have to share? Lean on that for your content topic area.
- Know your content differentiation factor. What will make your content stand out in your industry? How can you help your audience better than anyone else to solve a unique problem?
- Use the right keywords. These spring from your unique topic area and expertise, but they also map to your buyers and the information they’re searching for to solve their problems.
As you can see, the right types of content are not the same for everyone. Each brand out there has a different audience to please, and each audience has their own set of problems.
Before you can create the right content for YOUR audience, you need to do the upfront legwork and research, first.
However, if you can create the right content, you will more easily create great content. Win-win.You can bet your bottom dollar that Google will roll out algorithmic updates. The way forward is not tricking Google into thinking you're #1: rather, focusing on being #1 for your readers. #SEO #contentmarketing Click To Tweet
Moving Forward After Google’s Latest Algorithm Update
You can bet your bottom dollar that algorithmic updates will continue to roll out over time. It is the nature of the Google beast.
Instead of trying to trick Google into thinking you’re #1, focus on being #1 for your readers.Instead of trying to trick Google into thinking you’re #1, focus on being #1 for your readers. @JuliaEMcCoy on the #Google Medic update #SEO Click To Tweet
Benefit them. Earn their trust. Be useful. Produce great content for them.
This is how you roll with the punches of Google’s various updates. That way, when the next one comes around, you’ll actually gain rather than lose.