Medic update for SEO

In Summary – The August Medic update and what it means for your SEO

In SEO by Ryan Freeman

Too big to ignore, Google’s latest algorithm update on 1st August is causing ripples in the marketing world, with some brands already experiencing negative effects. However, it seems only a selection of brands are likely to suffer these “ill” effects as the update appears to be focused on advice and health-related sites that are dishing out content that may influence more vulnerable readers to make important life decisions. As such, the algorithm has been nicknamed the “Medic” update because it’s seemingly targeting “Dr. Google” type sites or those that are trying to persuade shoppers there’s something terribly wrong with them so they feel compelled to buy a particular remedy (such as a financial advisory service, magic potion, magazine subscription…).

Instead, the algorithm appears to favour advice type content from more reputable sources. For example, blog posts about how to choose your dream career from a free-to-use site very focused on good quality content about jobs (like Glassdoor) will no doubt rise to the top, even if the content is not too dissimilar from that on a lesser recognized site. What Google is valuing here is the overall brand reputation.

Your post-Medic SEO to-do list

If you are breathing a sigh of relief because you’re not that kind of website, don’t rest on your laurels just yet. If you have a blog, your individual post content could slip down the ranks, at worse, taking your homepage with it in time. You can carry out some basic damage limitation on your website by carrying out an audit of your sitemap. Have a look at any pages that might be seen to be offering persuasive advice on life-altering decisions – money, health, dieting, parenting, education, personal development, relocation…. Check your titles aren’t too biased or direct such as “5 things all first-time-buyers must do to get on the property ladder” and have a good read through the content to check the tone.

Consider whether your content all ties in to the main theme and keywords of your site and your product or service. Have you written advice style posts just to add colour to your content calendar? Have you written about tenuously linked topics just to get some long tail quick-win keywords in? Are these topics really relevant to areas that your brand has authority in? For example, should a Divorce Lawyer really be dishing out parenting advice?

Non-health and advice related sites being affected by Medic

A lot of eCommerce sites have been penalized already because their blog posts are hard to justify in most cases. A shop should be an authority about shopping and its key product lines. But many eCommerce stores have packed their blogs full of content just because – like the jeweller dishing out advice for Mothers Day or how to have a happy family Christmas.

Surprisingly, super-popular sites like Buzzfeed have been hit hard with ranking drops too. Perhaps Buzzfeed just doesn’t have a clear enough niche for Google to value it so much anymore. Never mind the number of hits, user-generated content, social signals, average time on site and other SEO gold stars Buzzfeed has… on Twitter Google has invited the SEO world to offer feedback on the latest update and provide examples of where it’s hurt user experience. Needless to say, there has been an abundance of complaints about why some “poor quality” content is now ranking above favourite sites.

What next?

If you’re concerned about losing your rankings to the Medic update, contact our team today for a no-obligation conversation. We’re happy to offer a little insight and can offer you suggestions for ways we can work together to protect your traffic flow.