Did you know Google just officially confirmed they rolled out a new major (broad core) algorithm update?
Yep! Google has struck again.
But is this a good change or one that’s going to have you pulling your hair out? Well, that remains to be seen; however, as always, and in Google’s usual “figure it out yourself” fashion, they aren’t giving out much information about it other than to say:
“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.”
So what exactly is Google’s latest algorithm update? What is it called, who’s been affected, and at this point, do we know anything that will help us make the changes necessary to avoid a penalty or a drop in rankings?
What Is Google’s Latest Algorithm Change Called?
On August 1, 2018, Google implemented its most recent algorithm update which has been dubbed the “medical update or medic update” because, at first glance, the Health and Medical categories appear to be the ones that have seen the biggest impact. However, Google is calling this update a “broad, global, core update.”
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Google isn’t confirming this update is directed at health and medical sites. Additionally, as we mentioned above, Google is saying there’s nothing you can do to “fix” your websites other than placing your focus on providing a great user experience, offer better content, and content that is more useful to their users.
Who Was Most Impacted by This Latest Algorithm Update?
First off, you might consider checking with your SEO agency for more information about this update. However, based on the data and surveys from SEO agencies and consultants from around the web, this update affects websites that deal with sensitive topics. The most obvious impacts were “Your Money Your Life” websites (a Google reference) such as health and finance websites, with other similarly based websites and their related topics being affected as well. Moz.com has some interesting statistics and graphs they have compiled that are eye-opening, to say the least.
What Changes Need to Be Made to Avoid a Google Penalty or a Drop in Rankings?
Well, again, according to Google, back in March when they started their first of the year algorithm updates, they stated the following:
“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.”
And this is what they are saying again for this latest round of updates.
As you know, those types of Google statements aren’t going to stop your SEO agency from doing everything in their power to sort things out in an effort to help your website avoid a penalty or a drop in rankings if at all possible.
So what’s next?
Well, according to Search Engine Journal, the first thing you need to do is wait. Why? Because almost all Google algorithm updates are followed up with a correction, or what Google calls a refresh, due to false positives or updates that were overly broad. This is done to reduce the number of false positives.
OK, that’s great, but what else should I be doing?
This algorithm is all about Google evaluating relevance and quality at the site level; therefore, you should be looking at the following:
- First, wait until after the refresh to see if your site/pages regain their rankings.
- Study all bad search results to try and spot trends and why Google might view the highest ranked sites as more relevant.
- Check all your content for quality.
- Re-test every facet of the user experience (UX).
- Look for anything that might be seen as advertising that’s too aggressive, is disruptive, potentially deceptive, affiliate issues, or perhaps some technical or SEO problems that could be affecting your rankings.
- Does your site use pop-ups, autoplay video ads, or are there huge ads that push your content further down the page? These all create a bad user experience.
- Does your site have any empty indexed pages or empty index pages with only ads on them?
- Does your site contain too many affiliate links or affiliate links with no affiliate disclosure?
- Look at your entire website, not just a few pages, because Google takes every indexed page into account when evaluating your site.
The Bottom Line
On August 1, 2018, Google implemented one of their biggest algorithm updates in quite a while. Some really high authority websites were affected which leaves us all scratching our heads as to how we should proceed. But, in all fairness, Google is just trying to make sure their users are receiving the best possible experience while getting the most relevant (and factual) information to them as possible. Especially when it comes to YMYL websites because they are so vital to their users’ happiness, health, finances, and safety.
That’s why it’s so important that you follow the E-A-T strategies, which Google says are among the top three considerations for page quality. E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trust when it comes to website reputation and author reputation as well.
Now’s the time to perform a thorough audit of your website and all its pages, re-read the Quality Rater Guidelines, identify all problems and barriers, and fix or remove them.
Yes, this is going to be a lot of tedious work, but your rankings depend on it. If you don’t have the time or expertise to follow through with this task, why not contact your SEO agency for assistance. An SEO agency will have a team of experts who can quickly and effectively handle all of this for you.