‘Medic’ – What you Need to Know About Google’s Latest Core Update
September 11th 2018 | By Emma Grant
During the first week of August, Google rolled out its latest broad core algorithm update. It was nicknamed ‘Medic’, and it was a big one. We’ve been taking in the buzz around the Medic update and looking into what it means for SEO and content marketing. Read on as we share our findings and answer some key questions, without jargon…
Why ‘Medic’ – does it only affect medical websites?
You’d be forgiven for dismissing the update as irrelevant, unless your organisation or business has something to do with the medical industry. Don’t set it aside however, because Medic is a general core update with a global reach. In other words, any industry and any type of website could be affected, anywhere in the world. Whilst reports around the web appear to suggest there is a focus on health and medical sector sites, as well as YMYL sites (websites centred on finance, legal and major life issues – ‘Your Money or Your Life’), the fact is that a lot of sites outside of these categories have already been affected by the update.
How has the update affected websites?
Websites that demonstrate high quality content were rewarded by the Medic update. Quality content is scored on Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness, known as E-A-T factors. Let’s take a look at what that means.
For content to be considered ‘expert’, it needs to be produced by someone with the relevant credentials. Content that mentions such credentials will be rewarded.
For content to be thought of as ‘authority’, it must show that it was written by people with expertise. Expertise can come from qualifications and experience, so content that displays such information will be rewarded.
Content with the ‘trustworthy’ factor displays elements that show visitors they are in the right place, and they can rely on what they read.
What was the point of the update?
Google is and has always been dedicated to delivering quality, trustworthy content to its users. Experts are saying that the Medic update is primarily angled around Google’s ability to determine E-A-T factors for a website. It has been said that the T-factor has taken on greater importance as Google commits itself even more to the task of determining which websites are the most trustworthy when it comes to providing advice.
Think about when you’re searching for advice on something. How many forum-based websites populate the search results? But these sites are just filled with everyday people, like you, having discussions around topics that concern them. Most of the people on these forum sites are not experts in those topics. In fact, some of the ‘advice’ they churn out could even be considered dangerous.
Trusted advice is what Google wants to deliver, so forum-based websites are, experts suggest, being downgraded under the Medic update. But then so are any sites providing advice that does not come from an expert, authority and trusted source.
Another suggestion as to Google’s objective with the Medic update was to give a boost to the match between the intent of the person searching, and the results delivered. So for example, you do a search for gluten free dumplings. But do you want to make them, or find somewhere to buy them? If you want to make them, you’ll include ‘how to make’, or ‘recipe for’. Whereas if you want to buy gluten free dumplings, you’ll include ‘where to buy’ in your search. Either way, with your additional direction, Google will detect your intent and will therefore only deliver pages that match it. So if you want to buy gluten free dumplings, you won’t be served with results for recipes. Some experts are saying that the Medic update will improve this match.
So, what do we need to do?
Google has itself stated that there is no fix for the Medic update. However, it has suggested that you can improve your content and enhance user experience on your website.
Really, the best advice is to keep creating content that matches people’s search queries and search intent; that offers tangible benefits to the reader AND follows the E-A-T rules we talked about earlier. So, list the awards, experience and qualifications of your team so it is obvious they are experts in their fields; demonstrate authority by keeping your site regularly updated with quality content and display plenty of positive reviews to boost trust.
Need help creating expert, authority, trustworthy content for your website? Talk to Figment! It’s something we have proven experience in.