During the first week of August 2018, many bloggers and other website owners were dismayed to discover that they had received a 20% – 75% reduction in traffic due to decreased visibility in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages. In short, they had lost their rankings.
Searching for answers, many people, myself included, wrote about the change as the events unfolded.
Fast forward to August 20, 2018, and I am armed with lots of data, and it is juicy data too.
To see ALL of my findings on the latest update, be sure to see my article about the August 2018 Google Broad Core Algorithm Update.
Types of medical sites impacted:
So far, I have seen many sites negatively (or positively) impacted, including, but not limited to the sites on this list below. Please note, you could have a website about sports with a “sports medicine” section. These updates impact websites site-wide. If Google has a problem with a significant portion of your site, the entire site can suffer. Here are some types of sites affected by the Google Medic Update:
- Drug Rehabilitation Companies
- Sites with Drug Information
- Mental Health Websites
- Alternate Medicine Sites
- Websites Covering Diseases
- Natural Health Remedies
- Websites Contradicting Scientific Consensus
- Nutrition Websites
Medical Sites are YMYL Sites
YMYL is an acronym for “Your Money or Your Life”. In Google’s own words, YMYL pages are pages which “could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users.”
Google specifically lists YMYL medical information pages as “webpages that provide advice or information about health, drugs, specific diseases or conditions, mental health, nutrition, etc.”
Why Did I Lose My Traffic?
In my article about the August 2018 Google Broad Core Algorithm Update, I discuss how Google could be measuring the authority of medical related websites. For major websites discussing withdrawal symptoms, to correlation was clear and sites were negatively impacted which were missing high authority links.
Other sites lost traffic for intrusive ads or content problems and were swept up for quality issues.
In most cases, people who understand human health aren’t all that familiar with website health, which is why I wrote the article.
E-A-T is a factor, however, it isn’t necessarily THE factor. For example, if Google is using backlinks to measure authority, you could be missing backlinks if your content wasn’t authored by a Doctor. Just being a Doctor won’t make a website rank higher, otherwise anyone could just say their content was by Dr. Smith or Dr. Gupta.
The Medic Update wasn’t just medical sites
Even though some have named the update, the update was simply a “Broad Core” update. This is also explained in the above referenced article.
While the vast majority of sites impacted were indeed medical related sites, there were also a lot of eCommerce, tech and Finance websites hit, too. In fact, I’ve even seen coupon sites whacked.
Recovering and Getting Traffic Back.
Webmasters seeking to recover from this algorithm have a long road ahead of them. In my other article, be sure to read about sites positively impacted, moving forward, how to have me check out your Google Analytics, or contact me for a site audit.