A few days after the big Google algorithm update, nicknamed the Medic Update, here is what we know about it so far.

The Google search algorithm update from August 1 is now fully rolled out, and here is what we know about the update, who we think was impacted and some of the analysis of what, if any, actions you may want to consider taking if you were negatively impacted.

In summary, Google is calling this a broad, global, core update, but based on much of the analysis done thus far, there seems to be a focus on health and medical sites and YMYL (Your Money Your Life) sites. But many sites besides those were impacted by the update.

Google is telling us that there is nothing you can do to fix your site, so you should just focus on making a great experience, offer better content and a more useful website. This update has taken on the name the Medic Update because of its focus on the medical and health space. This specific focus is something Google will not confirm.

What we know from Google

Google has said that this update was a “broad core algorithm update” and that it does these updates “several times per year.”

Google references its advice from the previous core updates, saying 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 also said, “As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.”

Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan also confirmed this is a “global” rollout and impacts all Google search results, no matter what language or region.

Google would not tell us how much of the search results were impacted by this update, as Google has done in the past with Panda, Penguin and others.

Who was impacted by this update

Google said this is a “global” update, which implies every niche and every type of site could have been impacted. But based on the data that we’ve been seeing from surveys, multiple data companies and our SEO consultants, there seems to be a focus on medical and health niches, as well as “Your Money Your Life” type of sites, also creeping into the entertainment and gaming niches as well.

What is YMYL? “Your Money or Your Life” pages are those focused on money and life events. The Google raters’ guideline defined them as:

  • Pages that solicit personal information, such as personal identification numbers, bank account numbers, drivers license numbers, etc., which could be used for identity theft.
  • Pages used for monetary transactions, on which users might give their credit account or bank account information; for example, any page that allows you to buy something.
  • Pages that offer medical or health information that could impact your physical well-being.
  • Pages offering advice on major life decisions, such as pages on parenting, purchasing a home, a vehicle and so on.
  • Pages offering advice on major life issues that could impact your future happiness and finances, such as pages giving legal or financial advice.

Data companies are saying they’ve seen the majority of changes can be seen for YMYL-sites and even there they generally only see an uplift or loss of a few percentage points. Mostly health and finance pages have been affected by this update, but  also eCommerce, educational as well as dubious automotive websites got their share of movement.

What can you do?

So, now that we know what Google said and what the data is showing, what can you do? That is the biggest question for those who were negatively impacted.

As we said above, Google said there is nothing you can do. There is no fix. That is not so helpful, is it? But Google has been suggesting that you can continue to work on improving your website, make better content, make a better overall user experience and ultimately, the next update may lead to your site ranking better.

The core algorithm update that rolled out on August 1, 2018 was massive and many sites across the web were impacted. Although there were a lot of health sites impacted, many others in non-YMYL categories were affected as well. If you have been negatively impacted by the 8/1 update, then it’s important to objectively analyze your site to find ways to improve. And remember, there’s never one smoking gun. There’s usually a battery of them. So go find them now.

In summary

Google did a massive algorithm update impacting the search results and affecting many webmasters, site owners and SEOs on August 1. It seems to have had a larger impact in the health and medical space, also on YMYL types of sites. The advice overall has been to make your site, content and user experience better overall and keep working at small changes that can have a big impact on your rankings.

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