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What is Google Medic?
The Google Medic update was a Google algorithm update in late 2018. While the update affected numerous industries, most of the webpages that were affected were Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) pages.
WHAT ARE YMYL WEBSITES?
Pages that can potentially impact the future health, happiness, or wealth of users are classified as “Your Money, Your Life” pages and therefore undergo a higher level of scrutiny from Google search crawlers. The following are considered YMYL pages:
- Shopping or financial transaction pages
- Financial information pages
- Medical information pages
- Legal information pages
- News articles or public/official information pages important for having an informed citizenry
The Google Medic Update: What Happened
SEO industry influencer Barry Schwartz dubbed the algorithm update “Google Medic,” because over 42 percent of the sites affected were in the medical, health, fitness, or healthy lifestyle space:
Why Were These Websites Affected?
The Medic update’s purpose was to emphasize and improve the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) of pages that have the power to affect a person’s well-being and happiness. Google punished pages it perceived to have a no or low E-A-T and rewarded website that had a high E-A-T.
WHAT IS E-A-T AND HOW DO I INFLUENCE IT?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, and is an indicator of the content quality on a page. Here is what Google categorizes as content that has a high E-A-T:
- High E-A-T medical advice should be written or produced by people or organizations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation.
- High E-A-T news articles should be produced with journalistic professionalism that helps users achieve a better understanding of events.
- High E-A-T information pages on scientific topics should be produced by scientific experts and represent a well-established scientific consensus on issues
- High E-A-T financial advice, legal advice, tax advice, etc., should come from trustworthy sources and be maintained and updated regularly
- High E-A-T advice pages on topics such as home remodeling should also come from “expert” or experienced sources that users can trust
- High E-A-T pages on hobbies, such as photography or learning to play guitar, also require expertise
How to Fix It if Your Website Was Affected by Google Medic
The only real solution is to clean up your content and improve your E-A-T. You can do that by following Google’s Search Quality Guidelines:
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines
- Don’t deceive your users
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field
Avoid the following techniques:
- Automatically generated content
- Participating in link schemes
- Creating pages with little or no original content
- Sneaky redirects
- Hidden text or links
- Doorway pages
- Scraped content
- Participating in affiliate programs without adding sufficient value
- Loading pages with irrelevant keywords
- Creating pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware
- Abusing rich snippets markup
- Sending automated queries to Google
Follow good practices like these:
- Monitoring your site for hacking and removing hacked content as soon as it appears
- Preventing and removing user-generated spam on your site
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