As the most popular search engine in the world, Google is constantly evolving. In order to make sure that Google’s front page is consistently filled with relevant, interesting, and useful information, the company will periodically update the algorithms it uses when producing search results.
Recently, Google unleashed one of its biggest algorithm updates to date. The company’s 2018 “medic update” sought to improve the search engine’s performance, but also created a wide range of problems for companies with already existing medical pages.
Without an adequate search engine optimization strategy (SEO), your medical business will underperform. Practices that fail to make it to the front page of Google are typically overlooked and will have trouble keeping up with their competitors. Because SEO is so fundamentally important, Google’s latest medic update is something that all practices will need to take seriously.
In this article, we’ll discuss the most important things you need to know about Google’s latest medic update. By responding to these sudden—albeit, slightly annoying—changes, your medical practice can remain competitive and at the forefront of your industry.
What is Google’s latest medic update?
Google releases multiple algorithm updates per year. Some of the updates are small and only affect a few sites while others completely overhaul the way Google ranks content. The algorithm update that is often referred to as the “medic update” occurred in August 2018. The formal name for this update, according to Google, is the E-A-T Update.
The E-A-T Update marked a major change for Google. Google decided that, ideally, all content will adhere to the E-A-T model:
- Expertise: does the content have an accurate and professional grasp of the content matter at hand?
- Authoritativeness: is the source a recognized source of authority? Does the core source have credibility within their industry?
- Trustworthiness: does the source seem trustworthy, honest, and straightforward?
While these three objectives are somewhat similar, they’re still distinct. For example, a “layperson” could be somewhat of an expert when it comes to discussing medical topics. However, in order for the source to be authoritative, it would need to quote, be written by, or heavily linked to qualified medical sources.
What is YMYL? How does it affect medical practices?
One of the core components of Google’s recent updates (really, all updates between 2016 and 2019) has been an increased focus on YMYL content. YMYL is an acronym that stands for “Your Money, Your Life.” In essence, Google believes that if the content at hand directly affects your money or your life, the need for adhering to E-A-T standards will be even more important.
There are multiple different types of content that can be considered YMYL content. However, the industries that have been affected the most by these updates have been the medical and financial industries.
f medical content does not have a strong degree of expertise, quotes or appeals to authoritative sources, or a high level of trustworthiness, it will simply not rank well. Even if the content that may have been written by a doctor, it will not be credited for doing so unless that level of expertise is clear.
Which medical practices does Google’s latest update affect?
Because medical content so clearly falls within the YMYL umbrella, essentially all medical practices will be affected by the recent series of updates. Even well-established, massive medical sources have been affected by the increased emphasis on E-A-T. For example, while the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Mayo Clinic have climbed up the content ladder, MedicineNet and Medline Plus have fallen back.
As long as content contains medical information—which can be as simple as defining a disease—it will need to adhere to E-A-T. Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do to push your content towards the top.
How can my medical practice recover from the Medic Update?
If your medical practice witnessed its content fall from the first to the third page of Google, you have probably noticed the impact it has had on your bottom line. Considering that an incredible 80 percent of internet users (93 million people) use Google to get medical advice or information, the need for competing in the digital space cannot be overstated.
In order to improve your Google rankings, consider the following actions:
- Add Authoritative Links: within every blog, article, or other content you post, you should incorporate several links to authoritative sites. This will help increase the credibility of the site and also make it more visible to readers.
- Improve Readability: while you can still use medical jargon within your content, the content still needs to be readable. Short paragraphs, simple sentences, and using an active voice will make your content much easier to read.
- Enrich the Content: adding things such as graphs, numbers, charts, and pictures will add value to your content and improve its overall E-A-T appeal.
- Improve your Web Presence: when content beyond the site is linked back to your site, Google considers you a much higher source of authority. Additionally, having a large number of high-quality reviews will cause Google to take your content more seriously.
- Optimize Keyword Use: by using frequently searched keywords and directly answering people’s questions, your content will be deemed much more relevant and will appear with more searches.
While it can take some time to rise to the top, each of these actions will help you begin moving in a positive direction. Additionally, with the right medical digital marketing company by your side, you can begin to see results much sooner. Ultimately, all of these actions will make it much easier for your business to pursue its long-term objectives.
How can I prepare myself for future medical SEO updates?
As suggested, Google releases algorithm updates on a somewhat regular basis. While the company has been releasing updates roughly twice per year, its schedule has been somewhat unpredictable.
There is simply no other way around it. To ensure that your content not only performs well in the status quo but also performs well in the future, you will need to develop an active digital marketing strategy. By adhering to the E-A-T formula, continuing to create new content, and creating content people will actually want to read, you can improve your web presence and enhance your bottom line.