On August 1, Google rolled out the Medic Update which shook up many websites particularly in the health industry. Suddenly financial, legal and healthcare-related sites saw their organic traffic dropping by upwards of 50% without any announcements from Google or clear reason their numbers were falling.
If you run a healthcare-related site such as a medical advice column or a website offering healthcare-related services, we’ll detail some small yet powerful changes you can make to your onpage SEO that will help you find yourself in the good graces of Google’s newest algorithm update.
EXPERTISE, AUTHORITY, TRUSTWORTHINESS (E-A-T)
Google’s goal is to deliver the most relevant content to its searchers. They believe that sources with higher expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-A-T) are most relevant to users, and thus they aim to serve this content before lower E-A-T sources.
The latest update penalized low E-A-T sites mainly in the healthcare and Your Money Your Life (YMYL) sectors. Included in YMYL sites are financial, legal and medical sites, amongst other important fields. Google reasons these sites have significant potential to negatively affect Google users if they contain faulty information. Thus, the Medic Update was about getting rid of low-value sites in SERPS and replacing them with authoritative, expert and trustworthy results.
SIX WAYS TO RANK WELL AFTER THE MEDIC UPDATE
Let’s see how you can optimize a healthcare site, to better conform to the Medic Update’s standards.
Before the Medic Update writers with zero expertise in the appropriate fields were doling out medical and financial advice (sometimes both), and sites that facilitated this were penalized for it. Google is serious about ensuring the author of a medical blog post is an expert in that field and delivering users accurate advice.
This means if you’re a neuroscientist writing about the neurological effects of drug withdrawals, great news! Google wants to hear what you have to say and will likely rank your blog on the issue high up in the SERPs.
BUT. You must include your name, credentials and a short bio with relevant experiences in the piece. Perhaps even link to previous work on similar subjects in your bio. Anything you can do to gain a little more traction and establish yourself as an authority in the field is a good thing in Google’s eyes.
2. Capitalize On Your Expertise When It Comes To Blog Posts
Some of you may have read #1 thought, “Wow; my field of expertise is limited so now my topics will be limited too”. Instead, view this is an opportunity to get creative with your posts and reach audiences you may not have reached before. Approach your field of expertise from different angles, “How Millennials respond to XYZ”, “How you can help your grandparents understand XYZ”, “What XYZ is doing to these socioeconomic classes”.
It may take more time, and you may have to get creative with your blog posts. But Google’s Medic Update ensures it will recognize your expertise and rank your content higher as a result.
3. Organization Transparency & Customer Service
Google wants to see companies that are there for their customers. That means clear contact information and fast response times. If customers have to search high and low for company contact info, Google interprets that as a lack of customer support. Couple this with a several-day waiting period for inquiry responses and you have, in Google’s eyes, a bad customer service reputation.
Check out Willow Springs Recovery website as an example of clear and transparent contact info. The “Contact Us” in the main menu, a phone number further down the page and an address in the bottom left side of the site footer.
As long as their response time for inquiries is efficient, they’ll score a higher E-A-T rating from Google for transparency and customer service.
4. Get Rid Of Low E-A-T Content
This is where you’ll need to sift through your Analytics and see which pieces are performing well and which aren’t. You likely have some blog pieces that are performing quite poorly, and chances are they’re not written by experts in the field.
If that’s the case, it may be time to remove that content. Having several pages with low page authority can chip away at your site’s domain authority, which will poorly impact your E-A-T score.
5. Emphasize Trust
Pushy content with click bait titles signals to Google that you’re trying to either sell advertising or push a product on users. Instead of going for cheap clicks, emphasize user trust in your product or expertise.
There is a big difference between “Buy One Before The Deal Runs Out And Get Two Free!” and “Customer Service You Can Trust With 100% Money Back Guarantee”. Which one sounds like they’re trying to pawn something off on you and which one sounds like a company trying to establish a trust-based relationship with a customer? Google will reward trustworthy companies in this case.
6. Establish Your Online Reputation
Searchers often engage with several platforms to find what they’re looking for, and the more platforms you’re on, the more authoritative you become. This means finding relevant topic boards like Quora and establishing yourself as an industry thought-leader and using your field expertise to answer user questions (in a way that isn’t blatant advertising for your brand).
Your online reputation also includes third-party ratings and organization affiliations. Implement the Schema for star ratings on your site and highlight relevant organization partnerships with certified badges (BBB, Certified Fair Trade, etc) that further bolster your legitimacy.
OPTIMIZING FOR GOOGLE MEDIC
The overarching theme of the Medic Update is E-A-T. If you want to dive deeper into optimization ideas you can always check out Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines which is essentially the human-readable version of Google’s Algorithm.
So seek out experts in the field for guest posts, do your due diligence when it comes to research and above all, create quality content that provides the optimal user experience.