Google's Medic Update began its rollout on August 1, 2018. While not specifically aimed at health care providers, many health care-related websites saw their rankings drop drastically. The update appears to have been given its name by Barry Schwartz who is the editor of Search Engine Land because of the number of medical and mental health websites that were affected. If you were one of them, then there are several things you can do to try to regain your position.
Covering the Basics First
While this update seems to have caught many medical websites off-guard, others were affected too. There is strong evidence to suggest that a part of this update was aimed at making sure that viewers' intent was met when the content was developed. Therefore, make sure that:
- Content is an appropriate length for the quarry presented. For example, if someone asked how tall was Abraham Lincoln, then the content might say “Abraham Lincoln who was the 16th president of the United States was 6 feet 4 inches tall.”
- All content is written by an expert and backed by links pointing to well-recognized medical authorities.
- There is an abundance of illustrations to help viewers understand complex ideas.
- Content is organized in a logical manner.
- All content identifies who wrote it and their credentials. Make sure that these individuals are real and can be found online in places besides your site.
- The site should include a high-quality about page.
- Your site is optimized for mobile.
- Viewers can easily distinguish between content and ads. The number of ads on the site is minimal.
- Keywords are present in the content with a special emphasis on long-tail keywords.
- The site loads quickly and smoothly.
Optimize for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness
On July 25, 2018, Google rolled out its new search rater guidelines. While the guidelines do not directly affect Google rankings, the company uses feedback from these raters to teach their machines to grade websites better. A special emphasis in the 164-page document was put on medical websites proving they were experts in their field, had the credentials to speak with authority on medical topics and were trusted by other providers. Go examine your site to determine if you are meeting the criteria by looking to see if:
- All of your listed products are considered safe to use by major medical associations.
- Your “about page” is present, crawlable and indicates your experience in your field.
- You have a large number of reputable positive reviews on the internet.
- You have linked only to reputable sources to support your opinions and information.
- You have no broken links or links pointing to sites with less than stellar reputations.
- Any articles on your site have a biography about why the person is an expert in their field. All content clearly says who wrote them.
- Where appropriate, you have prominently displayed disclaimers.
Improve Your Money or Your Life Pages
One of the theories on why medical websites took a particular hit with this update is that they deal with the life of people reading your site. Google defines these sites as affecting “future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users” in their Google Rater's Guidelines. In order to make sure that you comply with the new standards make sure that each part of your website shows:
- If you sell any products or services through your website, then make sure that you have security certificates allowing you to be an HTTPS site and not an HTTP site.
- All pages about specific medical conditions should have disclaimers, be expertly written and linked to current research.
- Any information that touches on any legal issue, such as child custody or divorce, should have disclaimers and boldly state who wrote the article and their credentials.
- All pages are current and do not contain outdated information. If you find any of these, then make sure they are tagged so that Google does not crawl them.
This article has barely scratched the surface of why your site may have dropped in rankings following the Medic Update. We would love to take a look at your website for you to see how we can work together to build a better website than ever before. Contact us today!