The latest Google Update; referred to as the Medic update, E-A-T or YMYL, has seen significant changes to a few select sectors online, these including; health, E-commerce and business and smaller changes to smaller sectors including; finance, travel and technology and many others. Off the back of this, we have seen big ranking changes impacting health websites the most, in both organic and local search results.  

This year has seen a number of confirmed and unconfirmed updates from Google, however, none have been as far reaching as the latest one, especially for those in the health sector. The (main) theory is that this update has strongly affected Your Money Your Life pages (YMYL): These are pages in websites that Google consider to have an impact on a person’s life, income, or happiness. Additionally, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (E-A-T); Google’s metric for ranking high-quality pages, has also been implicated.

Why are health sector pages YMYL and E-A-T?

Sites with content on diet, nutrition and medical niches contain content which Google believes can have an effect on a reader. So offering information on specific disease or conditions, nutritional value and anything pertaining to expertise are considered (by Google) as high-level medical content and something which has to be written by an accredited doctor to be considered ‘expert’ or ‘authoritative’. Additionally so, if your offering information on these topics, as Google requires them to be ‘high-quality’ to pass their E-A-T. This is emphasised particularly in the health sector, where they (ideally) have to be written by an accredited expert like YMYL pages do.

What does Google consider as characteristics of a High-Quality Page:

What implications does this have on websites?

Ranking drops which have been reported post update (such as this example), mean that the content on the page does not pass the Google E-A-T and YMLY standards, and has therefore caused the pages to drop (for specific or all related keywords). A quality review would indicate gaps in content, this being whether that’s high-quality content or internal linking to ensure the quality of their search results. So if your site does not fare well in this ‘housekeeping,’ it means you may need to review it. Google themselves have advised with the previous update back in March, that you shouldn’t do nothing, but it’s also not time to start re-writing your content pages, instead look forward rather than rewriting the past – growing the page and making it more “current”.

Next steps

It’s time focus on new quality content, so refer back to their E-A-T and YMLY pages. Remember, your content should be unique, not something that is already visible in Google’s search results and not what your competitors have written about. Finding gaps in information when looking at keyword analysis (what content comes up for specific terms), can provide new avenues for content creation and user feedback. A good place to start is by looking at common questions asked in Google which have very limited search results, can you answer them? It’s also important that the new content you are creating is promoted via channels like social media and email marketing, so your audience can see it, share it and lure people to your website.

This update, although initially frustrating for websites which have seen a drop, offers an exciting opportunity to create new content, which not only improves the website but also aims to draw new users to your website, providing them with something they can’t get anywhere else.

Also, don’t forget to keep track of Important Google Updates with our Calendar.

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