In August 1st of 2018, Google’s Medic update swept through search results. It served a heavy blow to many unprepared for this broad core algorithm update.
Health sites were a notable target that tended to be hit harder, hence the ‘Medic Update’ moniker. In the aftermath of basically being google rolled, every digital marketer has been doing overtime to put up quality content.
This is to stabilize their individual SEO plans and keep themselves going on the race to first result in the search engines.
But how to recover from Google updates like this? Whether August 2018 dealt you and your company a bad hand, as it most affected sites like ones for dieting, nutrition, and medical devices, it still helps to have some idea of how to handle damage control.
And the vague statement from technologist and general SEO figurehead Danny Sullivan stating, “Just create great content (Haynes)” on Twitter is not helpful. The following isn’t a step-by-step procedure to follow, just tips. Try everything, check off things as you go….
Check for the Weak Point(s)
Making quality content is an excellent start, however. Following every quality rater guideline that stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trust will help you in the long run, but it’s a fair no-brainer that content makes or breaks a page, and no doubt you and your company have been working on little more than determination and caffeine to ensure this.
Consider: it may not be your content. Your content can be high quality but the update hit affected ratings, even for websites that were doing really well beforehand. Things like a few unscrupulous reviews, Google deciding your site/page isn’t relevant enough, or not having enough traffic due to a high volume of low-quality content can take you down a few results.
If it’s your profile, it could be the links since we know landing pages are key to SEO. But Google search has begun to crack down on links that look like they were purchased or passed ‘under the table’ to get a better ranking for whatever website they got attached to.
If the websites you get the links from are of low authority (remember the quality rater guidelines) or full of spam, use the Google Disavow tool to let it be known you aren’t connected to those links.
If it’s credibility and legitimacy of the site, particularly regarding who owns it, then ensure the ‘About Us’ page is detailed and that the contact information is on every page. On content like blog posts and articles, perhaps a short bio of the creator with the education or credentials that showcase expertise and authority on the matter.
Marie Haynes brought up an important note in regards to what Google will consider spam. On her Twitter, she posts:
“From the latest hangout, if you are using G translate for parts of your content, be sure that you don’t show that content to search engines.
My note: Google often treats auto-translated as auto-generated and can consider it spam.”
Add and Update
Add to the quality, not quantity, of your content. It is tempting to put out a large article twice a week or however your traditional schedule does, but all that stuffing will be seen as the fluff it is, especially if it’s about topics covered by too many other sources on the internet.
Make your content detailed, specific, elaborate, using real experiences by your very real colleagues as a frame for finding what you can create content on.
Look into past content and update it all, even if just adding or replacing another paragraph. This keeps the article or blog post or whatever form of content relevant to the user experience.
Treat adding and updating like a college essay. Do the research and make sure the sources cited are excellent, as well as using pictures, videos, infographics, statistics, anything that will be a good indicator of successful content.
Keywords are important, so either get a pen and paper or open a new note or document and jot down keywords. There’s something generally and widely beneficial about simply getting words down in physical form.
A note: Google has relaxed on the ‘exact match’ when screening keywords, due in part to many keyword and keyword phrases being ungrammatical. Please grammatically correct anything for your SEO strategy, but especially keywords.
Merging your content pieces is one way to avoid duplicates, something you really want to avoid in SEO, and it will increase the word count, particularly when you merge that data with a more popular piece.
Several landing pages targeting the same keyword has been an issue in the Medic update aftermath, and duplicate results not only annoy Google into knocking you down deep into the last pages of search results, but it also provides competition against yourself.
Avoid the infighting and the Google algorithm hiding your content by running your content and keywords through an advanced search operator. Locate what you need, then merge everything together, trimming and replacing wherever needed.
Put Up Some Lights
By this, I mean to make yourself seen. Make your website seen by many. Visibility, visibility, visibility. How to increase this, since doing so will bump you up in the results page?
The most prominently known tool is the Google Search Console, known in the past as Google Webmaster Tools. It’s free and for webmasters and website maintenance, used to aid in being seen and checking one’s site in the digital index.
Recovery is always a slow and unpleasant process, filled with frustration, crumpled papers (literally or metaphorically), and an extra heap of hard work. But ensuring that your ratings stabilize and that your company is working for your benefit, all in the chaotic crazy aftermath of an updated named ‘Medic’, is worth the headache. And that sweet, sweet digital traffic.