Google’s Big August 2018 Algorithm Update & It’s Impacts

Brendan Egan

Google’s Big August 2018 Algorithm Update & It’s Impacts

Implementing effective SEO strategies is difficult, partly due to the fact that Google frequently updates its algorithm. The rules of SEO change with every new algorithm update, which means marketers must remain on their toes and ready to adapt to whatever Google decides.
The most recent algorithm update took place in August of this year. Who was affected by the update? What kind of impact did it have? Here’s what you need to know:

Who Was Affected By the Update?

Google stated that the update was broad and routine, however it seems as though it was not as broad as the company claimed. The algorithm update was coined the “Medic Update” since it seemed to primarily target websites related to health, medicine, and wellness. It also seemed to target “Your Money or Your Life” websites, which are those that contain content related to a person’s financial or physical security. Examples of Your Money or Your Life sites include pages that are used to complete purchases, that contain advice on making financial or other major life decisions, or that solicit personal information such as bank account or credit card numbers.
Health, medical, and wellbeing websites were hit the hardest by this update, but others were affected as well. Do not assume that your website was not affected simply because it is not related to health or wellness.
Google usually does not release much information about their updates. But in this case, the company did confirm that the update was rolled out globally. This means the changes to the algorithm will affect Google search results in all languages and parts of the world.

What Changed?

It was immediately clear that many websites were affected by this update. Prevention, a well-known website that offers general health and wellness advice, saw a 53% drop in its ranking immediately after the algorithm change was rolled out. A number of other websites were also negatively affected by the change, including Minted, Very Well Health, and Pandora. However, some sites rose to the top of the search results after the change was rolled out. CarFax, for instance, experienced a 68% increase in its ranking right after the change took place.  To see how your website was affected, compare your ranking on July 31st or August 1st to your ranking on August 8th or 9th. The update was rolled out on August 1st, so this comparison will make it easy to see how your site was impacted.
It’s clear that major changes were made to the algorithm, otherwise these websites would not have experienced such massive gains and losses. But unfortunately, it’s not clear what changes took place. After the change took effect, countless companies that dropped in the search results asked Google what they could do to improve their ranking. Google failed to provide these companies with specific information. Instead, the company said that there was no fix and that marketers should focus on improving their website as they see fit in order to see better results.

Experts’ Opinions on the New Algorithm Update

Google refused to provide details on what changed with the new algorithm update, but several experts have analyzed hundreds of websites and come to several conclusions on their own.
One expert believes that the algorithm update focused on analyzing sites based on EAT, which stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trust. For example, Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines (QRG) were updated to read that Your Money and Your Life pages could receive a low rating if the creator of the website has a negative reputation. Another update redefined Your Money and Your Life websites to include all pages related to a person’s safety.
For instance, let’s say a website promotes a fad diet that was created by someone with no nutritional or medical background. Experts in the medical field believe that the diet is unhealthy and advise people not to follow it. Based on this expert’s conclusion, this website could be penalized for promoting a diet that was deemed unsafe and created by someone with a negative reputation in the community.
Experts also believe that websites that solely promote products in the health and wellness industries will not perform well as a result of this new update. These experts believe that the new algorithm favors pages that either solely offer informational content to users or offer this content in addition to selling products.
Some experts also concluded that content written by known authors ranked higher in the search results. For example, let’s say your website contains articles written by medical professionals. Make sure you include the author’s name and link back to a full bio of the author as well. Including this will provide Google with the information it needs to determine that the content is written by an expert, which means it is trustworthy and authoritative.

How to Improve Your Ranking

If your website was affected by the update, it’s important to implement new strategies that will improve your ranking as soon as possible. Based on the limited information available, marketers must carefully analyze their websites to determine their level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trust. Is the content written by people who are respected in the field? Does it advise consumers to make safe changes related to their diet, healthcare, or finances? What kind of reputation does your business have? Answering these questions can help marketers understand what changes they need to make in order to see an improvement in their ranking.
Are you ready to rise to the top of the search results? If so, contact Simple SEO Group today. Let our team of marketing professionals analyze your website’s performance and implement new strategies that will improve your ranking in Google’s search results.