August 2018 was a month that saw several Health and Wellness websites struggling to come to terms with the huge loss in traffic and revenue. After Google rolled out the infamous Google Medic Updates, the “Google Dance” ended with Health and Wellness websites waking up to see a massive drop in rankings of their money keywords.
To better understand the effects of the Google medic update, we did an in-depth analysis of websites that were affected. All the data put together corroborated to finding that websites that were hit by the Google medic update lacked Google’s quality signals aka E-A-T.
How to make google eat the page?
It was the 164-page Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines that first introduced the term E-A-T (Expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness). The document primarily focuses on calculating the quality of websites.
Before the formal introduction of this document, there was much discussion on SEO forums about Google’s highly sophisticated metrics for ranking websites. Many even claimed cracking Google’s quality metrics.
Putting an end to the clamor, Google introduced its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines in November 2015. This convinced SEOs across the world that the search engine giant had bigger plans for the future.
Earlier, there were reports that Google has hired human evaluators to enhance the Google search quality. It’s now believed that this core team worked on the draft that was later released as Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
Google defines E-A-T as the acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Our analysis found that Google’s Medic Algorithm 2018 pulled down websites with low E-A-T quality and gave a gentle push in the rankings of the ones that followed it.
Websites that were hit by the Google Medic update are the ones that offered no assistance, gave incomplete or uncertain information or these sites provided misleading information that can harm the readers.
This doesn’t mean all the sites hit by the Google Medic Update lack quality content. For example, the update has affected pages with high-quality content, and the ones that provide valuable information to the users. If you think that your website was hit by the Google Algorithm update in spite of publishing high-quality content, here is a list of E-A-T quality signals. By ensuring your website has these quality-signals, you can recover from the current Google Algorithm update and safeguard your site from future algorithm updates.
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If you were not hit by the Google Algorithm update, these E-A-T quality signals can still help you improve the current website rankings:
Google Quality Guidelines clearly indicate that it has to know who is providing the information to the users. As the YMYL sites, including healthcare and wellness websites, contain very sensitive content, Google expects these topics to be drafted by trustworthy and proven authors.
Google’s guidelines also mandate websites to provide the contact information and customer support details if the users land on a product or service page.
Ensure that all blog posts have an author byline to show the trustworthiness of the content to the users. The engagement of users with the content gives quality signals to Google on how good an author has provided the information.
2. Trim down content with less E-A-T
According to the Google search quality guidelines, E-A-T score of the website is evaluated after calculating the total E-A-T score of individual posts/pages of a website. So, you have to be careful about each and every post that goes live.
That is why we recommend removing poor quality content from your website. This may reduce your traffic a bit, in the long run, but you will benefit as it will improve the average E-A-T score of your website. This is also one of the proven tactics to recover from a Google Algorithm Update. If you’re managing a YMYL website, ensure that the content is curated by experts in your niche. Since personal experiences are considered legit as per of the search quality guidelines, try updating the existing content with personal experiences.
3. Invest time in personal branding
There are certain quality signals that you have to implement on your website to improve the E-A-T score and gain audience trust. SEO experts recommend enhancing the “About Us” page by mentioning all the publications you’re featured on. Apart from that, add a schema markup in the HTML code to give additional information to Google about your content. Also, try to keep a page listing out the testimonials and customer reviews to boost trustworthiness among the visiting audience.
If “content is king” then “back-link is queen” when it comes to SEO. A few years ago, the sites with more backlinks ranked higher than sites with fewer links. With the Penguin update by Google, there is a paradigm shift in the way Google looks at links.
According to the Google guidelines, websites with high-quality links have a better E-A-T score. Getting links from a low authority and an irrelevant site adds no value and can adversely affect the E-A-T score. If your website is in the healthcare niche, work towards getting backlinks from the relevant websites in the healthcare industry with high trustworthiness and authority. Building backlinks from related niche sites can improve the E-A-T score.
5. Secure your site with HTTPS
Google also considers ‘security’ as a major E-A-T factor. Apart from the quality content, backlinks and author’s reputation, website security is also one of the important factors used for evaluating the E-A-T score of a site. So, if your website is finding it hard to get back on track after being hit by an Algorithm update, ensure you have an SSL certificate. You may have come across HTTP sites in Google Chrome browser with a “Not secure” tag. This is a strong indicator of how Google is pushing website owners to enable HTTPS.
6. Social media activities
Most website owners may not know that the official social media profiles can improve E-A-T score. Being active on social media and sharing content with the target audience and other influencers will help maintain an active website. It helps you to connect with a more significant number of audience and garner a positive reputation for your site. Though this might not aid you directly in E-A-T, it will help you outperform competitors and gain more E-A-T signals.
Search Engine Optimization is a highly unpredictable arena. Since Google sets the rules (at least, for the time being), websites have to follow it, whether they agree or not. There are times when a website hits rock bottom one day and recovers with a bang after a few months. Such instances are not rare after Google rolls out an algorithm update.
Google’s August Broad Core Algorithm update 2018 is one such update that shook the internet. Later, it was found that this update targeted the Health and Wellness industry. Hence, it was unofficially named as the Google Medic update by SEO experts.
Nevertheless, we witnessed another update after Google’s 20th anniversary which is named as the Google Birthday Update on 27th November. It’s touted as the reversal of a few factors of the Google Medic Update, as websites that were hit by the Medic Update started performing well.
Some websites are yet to recover from the Medic Update of August 2018. These sites and others can improve the E-A-T score by following the tips mentioned in this blog and ensure that the future Google Algorithm updates work in your favor.