Google August 2018 Algorithm Affects YMYL, Health and Wellness Sites

Written by Dileep Thekkethil

Updated on August 10, 2018
Category: Google Updates

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(We have talked in depth about the latest broad core update launched by Google on August 1, 2018. I recommend you to read our previous articles to know the history of the update.)

With Google Medic Update - August 2018

So, as far as we know, the new algorithm update has had a massive impact on YMYL websites in healthcare, wellness, and finance sectors.

SEOs have already christened this update as Google Medic Update. The reason for this is the adverse effect of the August Broad Core Algorithm on health and medic sites.

Are you into medicare, wellness or any other YMYL industry? Did you notice a massive decrease in the search traffic starting August 2018? You are not alone.

What leaders say about the recently launched Broad Core Algorithm update?

According to the latest figures made public by Moz, SEMRush, and RankRanger, health industry was the worst affected by the update.

RankRanger says, a few health websites that featured at the top of SERP were at the receiving end of the update. The metric says the baseline match of some of the first match medic pages plunged 7.5%.

On the other hand, the second and third match results fell into more deep fissures within the search registering 21% to 31% drop.

The next data can be a little more intimidating if you are part of the healthcare sector. This data is about an exact match search.

RankRanger says that the top three exact matches for a few top healthcare websites have decreased by 39.0% whereas the rank position of top five exact matches and top 10 exact matches have nosedived 64% and 94%, respectively.Rank Ranger Statistic of Health websites

The data released by SEMRush says, the maximum negative impact of the broad core update happened on August 3rd.

Their rank tracker detected that the fluctuation in the search ranking for healthcare websites touched the peak score of 9.4 of 10 on 3rd August.

The impact of the Google update was evident in snippet results for the healthcare web pages that were featuring on the “Top Stories,” “Instant Answers,” “Shopping Results,” “Knowledge Graph,” “Site Links,” “Reviews,” “Videos” and “People Also Asked (Related queries).”
SEMRush Algorithm Data for August 2
Moz also has very descriptive data on how health and wellness websites felt the heat of the new algorithm update.

The results for the top 20 keywords picked up by Moz for each sector shows the healthcare sector feeling the most temperature of close to 124º Fahrenheit.

MozCast Temp by Category

Courtesy of Moz

Even though the healthcare industry was affected the worst, without a doubt, other sectors have also felt the tremors after Google launched its August broad core algorithm AKA the Medic Update.

Websites from almost all the industries that Google’s algorithm thought was getting undue importance in the search were affected by the August update. According to Moz, nearly all major sectors including Travel and Tourism, Real Estate, and Finance felt more than 100º Fahrenheit after the update was rolled out.

That said, Moz has also provided a detailed list of websites that were worst hit by the new algorithm update. This data is a clear indication of how the broad core had a set agenda to attack health and wellness websites.

Broad Core Update Losers

Courtesy of Moz

According to Moz data, prevention.com felt the Mercury-like heat from the Google algorithm as it lost 66.9% position between July 31st and August 7th.

More importantly, five of the ten websites listed as top losers by Moz caters to the health or wellness industry.

Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land did a manual test of the top 325 websites from different industries after the update rolled out.

He found that the broad core algorithm targeted health and wellness websites. A pie diagram uploaded by Barry shows 41.4% of sites affected by the update belong to health care and wellness sectors.

Google Broadcore Update Loser - Search Engine Roundtable

Courtesy of Search Engine Roundtable

You may now wonder if Google update affected all health and wellness websites. My answer is no and here is why.

Heart.org, which lost a critical number of traffic after the broad core algorithm update of March has improved their ranking with the August update.

According to SEMRush data, there was an increase of 7, 6 and 4 percent in their ranking during the roll-out of the update.

The case of mmclinic.com is no different. SEMRush says MMClinic had an average of 8% increase in their average position.

Winners Google Algorithm Update

Courtesy of SEMRush

So, why did Google Medic update core algorithm wreak havoc for some health care and wellness websites?

To understand the reason, you should first know about the YMYL website or Your Money and Your Life websites. So, let me explain it for people who are new to the term.

What is the definition of YMYL?

As I already mentioned, YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life” websites. These websites come under the intense scrutiny of search engines.

The reason is that these sites provide tips on health and finance related topics that impacts the life of internet users.

Which websites fall under the category of YMYL?

Sites that ask users Personal Identifiable Information such as personal identification number, license details, bank account number, health information, medical history, etc. fall under the category of YMYL.

Not all websites that seek these details come under scrutiny. Sites that are authentic and super trustworthy are immune to the frowned glance of search engines.

Search engines prefer these kinds of high authority websites, especially Google as the users highly appreciate them.

Now, since we are talking about YMYL websites, the topic cannot be complete without talking about E.A.T, which is a Google standard for websites. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness. Google has several metrics to give signals regarding a website’s EAT quality.

Some of the EAT qualities that health and wellness websites should possess are:

  • Content should be written by an expert who is most trusted in the field.
  • A website should have a proper About, Disclaimer, Contact and Customer support page.
  • Accurate page description.
  • The overall structure of the site.

If your YMYL health and the wellness-based website qualify these EAT quality signals, the possibility of a rank drop after the August Medic update is minimal. If you are falling behind in these quality signals, you might end up in Google’s bad books.

SEO Suggestions for health and wellness websites to recover from Google Algorithm effect

  • Unlike the March and April broad core algorithm updates of Google, the one that happened on August 2018 was massive. Many webmasters have found their website ranking in free flow during the days of the update roll out. Even though the fluctuations have subsided and stabilized, the sites that were affected are yet to bounce back.
  • We have also concluded that the algorithm update has taken out many YMYL health, wellness, and financial sites. A majority of them failed Google’s EAT qualities.
  • The panacea for websites that are affected by the Google Medic update is to implement an authoritative content strategy and improve the user experience. If you think you are hit by the Medic Update, make sure you get an expert advise from and SEO specialists and sign up for affordable SEO services to get your site ranking back.

About Dileep Thekkethil

Dileep Thekkethil, a Journalism Postgraduate, was formerly with a US-based online magazine, is the SEO Expert at Stan Ventures. A He is a frequent blogger who keeps a tab on the latest updates in SEO and technology arena. Reach me @ Mail | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook or View all posts by Dileep

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    Hello , I really am one of the most useful articles I read recently

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