You may or may not have heard that Google implemented a new core algorithm update on March 12, 2019, that has affected many businesses and their online search visibility. Specifically, several companies are seeing either an increase or decrease in traffic to their websites as a result of search engine rankings. We’re going to break that down and explain how this latest update may be affecting you.
How Does This Update Relate to the August 2018 Medic Update?
According to an article written by Glenn Gabe for G-Squared Interactive, the March 2019 update was originally thought to be a complete reversal of the August 2018 Medic update. Gabe has confirmed with his own research and client results that this is not true. In some cases, the March 2019 Google update did reverse some of the effects caused by the Medic update, but certainly not all of them.
It is clear that many of the sites affected the most by this latest update fall under the YMYL (your money or your life) category, with many of them sitting comfortably in the health industry. That has to do with how Google rates their E-A-T metric, or how Google evaluates the website’s expertise, authority and trustworthiness in their respective industries.
How to Establish E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)
To establish yourself as an expert in your field, Google is looking for specific things on your website. A big part of this puzzle, as it relates to the March 2019 update, is content. Anything published on your website should be considered “expert” content. This can be achieved in a few ways:
- Authorship – Content should be published by a qualified industry expert.
- Answers – How well does your content answer specific queries?
- Links – Backlinks to your content should be published on credible domains.
With this in mind, it’s clear to see why health-related or YMYL sites that mainly give advice were hit so hard with the Medic update. If their content was not published by an accredited, qualified expert, the quality of the website dropped because Google did not perceive a high level of E-A-T on the page.
By analyzing several clients across different industries, Gabe saw websites that focused very highly on improving their E-A-T metric either had positive results or very little change following the March 2019 update. Conversely, websites that did not put effort into enhancing their E-A-T levels were negatively affected by the March 2019 update.
Can You Soften the Effects of the March 2019 Update?
There is really no magic formula or immediate fix to drops in your website’s ranking, although some ways work better than others. It seems the best approach to mitigating some of these changes is to stay focused on improving your E-A-T level as described in Google’s Quality Rater General Guidelines.
By improving the quality of your website using these guidelines, you may reverse some of the damage the March 2019 update caused (if you were negatively impacted). You will also be able to lessen or avoid major drops with future Google updates. Here are some boxes to check off your list:
- Understand webpage content and how Google analyzes this content.
- Always keep E-A-T in mind when making changes or updates to your website.
- Make your website easy to navigate so users can quickly find the information they’re looking for.
- Maintain an overall positive online reputation.
- Update and edit your website regularly and frequently.
- Always include auxiliary information such as “contact us” and “about us” details.
- Do not have intrusive or distracting ads on your webpages.
Although there’s so much more you can do in terms of search engine optimization (SEO), this list is an excellent starting point. If you’d like to learn about SEO services at Levy Online and how we can help you organically rank for important keywords, contact the Levy Online team today!