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How to Recover from the Google Medic Update


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How has the Google Medic Update Affected the Healthcare Industry?

On August 1st 2018 Google’s newest Global Broad Core Search Update went live. The aim of this update is thought to be attempting to enhance the match between user intent and the search results given. Now this sounds like a useful and innovative algorithm improvement, but with every high there comes a low, and in this circumstance the lows were major repercussions on an entire industry.

Areas such as technology, finance and insurance were negatively impacted by the core google search update, although nothing compared to the enormous shock it generated within the Healthcare Sector.

According to Barry Schwartz article on, in the early aftermath of the Medic update up to 300 sites claimed to be negatively impacted, where over 42% were within the healthcare sector. Alarmingly, it is possible the true numbers affected may be far greater. Looking at the pie chart below dictating the degree of damage to each industry it is clear majority of the chart is blue relating to health. It is fascinating that Google decided to describe this as a “broad” update.

Pie Chart Search Engine Optimisation Melbourne Medic Update Google Company SEO Melbourne

Why is this an issue?

Health sites are heavily demanded. Around 1 in 20 google searches are health related and according to Pew’s study-NBCNews 80% of Americans have used the internet to search for a health related topic.

When a sites rankings decrease, so does traffic. With less traffic, lower numbers of consumers are viewing these sites and therefore not utilising their services. Ultimately this leads to reduced revenue for affected health sites.

The outcome can be detrimental to the sites and businesses, as well as the broader population. Currently there is little Government funding towards the healthcare sector already. If certain sites, especially smaller establishments are no longer being viewed, a consistent reduction in revenue could result in forced shutdown.

According to economic theories, in this situation when demand exceeds supply, healthcare prices may begin to increase causing strain on consumers especially with lower income. Healthcare differs to other industries as demand is relatively inelastic. Optimal health is considered a valuable asset, therefore when an individual requires medical attention they will often pay any given price usually only limited by their level of income. In this case it can reduce certain individuals having access to services. If certain health sites are no longer appearing on google searches, it also limits consumers ability to make rational decisions about their health.

Examples of Healthcare Sites Affected

Google has had many updates in the past including Panda and Penguin. So what made this update so different? This update is less about changes to H1 tags and links, and instead focuses more on overall site content and quality.

As the Healthcare sector scramble to recover their traffic, Google claims there is nothing that can be done to fix the Problem. Instead Google suggests to focus on creating a better website space by placing interesting content online and making it a more enjoyable experience. A case study provided by shows that this may be right. is a health website which experienced this ordeal of loss of site traffic themselves due to the medic update.

Traffic Melbourne Search Engine Optimisation Medic Update Google Melbourne SEO


Above shows the extreme dip in estimated traffic to beginning at the point google launched its update in August, in which they lost more than 50% of their traffic. used trial and error to appeal to Googles new algorithms of rating site quality. Based off this website’s successful results these are important steps that could possibly be beneficial to other affected health sites as well.

Here at SEO Melbourne we have worked with clients involved in the healthcare industry including Healthscope. Healthscope is a private healthcare provider in Australia which were our previous clients before the Medic update occurred. Whilst servicing, our work saw their websites rise to the top spot of number one rankings for their keywords. Looking at their data now following the Medic update, they no longer rank within the top 50. This shows firsthand the disastrous affect the Medic Update has had on thriving successful healthcare websites.

How to recover from the Medic Update?

Enhance E-A-T of your site, expertise authoritativeness trustworthiness. Include author’s bio in articles, and find specialists in your site area to review your content and add this to your page to increase credibility. Focus on user intent within your page by reducing promotional content as much as possible. Another key point is to ensure site reputation is high. Add search reviews left for your site, and provide areas for reviews to be left by consumers. Lastly, if like the website content is needed in multiple languages, ensure that google translate it not used to translate these pages directly as this is treated as spam and will play a role in reducing rankings and traffic. For information on how to create content for your websites have a look at the video below.

From the previous example, ended up increasing their traffic even greater than it was previous to the Medic update by strengthening their content. This shows that this update can be used as a learning curve to grow and challenge the way the health sector promotes their sites and services. These forced changes can ultimately help make sites affected safer and enhance user experience.

If you enjoyed this article, check out SEO Company Melbourne for insightful tips and actionable steps for all things SEO today



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