If it has then carry on reading but if hasn’t then you are clearly undertaking the correct steps which should have been part of your ongoing strategy for the past couple of years.
There have been numerous signals given by Google over the past couple of years on what Google wants their users to see and what signals sites should be providing which Google will then subsequently return in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Each ‘broad algorithm update’ is looking to improve the user experience of Google’s users and return the most appropriate results – obviously!
These updates will happen several times a year now, so if you have been affected then ensure you are taking immediate action!!
The E.A.T. Update
So this update took hold in early August, it was quickly labelled as the ‘Medic’ Update by Barry Schwartz as Moz’s, and other, tools were picking up that ‘Health’ terms were the most affected.
But as the roll out continued it came more commonly known as the E.A.T update, which is looking at the expertise, authoritative & trustworthiness of sites.
This down to the user’s perception of a site’s overall value, as well as being able to instantly tell the content is from a reputable source, making it more likely to be trusted and shared.
But this update shouldn’t have come as any surprise to anyone in the industry; Google informed everyone that updates are happening this year – Quality, Mobile and Speed are all different elements Google has thrown at us just in 2018 alone.
The fact that Google updated their Google Rater Guidelines in the middle of July was a big signal and historically once they have amended these then the roll out usually happens soon after.
These guidelines of course mentions expertise, authoritive & trustworthy as a signifier of good quality content and in particular query the Your Money Your Life elements.
This update was a big one as well and it soon became clear that more sites were affected, rather than just the medical terms.
Data from Searchmetrics saw other sites be affected such as the legal industry –
This data, along with the Moz data, was telling us that there is a greater emphasis on the quality of ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL) sites, ie, those that demand a high degree of trust as they could impact a user’s life, and therefore are held to highest standard by Google.
If these pages could negatively affect a user’s health, happiness or financial stability, they will rank less well. All shopping sites fall under this category. If a rater wouldn’t buy from, or submit personal info to, your site, it’s unlikely to rank well.
Let’s be clear here, Google doesn’t actually define clear examples of what they are looking for when it comes to E.A.T., however the data and the sites which are affected does build a picture in order to steer a strategy (or give approval to your current SEO strategy should you have benefited from this update).
The Mozcast chart is still in a highly fluctuated state which suggests that this is still being rolled out.
Everything that Google is telling us is that ‘Machine Learning’ is now a key part of these algorithmic updates and tied into this was the reports that the update pushed a large amount of spam like websites (especially around terms such as “Buy Viagra”) up into the SERPs.
So the likelihood that the changes we are seeing now are either a mini roll back or rectifying the SERP’s manually to assist with “Machine Learning” in the future.
Not that you wouldn’t anyway but I would keep a closer than normal eye on your organic data is Google Analytics, just to be on top of this update.
The signals and data which we are reviewing suggests that Google has significantly tweaked the ranking factors for ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL) content.
But you are already looking after your on page content since Panda, right?!?!
This update aligns itself with the ranking shifts within health and legal sectors, but also the changes in finance rankings which other tools picked up on.
Google certainly doesn’t want to be returning serving inaccurate or misinformed content around the YMYL topics as this could have significant consequences for Google’s users if they follow the given advice.
Poor information, especially around health is a high risk for Google which they have appeared to stem by implementing this update.
A good health example of this is the NHS, which in Searchmetrics saw a significant increase form this update –
A trustworthy medical site!
For queries potentially affecting YMYL, it’s even more crucial that Google identifies the source with the most expertise, authority and trust – and will rank them accordingly.
So how do we recover?
Sites which have seen the most benefit have been those which serve informational content, but anyone can create the great content – that is correct.
Part of the trustworthy element of E.A.T. would be how well your link profile is set up in passing through authority to these pages.
This, I believe, will now be the main part of ranking within the SERP’s – good content and good links, easy right!!
eCommerce sites that provided information around “Buy Viagra” at first saw positive spikes but this has subsequently been amended, and was in line with the data first seen at the start of August – but these sites were deemed ‘spammy’ by many and have subsequently fallen back.
Your on page strategy for the past year or so should have been around creating unique and informational content, something which I have stressed many times to my clients.
Overall your SEO strategy should have many arms to it that covers a users experience on your site.
- Is it quick? (Speed Update July 2018)
- Is it mobile friendly? (Mobile update Early 2018 and still rolling out)
- Does it have good quality pages (E.A.T update and beyond)
Look at who is around you and how their content is laid out and what they are saying.
A small tip is to look at sites which perform well that have a lower DA (than your site) as Google clearly likes the content.
SEO strategies are now a lot more detailed and cover a variety of subjects and shouldn’t be solely down to just one area, as you never know what Google is going to throw at you next and give you further digestion.