On August 1st, 2018, Google released an algorithm update that has had online marketers, web designers, blog writers, and small businesses in Canada reeling. Though there are usually algorithm updates throughout the year that mildly impact websites and their SEO practices, the August Core Update has proven to be one of major adjustments, especially for those in the YMYL (Your Money Your Life) and health or medical niches.
According to the SearchLiason account on Twitter, the update had a global roll out that impacted all Google SERPs, regardless of language or region. However, Google was relatively tight-lipped when it came to giving a percentage of how many queries were impacted, which the company has usually done with other updates for Panda, Penguin and others.
That leaves a lot of questions about the negative and positive consequences of the August broad core update, including the niches impacted and how to adapt your current SEO practices to the latest changes.
1. YMYL Changes
SEO expert Marie Haynes commented on the effects of the August Core Update, saying that YMYL sites were the most strongly affected. The sites that received the most penalties were those providing financial and medical advice without backing it up. Since Google is focusing more and more on the user experience, sites that could “potentially impact the future happiness, health, and financial stability, or safety of the users” were punished. In other words, if a page did not fall under the “EAT (expert-authority-trust) page” guidelines, it was impacted.
2. Health Niche Changes
An expert on Moz, Dr. Pete Meyers, observed that the health category had the greatest fluctuation in MozCast temperatures before and after the August Core Update. For those who don’t know the MozCast scale, the higher the temperature, the greater the effects. Therefore, when Meyers reported that “keywords in [the health] category had a daily average temperature of 124 degrees Fahrenheit,” this shows significant impacts. Furthermore, he stated that after August 1st, all categories “showed temperatures over 100 degrees F.”
3. Other Observances
Throughout the World Wide Web, reports poured in about changes in ranking on websites that deal with highly popular niches, such as E-cigs, vaping, women’s health, ketogenic diet, health and nutrition, and at-home medical equipment. Depending on whether the site was devotedly EAT or not was the main focus. Those that engaged in white-hat SEO techniques and had clearly righteous content were rewarded while others fell.
BrightLocal stated that the August Core Update was mainly for “forums with low-quality advice…[but] local businesses are just as at risk from providing advice that doesn’t come from a place of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.”
How to Avoid the Effects of the Broad Core Update
The best way to avoid being negatively impacted by the broad core update from August 1st, 2018 is to continue with decent SEO practices. You can do this by doing the following:
-Removing toxic links and poor quality content from your website;
-Use Google Search Console to find problems with your website;
-Fix broken links and files;
-Build up your EAT—work on personal branding, reputation, and trustworthiness.
In short, Google’s broad core August update has been a hard-hitter that’s left quite a few in the KO corner. The niche with the biggest hit is currently YMYL, but health and medicine also saw drops in their ranks. Overall, be sure to make changes in your site that allow for more reliability and a better user experience. If you do that, the core update will work in your favor.