If you are responsible for tracking your company’s SEO, or providing your client with SEO analytics, you may have noticed that last month’s reporting looked a little…off. Not wanting anyone to relax too much this summer, Google launched an update to its core algorithm in early August. While they have been very hush-hush about what the algorithm will affect, some patterns are becoming clear. With some tweaking, this update can be positive for your site moving forward.

This update has been nicknamed the “Medic Update” because it has affected the rankings of health care related pages more than those of any other industry. That’s not all bad news, it means that while health care sites have been some of the biggest rankings losers in the update, they have also been able to make some of the greatest gains if they take advantage of what looks to be a few key areas of focus for Google.

Reducing, consolidating, or eliminating thin content pages: When Google talks about thin content for this update, there is an emerging consensus on things that they don’t want to see:

  • Gateway pages: Meaning pages that are full of links to other pages, but include no descriptive or explanatory content. A page that is filled with links to external resources or other sections of the site with no context content would be a great example.
  • Duplicative, or non-original content: This has become a new point of emphasis, Google wants original and data-rich content that hasn’t been clearly re-purposed from another site or multiple times within the same site.
  • Low-quality affiliate pages: This means paying increased attention to the SEO scores of affiliate sites that may be linked to for resources or data-gathering.

Focusing keywords and making sure they are reflected in page content: Another major focus of this update appears to be ensuring that expert content in a certain field rises to the top over less credible sources. In practice, for us, this means:

  • Becoming even more focused in the keywords you optimize for in order to rank highly for specific knowledge. We have already seen data that more specific keywords are performing better since the update.
  • Making sure that those keywords and tags are closely reflected in detailed and expert content on the page that you are optimizing for.

Moving forward, we see this update as an even more compelling reason to move aggressively into auditing individual pages for content and looking at how your site is structured to streamline it for your users and bring together content in a way that Google will reward rather than penalize. This update is geared to bring authoritative voices in specialty fields to the forefront. If you do the work to make your site even more reflective of your status as one of those, this becomes a golden opportunity, not just to maintain your position, but to keep your business ahead of the curve moving forward.