Was Your Healthcare Website Hit by the Medic Update to Google’s Search Algorithm? Here Are 3 Ways to Recover

February 28, 2019

// By Ramya Sriram //

In August 2018, Google made an update to its core search algorithm that affected thousands of websites worldwide. The update was nicknamed “Medic” after Barry Schwartz, CEO of New York-based web services firm RustyBrick, reported that more than 41 percent of the websites impacted were healthcare-related.

“A huge percentage of the sites impacted [by the Medic update] were specifically in the medical, health, fitness, healthy lifestyle space.”  Barry Schwartz, CEO, RustyBrick

The update aimed to help users access reliable and verified medical information easily and quickly. There is no shortage of unverified medical information on the internet, and it can have undesirable consequences. A study published in 2016 found that the first 200 hits on search engines for “idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis” led to websites with not just inaccurate information but also dangerous treatment methods.

The results of another study carried out at the University of Kansas (KU) in April 2018 showed that youths hardly ever check or verify information they find online and are sometimes dangerously misled. The study, conducted by Susan Harvey, assistant professor of health, sport, and exercise sciences at KU, stated that when her students turned to Google for the answers to health-related questions, “Most of them didn’t scroll through the webpages at all, they just clicked on the first link,” she says.

After the Medic update, some websites saw a considerable increase in their traffic and visibility while others saw a decrease in traffic. The change rewarded pages with expert-reviewed content, and penalized websites with low-quality, unverified content.

If you’ve been hit by the Medic update, here are three steps that you can take to help you regain and improve your ranking.

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