The Extracted Inferences By Now
Google confirmed a new algorithm update on August 1st 2018 and like every update, it is also an alert for the SEO analysts and websites. The Google Broad Core Algorithm Update focuses on ‘building great content’. Now, being a Content Writer, I got curious to dig in the recent update that has brought some evident changes in local and organic rankings. By now, a lot has been talked and disclosed about the update and in this blog I have made an attempt to highlight the typical information extracted from the study.
With the regular indication by Google on creating great content arises a question – “What is great content according to Google?
The first change noticed in the organic rankings on SERPs show a negative impact on websites with low E-A-T and YMYL character.
Here’s an explanation on what these terms exactly mean and what can be done to avoid its impact on your website.
Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year….
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) March 12, 2018
The term E-A-T in SEO
The term E-A-T as per the initials represents Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness of websites. It plays a significant role in Google’s Search Quality Guidelines.
Expertise: It highlights how everything displayed in a website needs to be written by a writer holding expertise in the respective field. You need to ensure that your writer has the ideal credentials to publish the information. To elaborate, job experience, college degree and other relevant prrof should be mentioned in your content. A useful and truthful content showcases the relevant expertise of the writer that makes your website informative for the users.
Authoritativeness: You need to certify that you have strong authoritativeness which reflects from your writers’ expertise. Suppose, you have a community page or a page on forum discussion, the quality of conversation taking place on the pages builds your authority. Positive reviews are another important factor in creating high authority of your website.
Trustworthiness: Your page needs to be trustworthy for you users. This goes differently for each kind of websites. An eCommerce website seeking the user’s credit or debit card information should make them feel safe sharing the information. Any web page a user visitor is on, should make them feel safe.
Impact of Broad Core Algorithm Update on E-A-T websites
In simple words, you need to be careful of what your website eats. Websites offering questionable advice directed from a non-authoritative source would be ranked lower on the Google search result pages. This step is taken to minimize the potential risk of searchers being scammed.
Low E-A-T — Low Rankings (local and organic)
High E-A-T — High Rankings (local and organic)
What is meant by YMYL websites?
YMYL expand as “Your Money Your Life”. The term is used to refer to the web pages that potentially create an impact on a user’s present or future with rest to his/her financial stability, happiness, health or safety.
As per Google, the YMYL web pages should on reputable websites having content of high level authority and expertise.
Now let us discuss about YMYL (Your Money Your Life) pages in detail.
Google classifies a web page as YMYL that:
- Seek personal information like bank account numbers, personal identification number, etc., which could probably be used for identity theft.
- Involve monetary transactions asking for account details, Credit card number. The best example of such web pages is of an eCommerce website.
- Offer health or medical information impacting the users’ health and well-being.
- Offer advice on life decisions like purchasing a home, a vehicle or parenting.
- Offer any advice on significant life issues like financial or legal advice that could possibly impact a user’s future.
If you own a website related to the above categories in any way, this update can hit hard on you if you are unaware of the SEO rules to stay on top ranking on your SERPs. Wait, has it already hit?
Impact of the Broad Core Algorithm Update on YMYL Websites
- From studying the report by Danny Sullivan of Google and the detailed research by SEO and web experts like Marie Haynes, I could figure out the following inferences:
- Sites dealing in fields of nutrition, diet and medical niches saw a massive fall in rankings
- Sites with multiple locations undergoing dramatic changes experienced a drop in local and organic rankings as compared to the previous month’s analytics report.
Note: Google Broad Core Algorithm Update could also impact sites that do not have YMYL pages.
I would like to throw some more light on my inferences.
Diet and Nutrition Websites
Websites dealing in the nutrition and diet niche had a mixed impact with the recent Google algorithm updates. Some saw massive drops while others incredible gains.
This is in a way the effect of Google’s way of evaluating YMYL sites based on trusts and safety.
Google’s QRG on safety
If the content creator has even mild negative reputation, the site would be considered low quality.
A close analysis on the keyword “keto diet” showed that the sites like ketodash.com that ranked #1 in July 2018 were hit bad.
A surface look at their web page doesn’t give a slight hint of poor reputation or low quality as they had helpful information for the users. Why did Google hit them this hard?
No one except experts from Google can give an explanation for this unexpected movement. Based on the facts in the QRG, an insight could be drawn:
No ‘about us’ page: The QRG keeps it very clear that each information in a website should be taken responsibility for and Ketodash lack an about us page. This completely deflects from Google’s QRG.
Low external reputation: The main motive of the website seems selling their “ketodash system” which is in a way not wrong but, as per Google’s QRG, the product you sell on a website should have a good reputation in the market. Even a slight degradation of reputation can be declared a low quality sign. In the case with Ketodash, their system didn’t have much positive reviews or information online which makes it a low quality product and ultimately it hit the site’s rankings hard.
The website promotes a medical treatment without any scientific agreement upon consensus: Google QRG says a site having information pages on scientific topics should be created by organization or individuals having good scientific expertise.
ketodash.com promotes exogenous ketones which doesn’t show much proven scientific evidence on weight loss rather they can simply increase ketone levels. A site selling health related product with negative reputation or insufficient scientific information to support is no more trusted by Google.
Diet and Nutrition sites experiencing gains
On studying the organic rankings on dietdoctor.com, there was seen an improvement after the Google algorithm update which was for the below-mentioned facts:
- The authors are labeled and certified in the field – physicians having high E-A-T.
- The main motive is not to sell products but providing useful information on diet and nutrition.
- They have good signs of high authority (positive reviews and user comments).
Another category of website that saw dramatic shifts are the sites selling medical products. Considering the keyword “glucometer”, the post from thediabetescouncil.com saw big drops after the update which was on #2 rank in July, 2018.
Based on what Google says about E-A-T, it is realized:
- The site does not have enough medical E-A-T
- The author of the post doesn’t possess any medical E-A-T
- No definite purpose of the site
- Low external reputation of the site
What if you were hit?
If yours is an YMYL site that experienced dramatic drops in local or organic rankings, it is recommended to:
Show all your E-A-T: You should have an About Us page proving your authoritativeness in the vertical. You can boast the awards won, years of experience, recognition in the press and more.
Show your author E-A-T: Make sure the posts on your site are author listed – authentic author bio bragging their E-A-T.
Improve your business and author reputation: Foster user reviews all across the web and boost the testimonials on your site.
Analyze well the products you offer on your website: If you have a selling product that is spammy or quite harmful to people, this might be one of the reasons for the unexpected drops in ranking.
Build product E-A-T: If you are into selling medical device, diet product or any other health related product, your product must have enough information on the web. You can do this by getting reviews, establishing discussions and much more.
Recovering a site’s E-A-T is quite a difficult task unless you are among the most helpful and trustworthy sites on the web.
By now, this is all that has been analyzed and reported by the experts and there could possibly some more impacts of the latest Google Broad Core Algorithm update. If you need to stay up to date about SEO strategies, you must know about this august update.
Buck up and save your organic positions!
Author: Mahima Pareek