August 1st 2018 saw a new major update to the Google search algorithms, and an update that was actually announced by Google too (as often, they aren’t)! Now bear in mind that Google are CONSTANTLY updating, tweaking and changing their algorithms, some estimates up to 600 times in a year! It’s the larger changes that we’re interested in, previously Panda and Penguin for example. This new change has adopted the name from many SEO leaders as Google Medic.

Google announced this major change back in March, and with many querying the update and what would happen to negatively affected websites, the general reply was (as ever) – create great content.

So what do we know?

It’s always hard to say exactly what we know about the update, because Google don’t often divulge and so it’s a lot of guess work. When we explain that to people, sometimes they don’t believe us, but Google doesn’t want us to know what they consider to be fantastic websites, because as businesses we have to work towards it at all times.

  1. We know that this update has mainly affected websites that are within the nutrition and medical sectors (so for some sectors and industries, you may not have noticed a major change in your analytics);
  2. This update has a major focus on “E-A-T” = expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness. All aspects that we have been telling clients are so important when creating content for their websites and social media. You can find out more about E-A-T in Google’s guidelines (section 3.2);
  3. The update will cover “YMYL” websites – a term many of you may not be familiar with, but it stands for “Your Money or Your Life” websites;
  4. There is talk that the update has also affected locations in search – primarily that it seems local locations (businesses with 1 or 2 locations) may be favoured over larger organisations with multiple locations;
  5. We know that many websites have seen major changes in their anayltics, but we also know that many have seen no change at all. This all points to Google having updated their algorithms with a specific target in mind.

YMYL / Nutrition & Medical Sectors

Google defines YMYL as the following from the Guidelines:

  • shopping or financial transactions pages
  • financial information pages
  • medical information pages
  • legal information pages
  • news articles or public/official information pages (important for having an informed citizenry)
  • other – covering some other topics such as car safety information.

Hazel Jarrett defines YMYL easily for us: YMYL websites are those that have the power to negatively affect users’ finances or lives if they contain the wrong advice or information. Google doesn’t want to send searchers to sites that could damage their health, lose them money, hurt their families or even risk their physical safety.

The new algorithm update is basically favouring content that is safe, helpful and genuine.  It boils down to what we’ve been telling our clients for a couple of years now – all of your content needs to be valid and useful to your visitor/client base. Filling pages with information that is useless or unhelpful won’t result in better Google ranking because of content quantity. Quality over quantity!

So in regards to YMYL and nutrition/medical sectors, it’s likely that Google will favour websites that have the support and consensus of the wider community online, backed by research and appropriate approval.


There is a fairly big chunk of advice we can help with here, so we’ve written a seperate blog that you can read here.


Not much information to be found online about this as of yet, only that it seems Google is trying to make their location searches more relevant to their searchers. The general consensus so far is that Google sees local as more important than large multi or inter-nationals. Great for the #supportlocal compaign in the UK at the moment.

Our Summary

From the various blogs we’ve read about the latest update, and the Guidelines that Google have updated – it just clear that Google are really pushing great quality, useful content. And why not? Google wants to see websites that help their searchers top the lists, because at the end of the day, the websites that they rank higher have an effect on their reputation as a search engine too. It’s no different to a large department store stocking a range of lines – the great quality stuff will be stocked all year round.

Got any questions about search engine optimisation and Google ranking? Get in touch today!