[SEPTEMBER 2018] Google’s Medic Update Examined

It’s been a little over a month since Google rolled out their latest algorithm update on Aug. 1 –  The Medic Update. Since then, SEO professionals have been carefully analyzing the effects it may have on different sites. At first glance, this update appeared to mainly affect sites in the medical or healthcare verticals. However, after further analysis and a tweet from the Google Search Liaison Twitter account, this algorithm update is confirmed as a broad core algorithm update that has impacted sites in various verticals.

A Closer Look

The update’s impact on local businesses was put under a microscope by local search expert Joy Hawkins. As part of her observation criteria, Hawkins looked at dozens of sites that were (1) optimized for local SEO and (2) that displayed a pattern of the same items across sites.

She found six major patterns during her analysis:

  1. This update was not related to backlinks but instead seemed to be geared more towards on-site content quality.
  2. Visibility for tracked keywords with geo-modifiers outside the local business’ physical address improved. For instance, Hawkins provided the following example: “We work with a company in a suburb of a large city. Let’s say they’re in Addison, Texas, but they get all their customers from Dallas (they’re not, but it’s a similar scenario). With this update, the majority of keywords we were tracking that used [keyword + Dallas] increased, even though his location is in Addison (the suburb of Dallas).”
  3. In most cases, algorithm updates impact either organic or local results. However, The Medic Update impacted both local and organic results. Local rankings were impacted first from Jul. 31 to Aug. 1, while organic rankings were impacted immediately after on Aug. 1 through Aug. 2.
  4. A local business that saw big increases in their organic rankings didn’t necessarily see increases in their local listing rankings, and vice versa. In the past, this wouldn’t have been the case as there is typically a correlation between organic and local results.
  5. After the update, a lot more video carousels appeared on search engine result pages (SERPs) that weren’t previously there.
  6. This update seemed to focus on Your Money Your Life sites (sites that can have an impact on your current or future well-being) the most, with the healthcare industry seeing the biggest impact.

Mindstream Media Group will continue to monitor the impact of The Medic Update and will keep you posted on any significant changes.

ICYMI: Watch Saves Apple’s Otherwise Mediocre iPhone Event

Last week, Apple brought the expected to the marketplace by announcing three new iPhone models with marginal improvements and added features. Sharper and larger displays, improved cameras and face recognition, better water and dust resistance, slightly better battery life and boosted speed are the headlines across the devices. Again, features you’d expect as technology progresses. Less expected were new and expanded features of the Apple Watch Series 4.

Apple also brought higher price points, creating speculation that near-term revenue increases from the release will eventually move Apple products into the luxury category and push out once-loyal, but more cost-conscience consumers. While the $1,000-plus price tags are too rich for many Americans, Apple is reportedly charging double to Europeans, according to Forbes.

Here’s the rundown on the iPhones slated to ship this week (Xs, Xs Max) and next month (XR):

iPhone XR (starting at $749)

The new entry level iPhone debuts a 6.1 inch liquid retina display, a 12MP camera and water resistance to one meter for up to 30 minutes. Capacity ranges from 64GB to 256GB. Full specs are available from Apple here. You have more color choices with this model. It comes in white, black, blue, yellow, coral and (PRODUCT)REDTM to support HIV/AIDS programs.

iPhone Xs (starting at $999)

The iPhone Xs includes an improved dual-camera system with true-tone flash and new sensors for better portrait pictures. The front-facing camera is double the speed and offers improvements to the facial recognition system, FaceID, used to unlock the device. Regardless, the camera features are less impressive than the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Note 9’s variable apertures or the triple lens and 3x optical zoom seen in other brands, according to CNET. Storage capacity for both the Xs and the Xs Max is higher than the XR at 512GB, and you’ll get an extra 30 minutes of battery life out of the deal. Here’s a look at the iPhone Xs technical specs. You can pick up the iPhone Xs in white, space gray or the newly offered gold.

iPhone Xs Max (starting at $1,099)

Bigger than Plus screens, the Xs Max has a larger display than any iPhone before it at 6.5inches, but the overall device dimensions and weight are extremely similar to the iPhone 8 Plus. The size difference is one of few variances between the Xs and the Xs Max. Get into the tech details here. Just as with the Xs, the iPhone Xs Max comes in white, space gray and gold.

Beyond the anticipated iPhone features, comes the Apple Watch Series 4 with enough variation from the Series 3 to make it worth noticing.

Apple Watch Series 4 ($399 – $499)

The Watch is a more impressive upgrade with unique fitness tracking and health features, including electrocardiogram (ECG) capabilities, sensed through the fingertip, that are FDA approved. The ECG app will be out later this year. The Series 4 also includes a Fall Detector and Emergency SOS to safeguard the wearer. With two options available – GPS or GPS + Cellular, the lower cost Watch comes without steel, a slightly smaller screen size and no cellular connectivity. While the Series 4 has a larger case, it’s still thinner than the Series 3 and claims a processor that is double the speed. Battery life clocks in at 18 hours. More details are available here. Meanwhile, Apple continues its brand partnerships with Nike for sports enthusiasts and luxury brand, Hermes, by offering designs specific to each.