On August 1, 2018, Google rolled out an update to its core search algorithm. According to Google, this was a broad, global core update.

Google verified the update in a Tweet:

This update is unofficially being referred to as the “Medic Update,” because of what appears to be a focus on health and medical sites. Though Google will not confirm the specific focus of this update, it seems that there may have been a focus on Your Money or Your Life pages — according to SearchEngineLand — which include law firm websites.

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages, according to Google, are those pages which could affect the health, happiness, or finances of a search engine user who finds them.

According to Google’s Search Quality Ratings, pages that “[offer] advice on major life issues that could impact your future happiness and finances, such as pages giving legal or financial advice,” fall under this category.

Google has noted that these broad algorithm updates are designed to “[benefit] pages that were previously under-rewarded,” and that there’s “no fix for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content.”

About Google’s Search Algorithm Updates and Your Law Firm’s Website

Google often makes adjustments to improve its results — sometimes, it makes small adjustments on a daily basis. Most people don’t notice these small, incremental changes.

However, Google also releases more extensive algorithm updates several times a year, such as the August 2018 update. Google doesn’t always confirm these changes, but it did in the case of the latest algorithm update.

These are the updates that often make the news in the SEO world. While these updates may cause some to panic, at LawLytics, we love it when these updates are rolled out: when law firms follow our methodology and use our platform, they typically see across the board gains.

In fact, all of the LawLytics bellwether accounts that we monitor saw statistically meaningful jumps in traffic after this August 2018 update.

If you’ve been staying on the right side of Google’s guidelines and you’re focused on high-quality content creation for your law firm’s website, you’re on the right track.

Google will continue to refine its algorithms to provide the best search results for users, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see more Google updates that are focused on the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness of YMYL websites.

To learn more about what Google expects of law firm websites — and how to create better, higher-quality content that demonstrates expertise, trustworthiness and authority, you can read about Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, or read our eBook series on how to play the SEO game the right way.