"The Medic Update" literally
broke the internet…
I am an occasional contributor here and have been since almost the start of my SEO career.
Recent events have made me question my knowledge, my judgement and my ability to diagnose an issue related to organic Google search.
I work for an online pharmacy / chemist, I have an outstanding team of digital marketers.
Working in this field is naturally more complicated than working in a non-regulated sector.
We have done everything possible from an E-A-T perspective, prior to the ‘Medic Update’, to ensure that our customers can trust us.
Let’s face it, from the word go we are battling ‘buying medicines online’ – it already sounds non-legitimate and potentially fraudulent, as opposed to walking into a local chemist where the trust is instant.
This is why we position ourselves as a friendly, trustworthy and accessible online chemist.
Rewind to 27th September 2018 and there was, for us, a significant algorithm update that caused a 70% decrease in organic traffic which translates to a monumental loss of revenue.
It was like a light switch being flicked off.
The news that followed pointed at E-A-T.
My issue is that when an algo update has previously been rolled out and a client has seen a decrease, I can usually diagnose the issue and/or will know in my gut feeling that I already know what the issue is.
In this case, I had no idea… and I still have no idea what has gone wrong.
I have had advice from real SEO figureheads as well as other industry professionals that I trust a lot.
I have spoken to competitors both in our country and other and still I have no clue what went wrong.
As it stands, I am confident and certain that the search results are broken.
Over a month after the update, we were still seeing awful search results.
An example, "buy codeine linctus", page 1 results included a Japanese, non ecommerce website with the only mention of the work ‘codeine’ in the URL, and the entire page in Japanese.
Even today, a search for another popular produce, "buy phenergan", we are being outranked by Australian ecommerce websites who sit on page 1.
The basics of Google Search are broken.
I’m in the UK, I am looking to buy a product.
Clearly the right result here is to provide UK ecommerce search results.
Their result (I don’t belive they ship to the UK either): https://www.chemistwarehouse.com.au/…5mg-50-tablets
Our page: https://www.chemist-4-u.com/phenergan-25mg-tablets-56s
We have clear imagery, options to buy different strengths, links to the official information leaflet, safety advice, extensive product description, links to help and advice guides, mentions of how we are regulated, we have our content checked for quality and accuracy by professional pharmacists
The list goes on.
This single example is the top of the iceberg – I am convinced there is an issue with the current algo and I feel there must be another significant update coming in the next couple of months.