Successfully Recovering From the Google Medic Update – A Case Study

The medic update was one of the largest algorithm updates in the last decade, and it affected a huge number of websites on the internet. How you approach a site being penalized, the steps you take, and the data you measure are all essential in creating a successful recovery response that manages to help recover lost traffic and improve positions on SERPs.

That’s why we decided to compile this study using data and information from one of our campaigns managing the recovery for one of the biggest players in the Lithuanian dental industry.

A Brief Description of the Problem

We were initially contacted by the prospective client in August when his site was getting hit by the initial rollout of the algorithm. He was already working with a local Lithuanian SEO agency trying to restore his traffic.

It is safe to say that whatever the Lithuanian agency was doing wasn’t producing any tangible results, and our client was losing patience with them.

This was the situation when we entered the picture: a despondent client quickly losing organic traffic, already having a bad experience with another SEO agency, looking for a way to restore traffic to his website.

How We Approached The Situation

We finalized the terms of the contract with the client in November of 2018 – we knew the dire situation the client was in – the constant deteriorating organic traffic was putting constant strain on our client and he needed to see results fast.

We already have a comprehensive action plan designed by our SEO specialists to specifically deal with algorithm updates, and we started working on the company ASAP. That’s why we moved to pinpoint the issues immediately and ran comprehensive audits examining every aspect of the site:

Off-Site Audit

Although the medic update was expansive and changed and fine-tuned various aspects of the algorithm, one of its primary focus was checking the trustworthiness and scientificity of sites on the site, and they did that by focusing on E.A.T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) of each website. One of the primary ways Google determines this is through checking the backlink portfolio of the website, how is it reviewed, and where does it appear.

That’s why a comprehensive off-site audit is required to compile the site’s backlinks, check its standing, etc. to get the full picture. This was one of the first things we did when we received the project. Thoroughly checking the site’s backlink portfolio, pinpointing the low-quality links that might signal low quality, and disavowing them held immediate improvements in traffic.

On-Site Audit

We segment our on-site audit by focusing on the technical and the content sides of the website separately. This allows us to collect more accurate information about the site and pinpoint which aspects of the site are not up to snuff.

Although, this website was special in that it was already being handled by another SEO agency, and a lot of the optimizations were already implemented, so we needed to dig beneath the surface to ensure we don’t miss anything that might hurt the site’s standing with Google.

Technical Audit

Regardless of the situation, when we do a technical update, we always check the site’s speed with various tools to ensure the site loads quickly and feels snappy. It is one of the most important variables in ranking and it is reasonably easy to fix. That’s why it is a great place to start.

GTMetrix:

Lighthouse:

Pingdom Tools:

As you can see, the site was reasonably optimized and needed little action to improve. After compiling data from all three tools, we managed to come with a few actionable suggestions to ensure the site loads faster:

  • Sharing resources from a consistent URL.
  • Minimizing the number of resources blocking rendering.
  • Additional image compression.
Site structure, internal linking, and navigation are all building blocks of a successful SEO campaign. This was where our client had the most amount of problems: there were several bad internal links, inconsistent URL scheming, bad redirects, inappropriate use of headings, and much more.
As brand-related pages were hurt the most, we also ensured that the brand was properly emphasized on the website. We did this by judicially integrating the brand into the macrodata of the site and properly placing it in headings. This emphasized the importance of the brand and improved its standing with Google.

Content Audit and Analysis

The quality and the relevancy of the content has a considerable impact on the site’s ranking and subsequently traffic. Furthermore, we recognized some landing pages were more deeply impacted than others on the SERPs.

We started our content audit by analyzing these landing pages, comparing them with the rest of the landing pages, and pinpointing the weaknesses in the content.

After finishing up with that, we moved to analyzing specific keywords and correlating them with the content and the quality of each landing page.

The landing pages saw the biggest drop in ranking for which keywords? Where are these keywords most prominently featured? Do those landing pages share anything in common that might point to a problem? These are all examples of questions we ask ourselves when auditing the content.

Further Development Opportunities

At Neadoo, we look at our work with each of our clients as a long-term partnership. So, it wasn’t only important to audit and pinpoint short-term and quick fixes to help the business out of its current predicament, but it is important to have a clear outline for further development and improvements that ensures the business’s success for years to come.

In this vein, we created a content plan sketching out potential keywords they could target, markets they could expand to, and landing pages they could create to expand their audience and increase their revenues.

Our Results

After extensive work implementing all the recommendations we set out in the auditing documents, we managed to more than treble the traffic to the site in less than two months.

In fact, not only did we manage to help the site have a successful recovery, we reached new heights of more than 10 thousand clicks in just a few months.
We are still working with the client and helping him grow.

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