Google’s August algorithm update strengthens as roll-out continues.

We’ve already published our initial analysis on the recent Google update where we highlighted a number of ‘Your Money, Your Life’ examples. The update, focusing clearly on sensitive topics, is continuing to roll out. We’re seeing growing impact as it continues. (05.08) After further analysis we’ve got more information for you. 

Impact grows as roll-out continues

The results of the algorithm update are showing up in continuing steps which is why we only saw a limited effect from changes rolled out last week.  Changes seen at the weekend have now resulted in a bigger overall magnitude

On Friday and Monday we saw changes in our daily visibility indexes that were as big as previous major algorithm updates.  56 percent of all large domains saw a Visibility Index change of over 5 percent.

Danny Sullivan has, via Twitter,  shared the information that the update may continue until the middle of the week.

A few days. Say by middle of next week, should be fully rolled out.


Sites with sensitive topics hit hard

It’s easy to see an above-average number of domains that deal with sensitive topics being affected by this update. Health and finance pages are included, along with similar topics in pages referred to by Google as “Your Money or Your Life” pages in the Google Quality Rater Guidelines.

Google has set extremely high standards for this category of pages and content based on the fact they could have a negative effect on the health, finance or security of the user.

Winners. Who gained from the update in the UK?

Unlike Penguin or Panda, whose updates negatively target just one type of content, this update is directly producing both winners and losers. It looks like Google is rewarding and ranking certain content better than before.

To get a feel for some of the typical winners, take a look at the list below.

List of domains that have gained visibility through the Google update.
uptodate.com5.136.28+22% (Health section)9.1710.76+17%
drugs.com8.049.24+15% education12.7614.39+13%

It’s clear to see that the majority of domains in the list are YMYL (Your money, your life) related. Finance-related content appears to play a role in the not-so-obvious domains too.

Losers. Who lost from the update in the UK?

Just as with the winners, many of the losers are related to the health and finance sector.

List of domains that have lost visibility through the Google update.

Interestingly UK’s National Health Service in Wales got hit with a 17% loss in visibility although we’ve seen some of their content duplicated at which is, of course, a different issue altogether.

Changes in the Google Quality Rater Guidelines

A few weeks ago, for the first time in a year, Google made significant changes to the Google Quality Rater Guidelines. This extensive guide doesn’t have a direct influence on rankings but they do feed-back into Googles algorithm change process and are a big indication of how Google will consider certain topics.

One of the main changes in the document relates to the so-called E-A-T considerations for content. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

Google is setting the bar for sensitive content even higher. Take a look at this example, taken from the guideline.

High E-A-T medical advice should be written or produced by people or organizations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation. High E-A-T medical advice or information should be written or produced in a professional style and should be edited, reviewed, and updated on a regular basis.“

The document has grown to 164 pages long but is taken very seriously as it deals directly and seriously with SEO. No other source indicates Google’s perspective on web search with so much clarity and definition.


The third-biggest Google algorithm update of the year has blown search results all over the place. When you take a look at the results, however, you’ll see a clear trend towards sites dealing with sensitive topics. Changes in the Google Quality Rater Guidelines show a clear direction: Only the best quality content has a future in Google SERPs.

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