This case study provides the steps taken by Clever Solution’s SEO specialists to help our client recover after a 50% decline in traffic. Our goal was to build an image of trust and authority in the eyes of both search engines and target users.
About the Client
Our client is a physical therapy clinic located in New York City that specializes in sports medicine. The clinic provides chiropractic care, physical therapy, injury rehab and sports performance services. SEO is used as the main sales channel for the clinic’s website, accounting for over 90% of marketing. Tough competition is characteristic of the health services niche. Large healthcare providers occupy 50% of the top of search results, while mid-sized private clinics compete for the remaining space.
The client turned to Clever Solution to solve the following problems:
- decrease in traffic
- reduced number of calls
- website pages displaced from the top of search rankings by new competing clinics
Rankings are often shuffled after major updates to Google’s algorithms. Websites that occupied top positions for years often drop to pages 2-4, while new competitors claim the spotlight.
Google released the new YMYL (Your Money Your Life) algorithm in August 2018, and we suspected that the website’s rankings had worsened because of this update.
Prior to the traffic drop, another team had managed the website. They were unable to determine the reasons for the downward trend, and the client’s SEO metrics continued to rapidly worsen.
The website’s sharp traffic drop is visualized on this chart from Google Analytics:
As you can see, 1.5 months after the new algorithm’s release, the website lost more than 50% of its traffic.
Our team was familiar with the YMYL update, as well as requirements for the quality of websites in the Health category. We approached the problem armed with:
- A proven SEO checklist fully compliant with E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) requirements
- An understanding of the main ranking factors applicable after the release of the YMYL algorithm
We will go into more detail about:
- The main problems detected when auditing the clinic’s website
- Our solutions to restore traffic from organic search
Lack of Evidence of the Content Authors’ Authority
Authority is a key consideration of the YMYL update. Website owners need to show search engines that the content they publish is written by professionals.
We showcased the content author’s credibility in the following ways:
- Research published by the client was posted on authoritative niche platforms. We placed links to external content in a special block and displayed it on website pages with corresponding topics.
For example, an on-site article about dry needling provides a block with links to authoritative third-party platforms where the client’s research on dry needling is posted.
- The clinical director had multiple scientific certificates and awards that could also be used to verify his expertise. We published these documents on pages that needed to be quickly elevated in search.
It is important to highlight such blocks with headers.
- A block with the author’s biography helps build trust and authority. It should contain the author’s name, a brief description of their professional activities, and a link to an extended version of the “About the Author” page. It is not recommended to overload this block with highly specific details.
- The title corresponds to the body content and is highlighted with an H tag
- The author’s name is formatted as a link to the expanded bio featuring education, awards, participation in conferences, and other scientific activities
If everything is done correctly, this block fulfills its main purpose: to build trust in the eyes of visitors and search engines.
Lack of References to Authoritative Sources
The Internet is full of inaccurate pseudo-scientific research data. Much of it is potentially dangerous content that is strictly controlled by search engines.
The client’s website provides information of value to human health, including medical advice and descriptions of treatment technologies. We always provide references to authoritative resources that underscore the credibility of our content.
Throughout the entire optimization process, we added the following features to the website:
– new unique texts with more detailed explanations and relevant information
– new videos to complement the textual content
– new photos featuring treatment processes
– infographics that made the content more reader-friendly and engaging
This part of SEO work is extremely important, since it directly affects rankings. Based the idea that inaccurate and obsolete medical information can be dangerous to human health, Google removes old content from top positions in search. To improve the relevance and quality of the information published on the client’s website, we either updated or deleted older content.
The measures we took to bring the website into compliance with YMYL requirements restored the trust of search engines and increased traffic:
This graph compares the results for December 2018 – January 2019 (the period when the filter was applied) with the same months a year later, without the filter.
Detailed optimization results:
If your website has lost its position in search results, the following changes may signal that it has been affected by the YMYL update:
- A sharp decline in organic search traffic
- No steady traffic growth
These symptoms may indicate a decrease in the credibility of your website due to its non-compliance with E-A-T and YMYL requirements. This is especially common for platforms falling within the following categories:
- medicine and health
- science and research
- finance and law
- lifestyle and fitness
Negative traffic dynamics may also stem from other problems. Clever Solution thoroughly analyzes traffic throughout the entire lifecycle of our clients’ websites. We pinpoint the reasons for worsening rankings and build customized SEO strategies to satisfy the unique goals and needs of each business.