If you keep up to date with Google’s broad core algorithm updates, you’ll know why finding expert writers is vital for content success — especially when it comes to recovering from Google’s Medic update. If you don’t, a small explanation might be necessary. 

Have no clue what we’re talking about? We’ll break it down for you. 

In August 2018, Google rolled out an update to determine website, page and content quality. This should have been a common update by Google where some websites (namely those with poor content quality and spammy features) received ranking drops. But the Google Medic update caused quite a stir among search specialists. Renowned search writer Barry Schwartz first named the update the Medic update after his analysis of how different websites were affected. He found that almost half of the total websites affected were health-related. 

This led the digital marketing community to conclude that Google was cracking down on sites categorised as Your Money or Your Life (YMYL). YMYL is Google terminology for content that can have an influential impact on a reader’s wellbeing or financial status.  

Since Google is so secretive when it comes to updates, it’s hard to pin down why this is happening. All we can do is make an educated guess about Google’s motives. Referring to Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, it’s plain to see that the search engine is reliant on a set of metrics called E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness). These three metrics are thought to be the backbone of Google’s algorithm and the premise of Google’s rulebook on content quality. 

Google’s Medic update appeared to focus heavily on expertise (the E in E-A-T) specifically when a page was health-related or potentially life-altering. This included websites advising readers about weight loss or existing to counsel visitors about debt. 

Now you know why you should be sourcing experts for your content, we’ll focus on how to do it. In this article, we’ll outline five key ways to find experts post-Google Medic (some easier than others). 

Hire Marketers with an Expert Background 

If your agency has several clients in a given niche, such as medicine or finance, it might be worth considering hiring a permanent employee. In this case, your job description should stipulate that content writers with an expert background in that specific industry are preferred. 

However, be aware that as with any other employee versus freelancer situation, you’ll be making a slight compromise in that this option might end up being more costly. Plus, once you hire the individual, it’s likely that their knowledge base will be limited to what they knew before they were onboarded. Of course, there are a few exceptions to this rule, such as if a writer is particularly motivated, passionate and engaged and likely to choose to learn about this niche as a hobby. Otherwise, you’ll likely get a limited amount of value from this candidate before they become another standard content writer with the same bag of tricks.  

With that said, there still might be some scope to find experts this way. Perhaps you’ll score a super-qualified individual who’s looking to change professions or who has recently retired from a lifelong career and wants to supplement their pension with a low-pressure job role. 

Infiltrate Niche Facebook Groups 

This is a handy way to hire relevant freelancers for one-off gigs, although it will take some time, patience and discretion (on your part). 

Facebook is full of small communities that congregate to talk about a certain subject. While you might be part of a group for agency owners, medical professionals and finance experts are joining their own groups to discuss industry-related issues. 

Following this route, you might hit a stumbling block, as some groups are stricter than others about allowing non-professionals to become members or about advertising work. But if you do find a group that’s lenient about access, you’ll have the golden ticket to thousands of experts who can provide a comment or pick up a job in seconds. 

If you’re looking to pick up new expert writers all of the time, you might even be inclined to create your own group. By building your own community of relevant experts, you’ll be able to post job adverts as a page moderator and receive relevant replies straight to your inbox. 

Reach Out to Authors Who Rank Well

If your job is to rank for a specific search phrase or gain traction in a niche area like dentistry, then it’s worth checking out your competitors’ content. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) agencies, we’re speaking to you. Does the author of the content piece work specifically for the highest ranking publication, or are they an expert freelancer who you could also source for your own piece?

Of course, this route can be time-consuming and requires some in-depth research. In other words, it actually requires you to read the articles — after all, you don’t want to accidentally hire a writer whose work is full of bad grammar and punctuation mistakes. But it can be a great way to connect with experts who are open to writing jobs. Shock horror, not all economists and dentists want to sit about solely doing their trade. 

To find experts who already use writing as a side-hustle, dig deep into publications like Medium, where you can explore by topics. Once you click on a topic, Medium always highlights a featured writer — they’re usually a safe bet for high-quality and engaging writing.

Use Online Tools to Find Writers by Content Topic  

There are plenty of paid and free tools to find journalists in a given field, but none are easier to use than Buzzsumo. You can use Buzzsumo’s Influencer tab to find active writers filtered by content topic, keyword or username. 

Within the search results, you can further filter by: 

  • Page Authority 
  • Domain Authority
  • Number of Followers
  • Retweet Ratio 
  • Average Retweets 
  • Instagram Authority 

This really lets you know who you’re dealing with and allows you to assess the ballpark price you’ll need to pay to get a given influencer to agree to your job opening. The only real downside to this method is being directed to the individual’s Twitter account — not always the best platform to open up a business conversation. This makes the entire process time-consuming as you’ll have to fish for other contact information. 

Hire Expert Freelancers on a Trusted Platform

Perhaps the easiest way to find freelancers post-Google Medic is through trusted platforms designed for this very purpose. 

This route works for high-level article briefs, high-profile clients and those with big ranking ambitions. Using a site like Kolabtree allows any business to post a project for free. Relevant freelance scientists, data analysts and statisticians are then notified and able to bid on the work. Needless to say, this is a platform to visit when things get serious. 

It’s worth noting that Kolabtree does have a strict focus on science and research; think high-brow topics that desperately need to satisfy Google’s E-A-T guidelines. If you’re looking to publish an article providing medical advice or a blog post providing solid research information, platforms like this are a good fit — an article on the best fashion trends of the year, however? Not so suitable.

For health-related websites struggling to recover from Google’s Medic update, this might be one of the only ways of increasing your website’s ranking. Authors on this platform often hold accreditations, such as a PhD, and have a narrow specialism that makes them a legitimate expert — not only in the eyes of users but, crucially, Google too. In short, if you’re taking a scientific angle in your next piece of content, it helps to have the insight of an actual scientist who can back up your facts, figures and ideas.

About the Author: Ramya Sriram is a UK-based digital content writer and marketer. She manages communications at Kolabtree, a London-based startup that helps businesses hire freelance scientists online. Her experience spans 10 years in publishing, advertising, and digital content creation.