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Google Maccabees Update: Impact and Recovery

Google Maccabees Update: Impact and Recovery

The Maccabees update is just one part of a long tradition of algorithm “improvements” Google has been implementing. The update rolled out in December of 2017, and many businesses are still trying to manage the aftermath of this new algorithm change. Many web sites were hit by the update because their content did not meet the new, higher standard Google demands. What is this update all about? What can you do about your web site if you’ve been hit? Here’s everything you need to know about the Maccabees update, and how you can improve your web site.

What Is the Google Maccabees Algorithm Update and What Does It Mean?

The Google Maccabees algorithm update is a new update by the search engine giant that works almost like an extension of the previous Fred algorithm update, but focuses more on user experience. A few years ago, marketers and SEO technicians began to see the value of long-tail keywords and answering customer questions. When this new success tactic was found, professionals found a way to take advantage of it and manipulate it. Now, companies can create low-quality web pages for similar long-tail keywords, known as “keyword permutations.” This has become a more prominent strategy for professionals, however, it created a more irrelevant user experience that Google did not appreciate. The main goal of the Google Maccabees update is to promote and support web sites that have high quality and readability, and essentially punish sites that did not meet that standard of quality user experience.

Keyword Permutations

Keyword permutations are multiple phrases or long-tail keywords that mean the same thing. When SEO companies and marketing managers began to create multiple pages for each of their almost-identical keyword permutations, they got hit by the new Google algorithm update. For example, if you have a professional plumbing company and you want to rank for the keyword, “how to plunge a toilet,” you might want to create five similar pages targeting variations of the same long-tail keyword, instead of just making one incredible page. Some alternatives to the keyword may include, “how to plunge a toilet fast,” “how to plunge a clogged toilet,” “how to unclog a toilet with a plunger,” or “how to use a plunger.” While this tactic did help professionals rank for all those key phrases, they created a confusing and often useless user experience. You need to make sure you are giving visitors valuable information, not simply trying to rank for keywords.

Fred Symptoms

Google’s previous update, “Fred,” penalized web sites for providing unclear and thin content that lacked purpose. The new Maccabees update also includes this feature, targeting black-hat tactics connected to aggressive monetization on web sites. Google aims to prevent businesses from overloading their web sites with ads, and providing low-value content with few user benefits. Web sites targeted by Google’s update had one or more of the following:

  • An extremely large presence of ads
  • Bigger form content on all sorts of topics created for ranking purposes
  • Content has ads or affiliate links spread throughout, and the quality of content is far below industry-specific sites
  • Deceptive ads (looks like a download or play button to trick someone into clicking)
  • Thin content
  • UX barriers
  • Mobile problems
  • Aggressive affiliate setups
  • Aggressive monetization

What Kinds of Sites Are Affected by This Update?

If you are concerned that your site has been affected by the update, here’s how you can be sure. If you were affected, you would notice a significant drop in organic search traffic, especially from Google. To resolve this penalty, you will need to spring into action and fix all your web pages as soon as possible, or rethink your ad display on your web site. Here are some additional warning signs and patterns you should be aware of:

  • The Maccabees update affected all kinds of web sites. Sites affected include e-commerce, blogs, travel, affiliate sites, and more.
  • The update especially targeted sites with excessive keyword permutations. These sites took the biggest hit in traffic.
  • Pages with thin content and multiple ads and affiliate links were hit.

How to Recover from This Core Update

While responding to every change to Google’s algorithm is not a productive SEO strategy, the Maccabees update seems to be a significant change for web sites and may have negative long-lasting results. In this case, you should go through your web pages and make sure you are providing high-quality information, and make readability a priority. This will make your site more engaging for users, and will mitigate any negative impact your site has been seeing since the update was released. Instead of stuffing your pages with keywords and landing pages, you should condense some of these pages into one richer page. Focus your time and energy on researching the best few keywords, and make sure your content is valuable to your audience. Google’s algorithm is getting better at detecting when keywords are being overused to boost SEO. If you make these changes, you will make Google happy, rank higher, and please your human readers as your content will be easier to read.

How Numero Uno Web Solutions Can Help You

Responding to Google’s new update should be at the top of your priority list, but going through your entire web site and changing every web page content can be a time-consuming task. The job must be done, so if you need help improving your SEO strategy, working with the right agency in Toronto is a great plan of action. At Numero Uno Web Solutions, we provide our clients with many marketing solutions such as SEO, ORM strategy development, content audit services, online reputation management, web designing and development, and more. We are a content and search engine marketing agency in the Greater Toronto Area that specializes in helping small- to medium-sized businesses improve their web sites, especially in important circumstances like this. For years, we have helped clients across the GTA, Texas, Massachusetts, and Florida, boost their marketing strategies and grow their businesses. Call us at 1-855-SEO-XPRT to learn more about the services and expertise we provide at our Vaughan location.

About Adrian Newman, BA

President, Numero Uno Web Solutions

Adrian has been in the performance marketing industry for over 25 years and is the co-founder of Numero Uno Web Solutions.

Adrian has been involved in virtually every facet of direct and digital marketing from copywriting and graphic design to database management and production.

A BA graduate of York University, Adrian has volunteered as a mentor with his alma mater's Career Mentorship Program for students with disabilities and has been a director for public real estate investment trust.