In mid-December 2017, the webmaster community buzzed with chatter since analytical tools showed a shuffle in the SERPs. It was unofficially deemed as the Maccabees update. Google announced that only small tweaks were conducted around the time that site owners reported losing or gaining rankings for their pages instead of one massive change in the algorithm.
As with most updates rolled out by Google, this change was a step toward improving relevancy. There were beliefs that the Fred update, which was launched a few months earlier, was part of this set.
Improvements in the core algorithm often entail:
Boosting the search engine’s ability to evaluate the relevance of a query
Enhancing how Google scores inbound links
Improving how search bots assess page content and give an appropriate score
There are two primary assumptions on what the Maccabees update was all about. First, some believed that it prioritized mobile-friendly websites while others implied that the desktop version of a page is given more priority.
Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable gave the update its moniker based on the Jewish holiday that was being celebrated around the time of its release. The occasion served to commemorate the Maccabean Revolt, which led to the establishment of the Jews’ place of worship around 167 to 160 B.C.
With affiliate websites taking a significant hit, it is believed that the update related to online shopping. However, not all e-commerce websites got affected; only those that published lots of ads within the content. Both the mobile and desktop versions of a page got affected for this type of domain.
One webmaster experienced a drop in organic traffic between 25 to 30 percent. Another site owner reported that high-volume keywords for which they’ve gotten the top spots in the results pages for slipped and came down to the ninth or tenth place.
Other possible impacts that the Maccabees update had was on:
What It Means for You
A noticeable impact that the Maccabees update had was on landing pages with keyword variants. This was a popular SEO tactic that had webmasters creating a single web page that uses several variations of a word. It was a spammy technique at best, and that’s why Google put a stop to it.
To improve your long-tail keyword game, here are some tips on how to look for lengthy search terms to use for your brand: