Maccabees Update: A Series Of Updates

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.

What’s It For

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.

What Were Its Effects

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:

  • Shady Links – Inbound links from unauthoritative sites have always posed a problem for websites and Maccabees improved the search engine’s detection of it.
  • Thin Content – Thin content refers to blog posts that don’t provide something of value to users. As mentioned above, the update enhanced how Google assessed a page’s content and how it rates them.
    Index Bloat – This happens when the search engine indexes pages from your domain that shouldn’t be found in the directory.
  • Poor UX – Slow website loading time can lead to unsatisfactory user experience, and this update helps alert webmasters to improve their site speed.

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:

  • Check Out Google’s Related Searches Section The related searches part of the SERP can give you an idea of what information users are looking for about your target keywords. You just need to type in a short search term and check the list for what words or phrases are being added by people to narrow down the results and get more specific yet relevant answers to their queries.
  • Immerse Yourself in Forums and Community Discussions Another valuable platform is forums and community discussions where you get to acquire first-hand knowledge on what your target audience wants to learn about. It’s the place where you discover thousands of questions and even more people answering them.
    To look for forums and discussions or threads related to your brand, you can type in your primary keyword and add the words “forums,” “board,” or “discussion.” After finding a bustling online community, you can then check out the titles of the threads to see what the trending topics are for the day.
  • Go the Traditional Route with Google Autocomplete Google’s autocomplete feature in the search box is the most straightforward yet most valuable tool in finding new long-tail keywords. You won’t go wrong with the suggestions since they come from the search engine itself.
    You can type in your primary keyword and check out the other search terms recommended by Google. Another way is to search for your key phrase and add a single letter after it to display other popular searches done by users for that particular string of words.