Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update: The Maccabees Update

on Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Google Maccabees Update

There is currently both a lot of chatter in the SEO forums and many of the tools are lighting up around major changes in the Google search results. It is rare for there to be this must chatter this late in December in any of the forums, so when the WebmasterWorld thread started to get busy late December 13th through December 14th, it was something that caught my attention.

It seems like the update touched down on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.

In addition, many, but not all, of the tools are showing big swings in the Google search results. When you have both signals, SEO chatter and tools, start lighting up, it is a good sign something major changed in the core ranking algorithm with Google search.

Here are some of the comments from the thread:
My non seasonal site that never fluctuates unless its an actual holiday dropped 30% of it's traffic yesterday Dec 12.
My Site also dropped approx. 25% on 12 December. No seasonal content.
Massive drop from Tuesday onwards. SERPS for our keywords are all over the place with multiple duplicates. Likewise seen a steady decline since September. We're essentially back to traffic levels in June 2016. Hope Google stops messing around soon!
Like others, I had a major drop in Google organic traffic on Tuesday. A page that has ranked #1 for years went down to #9. It was replaced by outdated articles on major sites that had far less relevance. Other highly ranked pages dropped as well. 
We've been down noticeably (though not drastically) since December 12, too, with no obviously discernible pattern: Some of our most popular pages are doing better than ever, but others have slipped.  
35% drop on my main site starting December 11 (same day my mother passed away). Many pages that ranked top three for years.dropped five to ten positions. Some pages no rank drop. 
We've also experienced a noticeable drop across our sites on or around December 12th. Like some of you sites which have held the top spot for keywords for several years have dropped 5 or 6 places in the rankings and have been replaced with low quality sites. 
On one search result where I went from #2 to #9. The top three spots are now from the same site.The funny thing is (or not so funny) they have a featured snippet in #1 spot and the image in the snippet is taken from my site. So if you click on the image, then click visit site it takes you to my article. 

So check your analytics, see if your Google traffic changed significantly around December 12th or 13th. Check your Google Search Analytics in Google Search Console, it should have data through the 13th. And check your keywords to see if anything changed there.

There does seem to be a big Google ranking update - let's call it the Google Maccabees update since it happened during the holiday of Chanukah? For more on the the Maccabees, check out Wikipedia, it makes for a good name for a Google update. :)

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Update: If you were hit by this update, please take our survey over here.

Update at 2pm EST 12/20: Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that there were some updates aroujnd this time. The statment Google sent was "we released several minor improvements during this timeframe, part of our regular and routine efforts to improve relevancy." 

Quick & Actionable SEO Tips 3/3

on Thursday, 9 November 2017

Cont..Quick & Actionable SEO Tips Part 2

63. If you’re hiding divs in your CSS, stop and clean it up.

64. Fresh content can give your rankings a little boost. This content doesn’t have to be new content on the homepage. It can come from your blog content as well.

65. Adding breadcrumbs to your site will enhance not only your SEO but also your user experience.

66. Avoid long redirect chains to help search engines crawl your site faster.

67. When using images, try to get the vector format image file. These types of files scale better, giving you better image quality on multiple devices.

68. Consider getting a content delivery network (CDN) to host your images. A CDN helps speed up your website.

69. If you haven’t switched to HTTPS and you’re running AMP pages, you will need to change soon. Maile Ohye from Google shared at the SEJ Summit that HTTPS will be required for AMP, but John Mueller recently stated it is not yet an AMP requirement.

70. If you have products with very close descriptions and names, use the canonical tag instead of redirecting it.

71. Nofollow links were first created to identify paid links. Today, most sites use them for external links in case you link to a low-quality site.

72. Always nofollow links listed in forums or comments. The same goes for sponsorships, advertising, and press releases.

73. With the launch of Google Allo, you’re going to want to increase your quality reviews for your local business. The businesses in the closest vicinity with the most reviews get top priority.

74. Check to make sure your NAP across local citations is the same across all channels.

75. Google increased the character limit of title tags to 70 characters. Make sure you’re optimizing for all characters. However, be sure to check if characters are cut off on mobile.

76. Google also extended the length of meta descriptions to 200 characters on desktop and 172 on mobile.

77. While having a privately hosted domain won’t affect your search rankings, having shared hosting may cause your site to get indexed less. Search engines index based on IP address and when they are multiple IP addresses, search engines can get too many signals.

78. If you want to get seen on the first page of search results, launch a paid campaign for your non-branded and branded keyword terms that you want to appear in search. Test and experiment with these to determine what keyword terms are working for you then integrate into your organic efforts.

79. You do not need to use exact match keyword terms. Google can associate your topical keyword search terms thanks to semantic search.

80. If you’re trying to structure your keyword buckets based on density, stop. Keyword density hasn’t been a thing for many moons.

81. When you’re hyperlinking internally, you do not need to link with your keyword terms internally. But it does help if the content surrounding the link is related to your main keywords.

82. While Google AMP pages may seem bare bones, you can add forms to capture leads.

83. Personalize your call-to-actions based on a referral. You can also do this based on location and keyword search query.

84. On your Google AMP pages, you can implement Scroll Tracking with Google Tag Manager.

85. When you’re working with influencers or getting your content posted to another site, do a quick search to see when their pages were last cached by searching “cache: URL”. If it’s more than a month old, save your content for somewhere else.

86. Voice search queries for locations will continue to grow. Think about incorporating phrases like “near me” in your content and ad strategy.

87. Develop content in a conversational tone to rank for voice search queries.

88. Social bookmarks do still matter, but they are growing into communities. How you engage on your social networks is how you should engage on your social bookmarks. Social bookmarks are not a one-time submit-your-link-and-that’s-it. You need to have a conversation, leave a few comments, or upvote other content not related to your content.

89. Retailers and e-commerce brands should integrate visual search into their marketing strategy. Pinterest is leading the way for visual search. Pinterest gives you the option to highlight a section of an image then create a search for that part you highlighted. Google Lens and other applications are also stepping up their game.

90. Thanks to artificial intelligence, we see a rise of chatbots. Chatbots allow brands to interact with consumers in a more human-like way. H&M is a good example of a brand utilizing chatbots.

91. When choosing a domain name, stick to 15 characters or less. Short domain names are easier for people to remember.

92. If you’re an e-commerce site, do not use the manufacturer’s description when writing your product descriptions. Take the time to rewrite engaging product descriptions for the user and search engines.

93. If you have a sudden drop in traffic, it could be due to a penalty. Check your email and Google Search Console to see if they sent you a manual penalty notification.

94. The sudden drop in traffic could also be due to keyword loss. Check to see if your competitors have started ranking for similar keyword terms with new content they are producing.

95. Start testing with Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, with the new mobile-first index. PWAs will deliver a mobile site if a user comes to your site from their smartphone tablet. Major brands like The Weather Channel and Lyft are already testing this, and you don’t want to get left behind. PWAs are beneficial to brands that drive revenue through ads. They are an excellent alternative to AMP.

96. If you’re a new business starting out, invest in high-quality content. Also consider switching up your metadata to reflect seasons to potentially rank for long-tail, local keywords.

97. Guest posting is not a relevant way to build links, but it is an awesome way to create content.

98. If you have multiple pages competing for similar keyword search terms, consider combining the content into one giant piece of long-form content.

99. Curious why your competitor is beating you in the SERPs for the same piece of content? Go back and fill in the blanks of your content. Conduct an analysis of the keyword terms related to your article and find out if there are any missing pieces you can add to beef up your content.

100. When you’re searching your site in the search engines ‘site:example.com’ make sure to find all the variations of your site. For example, search the following:

http://example.com

http://www.example.com

https://example.com

https://www.example.com

101. We’ve talked a lot about Google’s mobile-first index. Bing and other search engines will likely follow. But it’s still important to focus and optimize the desktop version of your website.

In the best-case scenario, you already know everything on this list. You’re stats deep into a technical audit, and you’re never at a loss for words during a client meeting.

This Post First Published By SEJ on 21.10.2017 .