Google confirmed that it updated its algorithm in mid-December, has your site been affected?

Image credit: Search Engine Land

Ever since Gary Illyes half-jokingly said in the first half of this year that all future algorithm updates would be called google Fred, many SEO people like myself thought we shouldn't expect a Google spokesperson to confirm anything with us in the future.

Little did we know that with Christmas around the corner, google had tricked us once again.

It doesn't. Two days ago a Google spokesperson confirmed with Search Engine Land an algorithm update for mid-December (last week), the original article can be found here.

Google certainly doesn't name its algorithms anymore. That's why Barry Schwartz calls this update the Google Maccabees Update.

As for what Maccabees means, I don't actually know, I briefly looked it up and found it had something to do with some Jewish religious story, I don't believe in religion nor am I too interested in that stuff, so I won't dwell on the back story of those here.

This article focuses on.

When did the Google Maccabees update roll out?

What types of websites does Google Maccabees algorithm hit?

Is your website affected? How can I tell?

If it is affected, how can it be improved?

Writing ahead: a little of my understanding of algorithm updates

I guess I'll be passing on some information about major Google algorithm changes a lot in the future, so I feel the need to share a little bit of my own understanding of the algorithm first.

In my opinion, the algorithm update is either a further refinement of Google's own rules or a crackdown on some rule-breaking practices of black hat SEO. Just these two!

But there is only one purpose behind both of these, and that is Google's mission.

"to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

So, I recommend SEO people not to follow algorithm changes excessively, but to move closer to the mission of search engines. Plus, algorithm changes are too frequent, both big and small, for you to be able to cope with them.

But, if you put yourself in the shoes of the search user and think, does my website and content provide value to them? From the perspective of Google's anti-spam group, do you dare to show your website (content creation and outbound link acquisition strategy) to Google's search engineers with confidence?

Both of these questions, if you can answer yes to both with a clear conscience, then I can guarantee that you won't have to worry about all future algorithm updates because your website SEO can stand up to any algorithm change.

Of course, unless you're like me and are interested in Google SEO, it doesn't hurt to spend some time researching - after all, just because you're not affected by it doesn't mean others aren't.

When did the Google Maccabees update roll out?

Referring to this story from the very beginning of SE Roundtable, it would have been around the 13th of this month, note: this article was posted on the 15th.

I learned about this update, which first came from a Facebook Group a white hat SEO circle friend shared, and looking at the timing it also happens to be December 13th. I can't help it, it's a professional habit that whenever I come across people talking about a big rise or fall in website traffic, I always look at it a bit more.

What this English SEO webmaster means is that one of his sites saw a drop in traffic of almost a quarter on the 12th, meaning SEO traffic of course, and it was counter-intuitive and unaffected by the particular season of December.

At first, it was all speculation and inconclusive, then I was shocked to see the SE Roundtable report.

What types of websites does Google Maccabees algorithm hit?

Before Google officially confirmed this update, Barry Schwartz had reported on the 15th (that's the one above), and in the days that followed, he personally analyzed over 100 affected sites (professional attitude. (Kudos) and found some commonalities in these sites, so on the 20th another story was published, here.

Note: This story was posted just after 7am on the 20th, while the confirmed story about Google was posted just after 1pm on the 20th.

Quote from Search Engine Land.

A google spokesperson told Search Engine Land “We released several minor improvements during this timeframe, part of our regular and routine efforts to improve relevancy.”

In simple direct translation.

A Google spokesperson told SEL that "we've made some minor improvements [to search results] over the past few days as part of our efforts to improve the relevance of [search results]. "

Hey. Actually, what Google says is the same as not saying, isn't it?

So, I'll just briefly paraphrase Barry's piece of discovery with you.

This update is cracking down on low quality content sites, kind of like thin content types, that have too many commercial keyword articles and are designed to cater only to search engines and not to users.

The term Keyword Permutations was used in the Barry report, meaning that SEOs are so focused on optimizing for targeted keywords that it leads to slightly different keyword variants you optimize for with a landing page or an article.

Give two examples and you'll get the idea. Uh, I made up the following myself, just to make it better for everyone.

If your site is a small English content site that survives on Affiliate commissions, assuming you sell laptops, you might write four articles like this one, targeting the following keywords.

Best laptops under 300 dollars

Best laptops under 500 dollars

Best laptops under 800 dollars

Best laptops under 1000 dollars

The search volume for these terms may be okay, the search intent conversion is generally okay, and even if the quality of your article is fine, this Google update may affect you as usual.

If your site is a business site that survives on services or products, you might have multiple landing pagestargeting these keywords.

iPhone X case supplier in China

iPhone X case supplier in Shenzhen

iPhone X case supplier in Guangzhou

iPhone X case supplier in Wenzhou

Of course, the last one is randomly made up, I don't think Wenzhou produces phone cases, it's all the people in Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen who are doing this. If you have more of these pages on your business site, as usual, they may be affected by this Google update.

Is your website affected? How can I tell?

It's simple.

First, open theGoogle Analytics > Acquisition > All Traffic > Channel > Organic Search , choose a span of at least one month for the time period and see if there are any anomalies in the traffic after the 13th of the month.

Step 2, throw a few of your main keywords that you track regularly into a Google search and see if there is a significant drop in rankings, e.g.: what had been solidly in the top 3 at the beginning of December has suddenly dropped to page 2.

If there's nothing unusual about traffic or rankings (excluding seasonality), congratulations, you weren't affected by this update.

If there is an anomaly, it may have been affected, as there may be other reasons.

If it is affected, how can it be improved?

This one. You should know how to do that better than I do, right?

I won't mention it here, but if you really don't have a clue, email me and I'll take a look at it for you sometime.

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