It was confirmed on Search Engine Land that Google had “several minor changes” applied last December 12 and 14.
Maccabees Update is formerly known as Fred.
Fred was first experienced last February 2017 when some sites have noticed a massive decrease on their traffic. The updates focus on core algorithm and informally named on March 9, 2017, when Google’s Gary llyes jokely named it as “Fred”, he stated “every update, unless otherwise stated, shall be called Fred”.
Later on, Barry Schwarts of SERoundtable named it Maccabees and the search community follow through.
It is postulated that the update changes search results according to:
- The relevance of search queries to a web page.
- How links are counted. This will result of re-ranking of certain sites.
As a study stated by Jean-Christophe Chouinard,
Lots of marketing agencies seemed to have dropped out of the knowledge panels also. I don't know if Google penalized the industry or it might also be that lot of web agencies receive backlinks for footers of websites they created.
- Page content. If the queries are informative, selling sites would be relevant.
According to the trends on WebmasterWorld, not all sites were affected like e-commerce sites that minimally experienced a drop on traffic.
A tip from Dom-Wodman of Moz Blog,
My best guess at the moment for the Maccabees update is there has been some sort of weighting change which now values relevancy more highly and tests more pages which are possibly topically relevant. These new tested pages were notably less strong and seemed to perform as you would expect (less well), which seems to have led to my traffic drop.
As the Google spokesperson said, “the changes are meant to improve relevancy”, this is the chance of improving the on-page or off-page relevance signals.
Other Myths over the Internet about Maccabees
- Mobile-first related. This theory was dismissed because some of the site’s mobile friendly got also hit and not improve their standing.
- Desktop visibility affected more. This hypothesis is interesting but somehow, reports yielded opposite results.
- Affiliated and Ads. This produces poor user experience.
- Keyword Permutations: According to Barry, he saw that lots of sites got hit on the landing pages that use a keyword permutations format. It is a combination of specific location, name of service, etc. Example , [Location] + [service A], vice versa.