As I reported, the SEO community noticed last week starting around December 12, 2017 a larger Google update which I named the Google Maccabees Update. Early on I shared the forum chatter and algorithm tracking tools to show that it was more widespread than the typical update.
I then asked SEOs and webmasters to submit example sites hit by this update. I have now over 100 sites that I reviewed and I have come up with my early analysis of the types of web sites hit by this update. Before I share it, let me say that a good number of sites that were sent to me did not fit this profile and also, I found multiple patterns, not just one, which may mean that multiple updates rolled out, which of course is the Google line on Google’s algorithmic updates.
These seem to be global, not just impacting US or English sites but all languages and regions.
Update at 2pm EST 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.”
By far, the biggest bulk of sites that I saw got hit all had tons and tons of landing pages target massive arrays of keyword permutations. So for example, if they are a travel site, they would target all the destinations they service and also add landing pages for [destination sub name] + [activity name] and sometimes even go beyond that. If they were a service business, they would target [city name] + [service A] and then [city name] + [service B] and so on.
There were many styles and types of sites doing this across blogs, travel, e-commerce, directories, and more.
I should add that there was an overwhelming number of e-commerce sites, travel sites and review sites submitted to me. Most of those fit the keyword permutations model.
There were also some sites that looked more Fred related which was more around low value and ad heavy/affiliate heavy sites. So there was a good number of sites that matched those profiles.
And then there were sites that seemed designed really well, excellent content for users, awesome features, easy user interface, fast, useful, etc that got hit that I can’t figure out why. I didn’t do deep dives on link profiles, but I did check many link signals on those sites and most seemed normal. So I can’t figure out why some sites that appeared to me to be solid got hit. Of course, there may have been some collateral damage with this Google Maccabees Update but who knows.
That is what I found after reviewing a 100+ sites.
I did not review tens of thousnads of sites, because I only saw 100 and I am a human, so maybe some of the data providers will do a bigger analysis.
I do hope this helps people and I do feel really bad for some of the sites that were submitted to me. They do not deserve to see such declines in their Google organic traffic based on my analysis.
Forum discussion continued at WebmasterWorld.