Google is known to make minor changes on its search engine algorithms from time to time. As a blogger or a business owner that hosts his/her own website, you should stay up to date with these changes. While a few of them might be really beneficial to your online reach, a few of them may have disastrous consequences. With over 3.5 billion searches made on Google every day, we can safely say that it is the most widely used search engine on the internet. (Source) If you are not leveraging the strengths of this search engine to its fullest, you are missing out on a considerable amount of internet traffic.
The Google Maccabees update is the latest one in the long line-up of several minor updates. Here are a few critical points that you should know about the update today!
Improving Search Relevancies
Google is constantly trying to improve its search ranking algorithms so that its users can experience the best browsing and search experience. With the Maccabees update the search relevancy is increased by a minor factor. This will help Google rule out the worst search results in the initial phases of filtering.
We all know that Google is a keyword-based search engine. Initially, Google tied the density of keywords directly to the relevancy of the content. Therefore, most people stuffed their content with keywords. This keyword-stuffing practice affected the readability of the content massively. However, over the years the Google’s search algorithm is fine-tuned to rule out the websites that have massive amounts of keyword-stuffing. Instead, Google now favours websites that have a good readability.
There is no finite way to assess if the content is truly valuable to the readers or not. However, we can safely assume that the unreadable and bogus content that is stuffed with keywords will surely suffer the wrath of Google. With the Maccabees update, the relevancy of search will see a minor change. So, if your website contains a lot of irrelevant blogs and articles, it is time to replace them with high-quality useful content for the readers.
The Maccabees update has given a sincere priority to the mobile browsing experience of the audience. Website owners have noticed a significant improvement in their website’s mobile-friendly versions. So, if you own a website that is optimized for the mobile search engine users, there are good chances that its visitor count will increase significantly over the upcoming few weeks.
With the number of mobile browser users rising exponentially, this is a pivotal update for all the website owners on the internet. If you do not have a mobile-friendly version of your website ready by now, you should really invest your time and money into getting it ready.
Effects on Visibility
A few website owners claim that their website’s mobile-version visibility is affected more than the desktop-version visibility. However, the others claim that it is the other way around. Nonetheless, we can say for sure that the visibility for both or at least one of the versions will see some minor changes.
To avoid repetition and plagiarism of content, several website owners focus on the development of content that involved permutations of the same keyword phrases. This makes the overall content on the website extremely monotonous and boring. People end up reading the variations of the same statement again and again. This does not provide any true value to the customer’s reading experience. Therefore, while keyword permutations are necessary, stuffing the content with too many of these permutations is lethal to readability.
The Maccabees update will now allow Google to identify these keyword permutations extensively. Google will most likely consider an overuse of the permutations an activity as dangerous as the keyword-stuffing. So if you are writing a post on ‘How to get a million followers on Twitter?’ write a post that provides true value to the readers instead of writing keyword permutations of the following nature:
- Get a million followers on Twitter
- How to get more followers on Twitter?
- The best part about getting more followers on Twitter
- How to get more followers on Twitter quickly?
- How to get Twitter followers effectively?
See how all these statements say the same thing? Google now has the ability to identify such similar statements and penalize the websites by awarding them lower rankings.
The Google Fred Extension
The Google Fred extension directly targets people that post just way too many ads of their websites. With such effective targeting, the people will be forced to tone down the number of ads of their website significantly and fill it with actually useful content. This extension is lethal for people who follow aggressive monetization practices by providing constantly bad reading experience.
So, how do you know if you are dealing with a website with such a problem? Simple. Just open the website in a normal browser window and count the number of ads. You can also look at the amount of space that the ads cover on the screen. If the ads cover more than 40% of the screen, the website is in a big trouble. You will also find websites on the internet that have deceptive actionable buttons like ‘Download Here’ and ‘Click Here to View’. Instead of performing the desired action, the website will redirect you to a different ad altogether. Websites that do this will be automatically marked by Google.
Links and Bad Content
An overload of affiliate links on your website will be directly seen as the violation of the Google’s search result policies with this update. If you own a website that focuses completely on marketing for other websites without really providing any true value to the audience, you are under the radar here. You need to increase the relevancy of content for the primary keyword and fix the links that take you to a different website.
You might also want to reduce the overall quantity of links on your website that deal with one or the other forms of internet marketing.
The websites that feature exceptionally slow loading speeds will also fall under the radar of the Google Maccabees update. Here’s a quick thumb rule that will help you detect if your website is slow.
- Loading time is less than 3 seconds: You feature a quick and snappy interface for the audience. Great job!
- Loading time is between 3 – 6 seconds: You feature a decent experience for the audience. You might want to focus on a little optimization to provide the best experience.
- Loading time exceeds 6 seconds: You really need to work on the back-end architecture of the website. Use lower resolution images as well as content optimization techniques to speed up the loading process significantly.
Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
A large population of the internet users is now actively using the voice search feature on mobile phones and desktops. The voice search works best with natural language keywords and phrases. Therefore, the Google Maccabees update is asking website owners to use the long-tail keywords that resemble questions asked in the natural language now.
Let’s take a short example here.
Let’s say that you are marketing a custom paint-job for high-end cars on the internet. Before the update, writing keywords the following keywords did a good job:
- Custom paint-job for cars
- Custom paint-job for high-end cars
- Paint-job for luxury cars
- Vibrant paint-job for cars
Now, instead of writing the generic version of the keywords, you need focus on developing phrases that involve natural language queues. The following keywords will work a lot better now.
- Where can I get a custom paint-job for my car?
- I need a fancy paint-job for my BMW X3.
- Show me to the nearest paint shop with a custom paint-job offering.
These long-tail keywords increase the overall relevancy of the content by a major factor. Therefore, Google now encourages the use of such keywords in the content.
Who Was Affected?
Now that we know what all has changed with the Maccabees update, let’s see which websites are the ones that have suffered the most.
Affiliate Type Sites
The affiliate websites now need to provide true value to the audience along with links to the other websites. The website can do so by creating an article/blog with the hyperlinks to the affiliate websites directly.
The e-commerce sites need to revamp their content to reduce the promotional aspect and increase the relevancy by increasing the informational aspect of the products. The best websites can drill down on the existing content by forming lists to increase the overall readability of the content.
Websites with Irrelevant Content
You need to remove/replace a majority of the content with truly readable and useful content. Posting less amount of content is a good alternative to posting useless content.
Website and blog owners cannot take the Maccabees update lightly. They need to make sure that their website provides the best user experience and adds true value to the customer’s overall experience to stay on the good side of Google.