Google’s core search algorithm has undergone countless changes over the years, some major and others minor. By now, companies know to look closely when the search engine giant decides to shake things up with little warning – and that happened this December.
The new Maccabees Algorithm Update (also known as “Fred”) has a slew of surprises in store.
A Little Background on the New Update
Traditionally, the recent Google updates included a name reflecting a bird or zoo animal. No official name was given for the December change, so a number of alternatives have cropped up. No matter what you call it, its effects are already being felt.
Some search engine watchers are wary of getting too invested in “Fred” as an SEO strategy issue because it was released in the form of relatively minor tweaks, rolled out over the course of several days, instead of one large update obvious right away.
While this does suggest there are more adjustments to come, enterprises and their marketing teams can take key lessons from the shifts in search engine results noticed since mid-December. After all, this is a core update, meaning it influences search result placement directly.
What the New Update Includes
Google is notorious for holding the details of its core updates close to the vest. Search engine optimization experts around the globe have been combing through huge amounts of search data to determine exactly what might be going on.
The best intelligence available today suggests the following:
Maccabees is an Offshoot of Mobile First
“Mobile first” refers to Google’s focus on indexing and displaying results from a website’s mobile version prominently when serving traffic to mobile users. As mobile traffic has increased, a responsive, mobile-friendly presentation has become more crucial to search success. Based on ranking impact to responsive sites, many experts believe the update focused on mobile user experience.
Shopping Sites May Be Affected
Although core updates typically wait until after the new year, it certainly appears that some shopping sites were affected this go around. In particular, it appears that sites with over-optimized doorway pages and those lacking schema data were in the crosshairs when it comes to search ranking losses. With the holidays behind us, follow-on updates become more likely.
What to Do About the New Update
The vast majority of websites have reported no change resulting from the mid-December update. However, those utilizing doorway pages should consider a more diverse and nuanced strategy to bolster on-page SEO across a variety of content-rich pages. Likewise, sites not currently taking advantage of structured data should set aside the time and resources to do so soon.
There may be more, so stay tuned to the AIMG blog for future updates!