Skip to main content

Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update: The Maccabees Update

There is currently both a lot of chatter in the SEO forums and many of the tools are lighting up around major changes in the Google search results. It is rare for there to be this must chatter this late in December in any of the forums, so when the WebmasterWorld thread started to get busy late December 13th through December 14th, it was something that caught my attention.
It seems like the update touched down on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.
In addition, many, but not all, of the tools are showing big swings in the Google search results. When you have both signals, SEO chatter and tools, start lighting up, it is a good sign something major changed in the core ranking algorithm with Google search.

Here are some of the comments from the thread:
My non seasonal site that never fluctuates unless its an actual holiday dropped 30% of it's traffic yesterday Dec 12.
My Site also dropped approx. 25% on 12 December. No seasonal content.
Massive drop from Tuesday onwards. SERPS for our keywords are all over the place with multiple duplicates. Likewise seen a steady decline since September. We're essentially back to traffic levels in June 2016. Hope Google stops messing around soon!
Like others, I had a major drop in Google organic traffic on Tuesday. A page that has ranked #1 for years went down to #9. It was replaced by outdated articles on major sites that had far less relevance. Other highly ranked pages dropped as well.
We've been down noticeably (though not drastically) since December 12, too, with no obviously discernible pattern: Some of our most popular pages are doing better than ever, but others have slipped.

35% drop on my main site starting December 11 (same day my mother passed away). Many pages that ranked top three for years.dropped five to ten positions. Some pages no rank drop.
We've also experienced a noticeable drop across our sites on or around December 12th. Like some of you sites which have held the top spot for keywords for several years have dropped 5 or 6 places in the rankings and have been replaced with low quality sites.
On one search result where I went from #2 to #9. The top three spots are now from the same site.The funny thing is (or not so funny) they have a featured snippet in #1 spot and the image in the snippet is taken from my site. So if you click on the image, then click visit site it takes you to my article.
There is a lot more chatter in the WebmasterWorld thread than what I shared above.
Here are the tools:
click for full size

click for full size
Advanced Web Rankings:
click for full size
click for full size

click for full size
click for full size
click for full size
click for full size

So check your analytics, see if your Google traffic changed significantly around December 12th or 13th. Check your Google Search Analytics in Google Search Console, it should have data through the 13th. And check your keywords to see if anything changed there.
There does seem to be a big Google ranking update - let's call it the Google Maccabees update since it happened during the holiday of Chanukah? For more on the the Maccabees, check out Wikipedia, it makes for a good name for a Google update. :)
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.