How to recover/fix from Google Maccabees Update penalty?

There have been many gossips in Facebook Groups and SEO forums of websites losing 25-35% traffic.If you have Customer or websites which have lost 25-35% lately, the Google Maccabees aka Fred Update update may have hit or penalize your websites.

Barry Schwartz Tweet

Barry Schwartz from SERound table has been collecting information and examples from friendly and sharing SEO’s to analyze this Google Fred update which has been framed ‘Maccabees’ update by Barry himself. With 100+ websites now reviewed that have been hit/penalized by the update, it seems the fugitive for this is sites with numerous page targeting multiple keyword permutations.

So what exactly “Google Maccabees aka Fred Update” mean?

Targeting many keyword permutations on multiple pages is an old tactic but still used widely today in affiliate websites, real estate, travel & e-commerce.

Targeting multiple keyword permutations

Different pages for each area with short/similar content

It used to work especially well to catch all the alternative/permutations of keywords in the long tail. Longtail keyword which is dedicated to a particular page would give it the first choice in google search results. Repeat this over all the keywords in your business and you could accomplish on the comparatively easy and high converting keywords.

For Ex: Travel websites may have different pages targeting each of the following:

  • cheap Honeymoon packages to Goa
  • low-cost Goa Honeymoon packages
  • cheap Honeymoon packages to Goa
  • etc

An Affiliate website may have a different page targeting each of the following:

  • How to get rid of bedbug
  • how to get rid of bedbug in the house
  • how to get rid of bedbug in your house fast
  • how to get rid of bedbug at home
  • etc

Now, the keywords above, even though are same, have very high traffic on their website and you can accept why SEO’s were proper targeting for each of them with different pages


This is a horrible User Interface(UI) experience. Targeted pages in this update will be low quality, short content, and friendly for search engines.

How To Fix This Issue?


Except there is a very good logic for different pages for each keyword, you shouldn’t load your website with these low-quality pages.


Some sites like the screenshot above, have very good logic to have a page for each permutation or location. The site in the question above shows average house prices, unique local info, and maps on each page. It is not just a short content page designed to attract visitors from search, there is value on the page.

If there is no hope for value for your site or your customer’s website when searching for target permutations, consider a separate approach.

Use one page to target numerous similar keywords. This should be done within the used page keyword. But don’t need to worry about getting google bot about this and targeting each keyword permutation within the anchor text using frequent and keyword stuffing.

Anyhow, use keyword tools, but most importantly write for humans. Google is very good at counting out customers i.e searchers intent, and it’s getting much better day by day. You need to have the exact keyword anchor text on your website page to have it rank and be exposed to customers i.e searchers.

For example these keywords:

  • How to get rid of bedbug
  • how to get rid of bedbug in the house
  • how to get rid of bedbug in your house fast
  • how to get rid of bedbug at home

Could all be targeted from one page.
and so could these:

  • cheap Honeymoon Packages to Goa
  • low-cost Goa Honeymoon Packages
  • cheap Honeymoon Packages to Goa

This is a much more user-friendly and evergreen approach and way of thinking that will give your site more durability. If you have a high page authority and site are well-loved by users, it shouldn’t be a problem ranking a page for the permutation keyword traffic you were picking from different pages.
If you are targeting locations, consider specifying these, but you really need a low-quality short content page for each one?

I hope this helps you, I will keep this page updated with more as I find out!

As I mentioned, the Google’s SEO(Search Engine Optimization) community noticed final week beginning around 12th December a larger Google update which many people named as the Google Maccabees Update (Note: Officially it is “Fred” announced by Google) update. Early on I shared the forum chatter and algorithm monitoring tools to reveal that it became more widespread than the typical update.

What are Google Maccabees Update i.e Fred Update?

I then asked Google SEOs and Google Webmasters(i.e site owners) to submit example websites hit by this update or going to face the update. I have now over a hundred sites that I surveyed and I’ve provided you with my early study of the kinds of websites hit by way of this update. Before I point it, let me say that an awesome quantity of websites that were sent to me did not fit in this profile and also, I discovered multiple patterns, not just one, which may additionally mean that multiple updates rolled out, which of the route is the Google line on Google’s algorithmic updates.

Those seem to be global, no longer just impacting US or English websites but all languages and regions.

Update at 2:00 PM EST(Eastern Standard Time) Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that there had been a few updates around this time. The statement Google sent became “We launched numerous minor upgrades at some point of this time frame, part of our regular and habitual efforts to enhance relevancy.”

Permutations of Keyword:

By using ways, the biggest bulk of sites that I noticed got hit all had heaps and tons of touchdown pages target big arrays of Permutations of Keyword. So for example, if they are a tour website, they could goal all of the destinations they carrier and also upload landing pages for [destination sub name] + [activity name] and occasionally even cross beyond that. in the event that they have been a carrier enterprise, they might goal [city name] + [service A] after which [city name] + [service B] and so forth.

There have been many patterns and sorts of websites doing this throughout blogs, journey, e-commerce, directories, and extra.

I need to add that there has been an amazing variety of e-commerce websites, tour sites and assessment sites submitted to me. most of these suit the keyword diversifications version.

Maccabees aka Fred symptoms

There have been added some websites that appeared extra Fred associated which changed into more around low cost and advert heavy/associate heavy websites. So there was an awesome quantity of sites that matched the one’s profiles. After which there were websites that appeared designed genuinely well, high-quality content for users, exquisite features, clean consumer interface, speedy, useful, etc that were given hit that I cannot determine out why. I didn’t do deep dives on link profiles, but I did check many hyperlink indicators on the one’s websites and maximum appeared ordinary. So I cannot determine out why a few websites that regarded to me to be solid got hit. Of path, there may be some collateral harm with this Google Maccabees replace but who is aware of. That is what I found after surveying a one hundred+ sites.

I did not evaluation tens of thousands of sites, due to the fact I simplest noticed one hundred and I’m a human, so maybe a number of the statistics companies will do a bigger analysis. I do hope this enables people and that I do experience really terrible for a number of the websites that have been submitted to me. They do not need to see such declines in their Google organic site visitors based on my evaluation.