Is your site up to date for Google Maccabees?

Keyword Permutations

Years ago, it was considered best practice by SEOs to create landing pages for numerous different variations of search terms. They would bloat your website with hundreds (if not thousands) of pages with relatively similar content just to capture traffic from as many potential keywords as possible.

For example, you could have pages for each of the following:

  • SEO Peterborough
  • SEO Agency Peterborough
  • SEO Agency Cambridgeshire
  • Peterborough SEO Agency
  • And so on…

However, Google matured five years ago, introducing the Hummingbird algorithm update on 26th September 2013. This update allowed Google to understand search phrases as a whole, with context applied, rather than just individual keywords and their order.

From then on, having just a single page with high quality content about the subject of that page would be enough to capture all of the keywords listed above. Therefore, actual best practice was to remove these excess pages and focus on adding quality to the single remaining page, optimising to the highest possible level.

Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to sink in with a lot of SEOs and Digital Marketers. In fact, even until December we were still fighting against people who wanted to do exactly this. That is, until Google Maccabees came along and told the world that it will penalise you for creating these extra pages.

So what can we do?

If your website is still bloated with loads of different pages targeting various permutations of keywords, then you need to take action immediately!

The first thing you need to do is get a list of all of the different pages that are actually about the same thing. From there, choose one to keep and put a redirect strategy together for the others and remove them.

Then, you need to start optimising the remaining page completely, so that it is a high quality page from both a Google and user point of view. Do this for all keyword permutation pages you have, and get started immediately!

Written byGareth Torrance

Hello there. I'm Gareth, the Search Engine Marketing Lead at Brave. With almost a decade of experience in PPC and SEO, I've seen everything from Pandas and Penguins to the horrible time that was Mobilegeddon. As a Google Ads Certified Google Specialist, I have lived through almost every major shift in the industry! And that makes me feel old.

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