An unconfirmed Google Update, dubbed “Fred” has been causing hysteria within the SEO community since early March. The update has been reported to cause ranking fluctuations and loss of site traffic by 50% to 90%. The title “Google Fred Update” came from a tongue-in-cheek response from Google’s Garry Illyes, which he tweeted to Barry Schwartz. In the tweet, Schwartz asked what Illyes should name it, and Illyes responded, “From now on every update, unless otherwise stated, shall be called Fred.” What is this spammy link update? How can it affect your web site? How can you recover your web site to its pre-updated status? Here’s everything you need to know.
How Google’s Fred Ranking Update Targets You
Google’s algorithm ranking update penalizes web sites with low-value content or a high volume of advertisements. These web sites tend to maximize revenue by encouraging and gaining lots of web traffic with the goal of persuading the user to click on an ad or affiliate link. If you are unsure if your site fits within this category, here are some additional traits that qualify such sites:
- Lots of keyword-based content
- An unusually high amount of prominent ads or affiliate links within the web site content and around the site
- Mostly text-based, article content
- Huge focus on call-to-action overlays
- Content tailored towards gaining revenue rather than solving a user’s searches
Although there is no inherent issue with affiliate links, the sites that have been targeted are generally a shallow container for affiliate links and nothing more.
How to Know if Your Web Site Has Been Impacted
If you have noticed anything unusual on your site since March 7th, 2017, such as a drop in rankings, sudden disappearance of pages, or reappearance of deactivated or hidden pages, you have likely been affected. The update can affect sites in the following additional ways:
- Targets the quality of links
- Changes the rankings of web sites adversely
- Rankings for main and important keywords are disappearing
- Huge traffic flow to web site but drop in ranks
- Miscellaneous unusual incidents
Recently, Sistrix found Ad-heavy and poor quality content as the common factors in many of the Google Fred’s losers.
How to Recover from Lost Traffic and Other Adverse Changes
Google’s Fred Update is still fairly new, so it may take some time to fully understand the full impact it has on your web site. However, adopting good habits and focusing on user benefits rather than promotional activities can help you recover from the update. You can recover by answering user queries, focusing more on quality than quantity, providing solutions to users, cease practicing black hat SEO, posting regularly, discontinuing generating low-value content, focusing less on creating irrelevant links, putting less effort into generating ad revenue, and avoiding false-positive practices. By implementing these good practices into your web site strategy, you will be able to rectify the negative effects.
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