The biggest news that has shaken the SEO world this week is this unconfirmed algorithm update from Google, dubbed ‘Fred’. The name came from Google’s Gary Illyes who tweeted a response to say “From now on, every update, unless otherwise stated, shall be called Fred”.
The last noted update was early February this year which also went unconfirmed. Several attempts have been made by various figures in the SEO and marketing worlds to get a confirmation for an update, but no one is yet to be successful. According to Illyes, Google makes three updates every day, and the Google community has remained suitably and traditionally tight-lipped about the Fred update!
The algorithm seems to be quite vague and link quality-related as SEO specialists scrabble to understand how it functions and which sites will get hit. It seems to target ad-heavy, low-value content sites that do not provide much to the user. Some sites reported losing a massive 50%-90% of organic traffic as it began targeting link quality aspects of the overall algorithm! This loss is huge for the sites that have been hit and shows Google is serious about site quality.
The sites that the algorithm would target are blog format content sites with lots of ads, sites that appear to exist to generate revenue over solving a user problem, sites that don’t appear to produce content based on any real expertise, and sites that don’t add much user value. For most businesses, Fred will not be a problem – however, 5% of sites hit by Fred don’t fit the standard profile and have been somewhat unfairly penalised. So, how do these sites that aren’t low quality get their traffic back? They can either wait, or remove all their ad content. It sounds drastic, but some webmasters have commented that when removing all their ad content, they saw huge recoveries – this indicates that too many ads seems to be the problem for Google, and that the web giants are seeking to improve the quality of sites provided for users in search results.
With Google always optimising, changes like these will always be occurring and webmasters needs to know how to protect themselves against further ranking penalties. Getting an SEO expert to check over your site can be invaluable to guard against future updates. Need an digital marketing expert for your site? Get in touch today!