In the middle of the month of March in 2017, Google dropped a brand new update that went by the name of Fred. The Google Fred update was based off of a tweet by Google Webmaster Trends Analyst that went by the name Gary Illyes. This was one algorithm update released by Google that certainly made its mark on the search engine optimisation community.
Immediate Impact of Google Fred
As soon as the Google Fred update was out in the wild, the impact that it had was nearly immediate. Many websites, once Fred was released, reported that their traffic dropped anywhere from 50% to 90%. The reductions were huge based on Google organic searches.
The significant date was March 8th. That was when everything got turned on for Fred and by March 9th, many of the automated tracking tools out there showed major fluctuations. Clearly Google had done something huge.
Google Kept Quiet
Google initially kept quiet about the Google Fred update. It was not until March 23rd that Google finally came out and confirmed that yes, they updated their algorithm. The announcement came from that same Webmaster Trends Analyst. This was more than two weeks after it initially launched and the impact was already felt pretty widespread.
Sites Hit Hardest
The Google Fred update impacted a variety of sites in a number of different days. Prior to Fred, the update that came before it was known as the Mobile Popup Update. This was not not so much geared towards mobile browsing though, his was more desktop oriented. Google never put out an official list of what the Google Fred update did. Research had to reveal this for us
The sites that reported that they were hit the hardest in terms of search engine rankings were led by those with low value content. Sites that were packed with endless pieces of content, all of poor quality, saw an immediate rankings drop.
Sites that abused advertisements and affiliate links were also hit fairly hard. If you had a site where the advertisements were too much on top of the content, then the site was not going to rank as high.
Industry experts were also given a lift in Google rankings when it came to Fred. If you did not have industry experts working and writing on your site, then the content would not be seen as authoritative. As a result, the rankings would not be as high as those with the experts.
Tying it all together, the big categorical basis of the Google Fred update was to try and go after sites that had the goal of ranking high on Google, bringing in a lot of revenue, but not necessarily having the highest level of quality and engaging content for readers.
Private Blog Networks
There is still speculation to this day that Google used the Fred update to also go after what are known as private blog networks or PBNs. Link building is where the talk went from here pertaining to the algorithm update.
Recovery Tactics Following the Fred Update
Since the Google Fred update was released, many sites started to take action to try to recovery. They worked tirelessly to regain their place in the search engine rankings. How did they do it? The first tip is to remove all of the advertisements on the site!
This may not sound like a good idea for the revenue of a site, but one way to show Google that you are focused on content more than revenue is to cut down on the ads that you have out there. This is seen as the quest way to get on the road to recovery.
If you do not want to dump all of the ads on your site, at the very least try to get rid of those that are considered abuse to the user. Those that are on top of where a user is trying to read content, pop ups that appear and go over pages, etc.
Affiliate links must also be used appropriately, and also not overused. A site that is crammed with keywords and backlinks is not going to do very well in rankings in the post Google Fred world.
Finally, you need to start to work to produce strong content. You want to go with quality over quantity. Focus on lengthy pieces that are going to be relied upon by readers. There is a lot for site owners to learn following the Fred update, but priority one is to take advantage of the power of quality content.
The Road Ahead
So what exactly is going to lie ahead in the search engine optimisation world following the Google Fred update? The update that Google put out was not a surprise to many. They knew that something like this was coming. Everything that Google did with this update was in sync with the Webmaster Guidelines that they have released.
Google is not backing down to sites and continues to take ownership of the influence that it has on what people read and view over the internet. They want readers to be able to find authoritative content, quality pieces that can be relied upon for information.
Websites that fail to adapt to the new changes are going to be those that are left out in the cold. They will be the sites that are experienced greatly reduced traffic based on what they have been used to in the past. If you want to have a site that is successful, that is going to rank high in search engines, that will generate revenue, you have to play within the boundaries Google has set.
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