Date4th Apr 2017
AuthorBoxed Red

Is your website reeling from the Google Algorithm update ‘Fred’?


It’s common knowledge that Google makes updates to its mysterious algorithm on a regular basis, sometimes up to three times every day according to some employees.

However, every now and then an update comes along that sends ripples through the digital sphere and encourages website owners everywhere to make changes to stay ahead of their competition, and ultimately at the top of the search engine results pages.

Over the last couple of weeks there have been murmurs about a new updated named ‘Fred’ and it seems to be penalising websites that rely heavily on low value content, backlinks and advertising to generate revenue rather than help users find the information they are searching for. Some sites have experienced a drop of up to 90% in their organic web traffic!

Generally, Google’s algorithm updates follow the Google Webmaster guidelines, so if you are generating high quality content that is relevant to your users and avoids ‘Black Hat’ SEO techniques, you won’t have anything to worry about when an update rolls around.

However, with Fred, you may need to make some urgent updates to avoid losing traffic if your website meets any of the following criteria:

  • A content-driven website such as a blog
  • Your content is old, dating from before 2014
  • Relies on advertising to generate revenue, specifically using AdSense or other ad income software
  • Has a large number of external links, particularly affiliate links
  • Uses low quality content that is not relevant to your users

But before you change anything, it’s worth looking at your analytics to see whether you experienced a large drop off in traffic between 5th March and 20th March 2017. If not, then don’t change anything, just carry on creating great content for your users and they’ll keep finding it!

If you did experience a drop off, there are some actions you can take to get back on track.

  1. Critically review your existing content and identify anything that could be seen as low quality, has become dated or needs to be refreshed
  2. Create a list of keywords you are no longer ranking for
  3. Start to improve the quality of the content on your site by rewriting pages or adding more relevant information relating to your lost keywords as needed
  4. Use a backlink spam tool to find questionable links across your site. This will also tell you which of your links are not set up according to the guidelines set by Google
  5. Check your site follows the Google Webmaster Guidelines

If you concentrate on creating high quality, engaging content that is relevant to your users, algorithm updates such as Fred shouldn’t have too much of an impact on your site. The overarching rules about great content and user experience will always be the most important factors in your ranking in search results.

If you need some help optimising your website or creating engaging content that users can’t resist get in touch!


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