So, have you met Fred?
You must be hearing about him since the beginning of March. Not everyone likes him. He is generating much outrage in the SEO world. Here’s the catch, despite Fred being a human name, surprisingly Fred is not a human. I’m talking about a major Google ranking or algorithm update that shook up the SEO world.
So, what is it all about?
Should you be worried?
I’m here to explain everything from Fred’s nuts and bolts to his impact. So, let’s learn about him:
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What Is Google Fred?
Earlier around March 8, 2017, the SEO industry experienced massive volatility. Many SEO experts reported that an unconfirmed Google ranking update may be targeting more of the link quality aspects as far as the overall algorithm is concerned.
If you are involved with the SEO industry, then you may have heard of the chatter that’s been going on for over 2 weeks. Yes, SEO experts all around the world seem to be attributing the volatility to a new Google update.
This is major breaking news, isn’t it?
Yes, people immediately started Googling for answers. Google usually doesn’t confirm, nor deny their updates.
However, Gary Illyes from Google sent a series of Tweets, insinuating that volatility resulted from an update.
— Gary Illyes ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (@methode) March 9, 2017
On March 24, 2017, Mr. Illyes confirmed via his Twitter that, “Obviously there was an update. Why would we deny that?” Responding to the recent update, he stated that, “We have 3 updates a day in average. I think it’s pretty safe to assume there was one recently.” He directly mentioned Fred in a Tweet, saying that, “Sure! From now on every update, unless otherwise stated, shall be called Fred.”
How Did I Find About Fred?
There are many specialized tools, such as Algoroo, AccuRanker that will help you discover if there are any fluctuations over the last few days. I utilized some of the automated tools to see if there’s any inconsistency.
I noticed a massive drop in traffic that began on March 7 and continued the day after (March 8). This volatility and fluctuations bear massive significance and they indicate that there’s an update.
I saw a sudden drop of the visitors on one of my sites over Google Analytics and when I searched over Google; found the many others are also facing same issues.
I talked to several friends of mine who are also SEO experts about the matter. And, some of them delighted over their ranking increases and some of them expressed frustration over ranking declines. All these incidents and research indicate that there’s an update. And, it’s targeting everyone!
All these incidents and research indicate that there’s an update. And, it’s targeting everyone!
What Kind of Sites Are Affected By Fred?
From my research; I have found the following types of Websites have been affected by Fred.
- Sites that contains too many affiliate links.
- Sites with Junk Ads.
- Website that irritates users with boring Pop Ups.
- Sites which got the major percentage of low-quality links. For example, if your website got 100 links and 60 links of them are from junk and irrelevant pages; then you are in trouble with Fred.
Why the Secrecy over the Update?
Google from time to time avoids responding to reports of algorithm updates. In this scenario, Google remained tongue-tied. They seem to assert that they make updates to their algorithm frequently and they do not feel obligated to inform people of the updates.
Check the video below from Google Webmaster Tool channel (from 8 min):
They seem to assert that they make updates to their algorithm frequently and they do not feel obligated to inform people of the updates.
It’s not so far-fetched to see why they maintained secrecy over their updates. Google wants you to guess and act on your objectives to keep SEO techniques organic. Google wants you to improve your SEO techniques. If they overtly announced a change, people may feel tempted to avoid the latest changes.
Google wants you to improve your SEO techniques and follow their best practices. If they overtly announced a change, people may feel tempted to avoid the latest changes.
How To Check Whether My Site Affected or Not?
Google Analytics is probably the best and a free but sophisticated online application that allows monitoring your website’s progress. Browse the site in your GA Dashboard, and head over to the Acquisition Tab and then from the All Traffic tab, switch to Channels and then Organic Search.
It will help you find out if the update has affected your rankings. A sudden drop of your search traffic from 6th March or any date of March will indicate that you have been affected.
If you still haven’t checked your website you can check your website using WebTextTool.com too, here’s how to check it:
- Step #1: Go to app.webtexttool.com and log into it.
- Step #2: Open the page you’d like to set up for monitoring.
- Step #3: On top of your Page, you will notice 2 green buttons. Press the left. And, monitoring will be commenced.
How To Get Rid of FRED Algorithm Update?
Ever since people noticed the update, the Black Hat Forums seem to be going insane over this. The Black Hat Forums and WebmasterWorld are two of the forums that are actively discussing the update and its implications. They are discussing to find out if the update can impact digital marketers.
Just focus on the following stuff to stay safe with not only Fred but also any other future manual penalty or updates by Google.
- Get rid of using the excessive amount of affiliate links in a single page. The less the better. Using affiliate links in every paragraph of your content will not help you anyway.
- Remove aggressive pop-ups from your website.
- Remove ads from the above the fold of your website.
- Say bye bye to crappy links. Focus on solid natural backlink strategy that works.
- As an SEO expert, you must have to re-strategize your SEO tactics and follow what Google loves.
- You may not have to worry too much about the update, as the Google Algorithm Ranking Update concentrates on a site’s content, rather than the SEO tactics.
- Web developers should no longer optimize websites with the intent of driving traffic and managing high rankings. Keep the site as natural as it is.
- Digital marketers now should prioritize developing high-quality content rather than optimizing websites solely for acquiring high rankings. Google keeps trying to make their ranking procedures accurate and organic.
And, that’s why the Fred! Make sure your website is a high-quality content site and grabs natural high quality links and don’t irritate users with too many affiliate links and pop up ads. Stay cool, always. 🙂