Google’s Fred Update: Should you Care?

  • March 21, 2017
  • SEO
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Google Fred Algorithm Update

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Google – the famous giant of the www world is known for its updates that are aimed at making it easier for the people visiting the search engine to understand everything they are looking for and giving them the information they need without taking their time. From Panda to Penguin and Hummingbird to Mobilegeddon, we all know how Google has been making it necessary for the online companies to follow a set guideline to impart something of value to everyone who visits their page on both desktop and mobile.

Although Google is not in the habit of informing the world when it is going to roll down an update, a few days back the pros of Search Engine Optimization and webmasters found themselves staring at a screen showing a decline in their search engine rankings and organic traffic.

Google Algorithm Ranking Tracker

What seemed like a coincidence at first was later attached to the latest update by Google – Fred update – name that was affirmed by Gary Illyes on Twitter.

So what is this Fred update that has moved the SEO world inside out and who all will be affected?

While Google brings about at least three changes in a day, Fred seems to be affecting the Search Engine rankings and organic traffic of companies all across the globe. A few companies, having done their fair share of researchers found that Fred update brings down the ranking of websites engaging in Black hat SEO – the aggressive techniques followed by Search Engine professionals to bring their ranking up by preparing content for the search engines and not for real people. Some ways companies do black hat SEO techniques are: invisible text, doorway pages, page swapping, keyword stuffing, and adding unrelated keywords in the page content.  Now if your site has a number of spammy links its ranking and organic traffic will automatically see a downfall, but on the other side, the ranking will go up once the spam websites and/or links are removed by Google.

Black hat SEO is speculated to be only one of the factors affected by the Fred update, some believe that low quality back links, thin content, and ad heavy websites are the other factors that are being measured by Google before bringing their ranking down. As long as the low quality back link factor goes, some even believe that Fred is a low quality algorithm update; it means that the update will measure a site with respect to the quality of sites that are linking back to it. Now, it will not be enough to get a zillion link backs from low DA websites, now you will have to focus on getting back links from very high DA websites to save your page ranking from going down.

Apart from Black hat SEO and low quality back link, there is one other factor, according to Barry Schwartz, the CEO of Rusty Brick, that is speculated to be the direct aim of what Fred update stands for – Ad heavy websites. So what are low value ad heavy sites? These sites are launched with the sole motive of having as many ads and affiliate links on a page as possible, for the people to click on them and get redirected elsewhere.

While it is acceptable to have ads on your website, the ones that would get affected maximum are the ones that have A. Content only for promotion and not for user query and
B. The ones that are covered by ads and affiliate links in the whole page than any quality content.

There are a few ways to prevent yours from becoming an ad/affiliate links site. Some of them are – Check the ad ratio on your page, get rid of the tag pages if yours is a blog based site, do not write similar looking/sounding content, add more content types than just text in your website. In case yours is indeed an affiliate website, ensure that you have some knowledge imparting content in every page and not just promotional/ad related.

Now that you know the effect Fred update is forecasted to have on low value generating websites and web pages, it is time we look into the ways one can save itself from getting penalized from Google. Here it goes:

How to recuperate from Fred Update?

Although there have been talks all over the world wide web world that there is a new Google update by the name Fred, there is no surety or no official statement has been from the internet giant, yet. So, while it will be very soon to lay down exact ways and measures to protect your ranking and online reputation, there are things that you can do to keep your organic traffic up and above while this update lasts:

  • Keep Quality over Quantity

Focus on building quality links from high domain authority sites than getting a number of links from low DA or article submission sites.

  • Add relevant Link

When adding links in your content or page, make sure that the context of the link is right. Do not just rely on online tools to check the quality of back links, add only those links that would add some value to your content.

  • Refrain from doing Link Exchange

Google understands that it is a mechanism to get link from a website by offering them a link in yours and it sees it as unnatural and something that should be restricted. So instead of cracking deals with websites to use your link and incorporate theirs, align your energy into natural links.

  • Keep changing your Anchor Text

Instead of using a fix set of keywords as your anchor text, use a phrase that include the business keyword, company name, and generic words to give the impression that the sentence is conversational and is in a flow.

  • Stay away from Automated Tools or Bots

There are a number of tools in the market that create automatic back links for you, you should avoid them at all costs because they are all artificial methods.

  • Have a universal Tag

Another factor that you can take into consideration while making your website Google Fred proof is avoid using the classic analytics tag in your web pages. If it has been a while since you changed the classic tag, it is time to do it now.

While these are just some of the ways that hold the power to protect you from all or any Google update as there is to come, the right time to comment on exactly what Fred is targeting and how to prevent yourself is difficult as of now. But there are certain things that you can do other than those mentioned above for avoiding penalties in general, they are – making your website responsive for mobile, avoiding duplicated or uninformative content, adding hyperlinks all over the page, and gaining links in a short span of time as compared to a progressive period.

Key takeaway

Saving your website from getting affected or losing its ranking and organic traffic more than usual is in your hands. All you have to do is make sure that your web pages have something of value to offer the readers.

Manas Chowdhury

Digital Marketing aficionado holding PG in Economics. Championing online marketing, branding and advertising strategy for the digital commerce, online and social media spaces driving YOY increased growth, ROI and revenue. Up-to-date and in tune with Google philosophy.

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