What is Google Fred? We Explain the New Google Algorithm Update
Every now and then, Google update their algorithms. This month, they have caused a bit of stir by introducing a big algorithm ranking update without informing anybody. Google have previously stated that due to the fact they update their algorithm so regularly, that they will not officially announce updates. This one however has been criticised as it has hit the world of SEO hard.
The update is creating fluctuations in search engine ranking and a notable dip in traffic. Some webmasters have reported up to a 90% drop in organic traffic overnight. Data collected since the update was rolled out has suggested that based on the evidence of sites affected, the Fred update targets ad heavy, low value content sites. Many of the sites targeted were affiliate sites. These sites appear as though they were created with the sole purpose of generating AdSense or ad income without providing content that would benefit the user.
So, what are Ad Heavy and Low Value Content sites, and how can you avoid this update targeting you and your site?
The aim of the sites that were targeted by the Google Fred update was to maximise revenue by getting lots of web traffic with the sole aim of getting the user to click on an ad or affiliate link. According to reports, another type of site that has been targeted by the update are those with obtrusive pop ups and calls to action. Google can interpret these pop ups as intrusive and negative for user experience.
The sites targeted also often shared these common traits:
- Obvious keyword targeting. Keyword based content that clearly targeted keywords rather than providing high quality, informative content.
- Content on the site targeted was heavily text based and in article form, e.g blog posts.
- Large number of adverts or affiliate links within the content and around the site.
- Content published is usually tailored towards generating revenue and hitting keyword searches as opposed to solving user’s search queries.
- Low quality spammy backlinks.
Google employee Gary Illyes has suggested that the problem does not lie with sites that have affiliate links, but instead when the site’s sole purpose is to be a container for affiliate links.
Here’s some tips on how to improve your Low Value Affiliate site if you’ve been hit by the update.
- Ensure your ad to content ratio is not over the top. If the user is distracted by the advert its likely they will view that over your content.
- Design a website that is aesthetically pleasing for users, not just search engines. Make sure your site is not extremely text heavy, difficult to navigate or following too much of a blog style theme.
- Write content that answers a user’s specific search query such as “Best shampoo and conditioner for bleached blonde hair” as opposed to “Top bleached hair care products”.
- Remove tag pages. Tags can often duplicate content onto more than one page when it puts the post in a category.
- Don’t write the same content over and over. There is a theory that Google may devalue some pages and only focus on the one page it thinks is best surrounding the keyword or search query. Try and broaden your content topics.
- Create a following on social media. Work on building a trusted following that will interact with your content and see sharable content in your posts.
- Create non-profit content that is specific and useful for your industry/niche. Content like this will be shared or attract links and therefore increase the authority of your site and traffic to it.
- Do not only publish text posts. It’s important to use video and images to generate views and traffic too. Videos can be transcribed into text and provide value to search engine robots.
- Focus on users rather than keywords. Affiliate sites that last create content for users, solve problems and offer solutions.