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The Fred Update

Written by Website Marketing on . Posted in Website Marketing

local search marketing okcYet another Google update occurred earlier this year on March 8th, 2017. Known as ‘Fred,’ it’s left some website reeling, worth traffic dropping by as much as 90 percent. Clearly, Google’s Fred update is going to cause a lot of webmasters a lot of concerns, but what, exactly, is Fred targeting? And if you do get a kicking from the latest update, how can you adapt your site, so it is Fred-friendly? We’re going to take a look at everything you need to know about Google Fred and ensure that you are up to speed and that your website is back up on its feet as quickly as possible.

The guidelines

Webmasters are sometimes their own worst enemy. When Google update their algorithms, there is often plenty of warnings – the algorithm for the Fred upgrade, for example, is clearly forewarned in Google’s webmaster guidelines. It states that sites with poor-quality, shallow content will be affected, as will sites with a heavy lean towards advertising. Affiliate heavy sites are also going to expect to take a hit on their rankings. But one of the most important aspects of Fred is that the algorithm update is taking a bigger look at local sites – which we’ll go into a little later.

The typical site hit

According to, many of the sites affected by the Google Fred update are all showing remarkable similarities. Many of those that took a 50-90 percent drop in traffic were content websites which appear as if they are all producing low-quality, poorly researched content that is placing advertising and revenue over and above helping their audience with interesting topics. Interestingly, almost all of the sites include ads and affiliate links heavily sprinkled throughout the content, and none of them are industry expert sites – just generic, thin churn that you see everywhere else, and places that actually have little value to the visitor.

Unaffected sites

There is also a common theme between sites that have remained untouched. Good quality content is the key to avoiding a penalty from Google’s Fred update, and webmasters of unaffected sites appear to be offering long-form, well-researched articles and content such as infographics, video, and podcasts as well as written posts.

Getting your rankings back on track

So, what do you do if Fred has, effectively, taken down your site? Losing up to 90 percent of your traffic from Google is a problem – and could see your revenue disappearing altogether. There are a few things you should look at doing, which we’re going to take a look at now. The first step, as always, is to check your analytics. If there is a significant drop in traffic between the beginning and middle of March, it’s undoubtedly down to the effects of Fred. The next step is to go back to Google’s webmaster advice, and read it – all the information you need to ensure your website is Google-friendly is there.


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