Understanding Google’s Algorithm update: Fred

Let’s identify who Fred is and discuss how we can protect ourselves against google’s Algorithm update

Who is Fred?

During March 2017 website owners were noticing a drop in ranking. No announcements were made about Google algorithm updates at the beginning of March, which left people confused and questioning why their rankings had been hit. However, towards the end of the Month Google put us in the picture and explained that there hadn’t been a specific algorithm update, but in fact, Google did and still do daily updates to ensure quality websites are rewarded. Moving forwards, we now refer to all the general updates that happen as Fred.

More about the Fred updates

If you noticed changes in your rankings during March 2017 you weren’t alone. If your drop in ranking was sudden and unexplained it is likely that you have been hit by these Google’s updates. Websites entertaining the idea of black hat SEO techniques are penalised for these poor practices.

If you were / are doing one of some following, your drop in ranking can most likely be linked to these updates:

  • Too many ads on your website
    The number of ads present on your website out numbers the content on your pages.
  • Thin content
    The information and blog content are of poor quality, minimal and vague. If your content is of a low standard and doesn’t compare to other websites in your industry.
  • Aggressive monetization
    Having too much focus on making money or encouraging a return using dodgy practices.
  • Mobile compatibility problems
    A website design needs to be responsive and translate well when using a mobile phone and tablets.
  • Poor user experience (UX)
    Content and website elements are disorganised, difficult to navigation, bad links and on-site errors.

Part of the Fred updates focused on tackling the above issues and from doing so informs us that Google are fighting back at websites which try to cheat the system. If your focus is on monetization rather than being a useful online resource, then your website ranking is likely to suffer. You may be unaware that these practices are questionable and if that is the case there are improvements that can be made. We can of course be proactive and ensure the above are not techniques being utilised on your website. However, if you are unsure about identifying the cause then its probably most effective if you get a professional to help you quickly identify the issue.

Let’s be proactive and work with Fred

Websites with excellent UX are favoured by Google. By making changes and working with white hat SEO techniques you will avoid penalties.

Although it can be difficult to identify general Google updates and their impact, it is generally a good idea to follow these practices. Use our check list to improve your website and it’s ranking.

  • Ensure your content and blogs are clear and relevant to the service you are providing
  • Add to or remove content that is thin
  • Regularly maintain your website, its content and ensure you have no errors
  • Remove ads or reduce the amount on your website so the ratio of content to ads is more fair
  • Check that your website is responsive and translates well to mobile and tablets
  • Don’t keyword stuff, and ensure the keywords used are relevant
  • Improve website trustworthiness
  • Give a clear indication of what your website is about
  • Build your website reputation through positive reviews, quality back links and awards

You can also use Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to cover the basics and gain a broader understanding. Alternatively contacting a professional to take your project on will help to manage the issues raised.

Last words about Fred

Ultimately, consider your visitors and users. Give then a quality story and explanation of your business/ service. Make their visit to your website one that is effortless and enjoyable – all in all a good experience. Show off your credentials and make your testimonials, reviews and awards noticeable to the world.

Finally, repeat after me… Quality, Quality, Quality

For more handy tips or expert input come and say hi at,



What is Google Possum and is it impacting on your business?

This time we are taking a look at Google’s Possum update which was released in September 2016. It has since changed the landscape of Google’s local finder results and ranking.

The purpose of the Possum update has been to create greater diversity among local results and to reduce spam from ranking. This update has impacted on 64% of the 1,307 businesses investigated by Moz.com. As suggested by Moz, this could have been part of Possum of an alternative update. Thankfully there are a few ways of identifying whether the Possum update has influenced your business listings.

Is your business listed?

One of the main characteristics of Possum appear when business listings have disappeared. In actual fact Google has filtered them. One quick way to identify if this has happened to your business is to do a search of your business industry, such as florist or pharmacy followed by the location. If your business isn’t showing up on the 3-pack listing simply zoom in. Hopefully Google will look at the location with more detail of local businesses and identify your businesses presence.

Let’s understand this a little bit more, Google isn’t removing, giving penalties or preventing a business from ranking. It is in fact working like a filter by picking what it believes to be better quality results. It believes that you won’t want to see results that are too similar, hence the focus on diversity.

How has Possum influenced your business?

Searcher’s location

Factors to take on board is the way a user’s location influences what results are received. The results will vary if two users search the same query but one is in London and the other in Paris. This could be another reason why you can not see your business being listed.

Shared business addresses

If you have a business in an office block or business park where your address is the same as other businesses, even with a different business name, address (room, office or suite number in this case) and different phone number (NAP) Google is likely to filter most of the businesses out simply because they are at the same address. Unfortunately, for many businesses having the addition of a block, room or suite number hasn’t had any significant impact on improving address diversity. Specialist practitioners have noticed that genuine businesses have been caught up in the negative down falls of this update by being filtered out of query responses.

Registered locations

Prior to the update, businesses which were registered in a city because its included in the address. But these businesses were technically outside of the city’s borders have been suffering with ranking. Since Possum was implemented Joy Hawkins, an SEO practitioner, has noticed that some of these businesses rankings have rocketed in position. Moz.com tells us, “it has long been observed in the Local SEO industry that companies beyond city borders have little chance of earning local rankings for queries originating in those cities”.

Working with Possum to make improvements:

The Possum update seems to be harder to work with or escape compared to some of Google’s other updates like Panda and Hummingbird. However, its key to remember that Google, all in all, wants to deliver quality and relevant responses to our queries. Improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and demonstrate to Google that you are the best answer to search queries. This is likely to support your online presence.

Say hello…

We are happy to help and guide on the you issues covered in this article, so feel free to get in touch.