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

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