How the Google Fred Update may affect your business

In recent years Google has been continuously committed to clean up it’s rankings by ridding itself of websites using spam and keyword stuffing as a way to get to the top of this list. The Google Fred Update is having a lasting impact on the search ability and rankings of sites across the web.

There are few things more frustrating than searching Google to come up with pages of sites that are full of ads and low quality content. This is an unpleasant experience for the user and bad for business on Google’s part. One of the ways that the search engine giant has an impact on this is by continuously updating its algorithms.  This is done to provide users with the most relevant and high quality results for the search terms entered.

“This happens several times a day, hundreds of times in a year”, according to Gary Illyes, Google webmaster. It isn’t always necessary to provide the public with a notice of these updates every time.

One update that occurred earlier this year has had a sweeping impact of highs and lows on rankings in recent months. This update, now referred to as the “Google Fred Update”, took a lot of web-masters and SEO professionals by surprise. Imagine waking up to see your business page or pages you manage tank in rankings? Scary, right?

Have you noticed a change in your SEO rankings of website traffic since early March?

Let’s explore how you may have been positively or negatively affected.  Then read on for some steps you can take to remedy your rankings or continue to reap the benefits of this latest update.

Who was negatively impacted by the Google Fred Update?

The purpose of this most recent algorithm update seems to have targeted websites with outdated content and an abundance of ads or affiliate links throughout the post. A virtual spring cleaning if you will. Sites that take advantage of known search preference algorithms by stuffing their content with keywords all the while failing to provide high quality content to their users saw a dramatic decrease in their traffic and rankings almost immediately following.

Based on an analysis of over 100 url’s during this time found that many websites saw a 50-90% decrease in web traffic with an organic search. Those numbers indicate a massive drop in rankings.

The Google Fred update also penalizes content that is not original or that has been automatically generated. Some examples of businesses who may have been affected by the Google Fred update may include companies who sell products that use the vendor’s description on their site to promote that product. That is not considered original content and may have a negative impact on your web traffic, rankings and ultimately the sales of those products. Being sure to craft your own original voice on the web is one of the ways to increase your search ability.

Websites and blogs that use content provided by content mills or depend heavily on affiliate links and lead generations for revenue saw a dramatic decrease in traffic and rankings. Another area of the web that was affected are sites with stagnant or irrelevant content.

If your aren’t updating content regularly you may find that rankings and traffic have decreased through this last update as well.

To learn more about how to optimize content on your business’ blog in 4 easy steps click here. 

Who saw an increase in traffic and rankings?

It’s not all gloom and doom in the world of SEO. The other side of this two sided coin is that the websites that already have relevant, original content saw an uptick in their google rankings. Sites that also stand to benefit from this particular update in the long term have clean and naturally placed back links to original content.

Regularly updating your blog with originally produced content has the potential to contribute to a substantial increase in traffic. Increasing your traffic will help your site climb the ladder towards Google’s highly sought after front page.

How can you align your business’ website to benefit from this Fred update?

While it can’t be said that the Google Fred update may not be the culprit for every increase or decrease in rankings and traffic. It does appear to have had a widely spread effect on many and is here to stay. SEO takes time, patience, and skill to craft your site for optimal results.

Having a website that is easily recognized by Google can bring you increased traffic and sales for your business. After all;

  • A study by Outbrain shows that search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300%.
  • For Google, a study from Slingshot SEO shows 18% of organic clicks go to the #1 position, 10% of organic clicks go to the #2 position, and 7% of organic clicks go to the #3 position.
  • Google owns 68% of the search engine market share. (2016)

Slingshot SEO


DesignLoud is a web development & digital marketing agency located in Wilmington, NC. Our team takes great pleasure in teaching others how to build and market their websites to see higher returns.

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