Google has made another change to its search engine indexing algorithm, and it’s having noticeable effects on certain websites.
Nicknamed “Fred,” the update essentially deprioritizes sites that contain a high volume of low-quality content. The unannounced change, which went into effect on March 8
, has caused some affected sites to see their traffic dip by as much as 90 percent.
The update, which was confirmed by Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes March 24, seems to impact sites that employ low-quality content strategies and overuse backlinks for the purposes of revenue generation.
What are algorithm updates?
Search engines like Google, Bing and the rest use complex algorithms that index the location of websites and prioritize how they will appear to users. Search providers are constantly reworking and updating their algorithms to maximize efficiency and weed out fraudulent or low-quality content.
While content geared toward search engine optimization should always aim to provide value to readers and viewers, there are some outdated tactics that may negatively impact your search results. For instance, a site filled with content that’s littered with backlinks, unnecessary keywords and generally unhelpful content is unlikely to provide value to your site’s visitors. Google has found ways, through its algorithms, to identify those types of websites.
The Fred update is simply the latest in a long line of tweaks the search giant has employed to maintain the user-friendliness and integrity of its ubiquitous product.
By facilitating search services, companies like Google, Microsoft and Quora derive revenue from advertisement placement and curation. Algorithms ensure that users of these search services continue to find relevant information from their search queries.
Recovering from ‘Fred’
If your site has experienced a significant decline in traffic due to the Fred update, it could be because some of your content is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
According to Google, pages that use automatically generated content, emphasize irrelevant keywords and lack original material are less likely to be ranked highly. Additionally, websites with blank pages that exist solely for SEO purposes may also see their search rankings drop.
Ensuring that your website and its pages are in compliance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines can help boost your rankings and assist you in reaching a broader audience with your content. And, posting high-quality, professionally generated content on your site will help maximize the impact of your digital marketing efforts.
While digital marketers always get a little nervous when Google rolls out an update like Fred, those who are consistently providing valuable, engaging content to their audiences will likely see little impact to their rankings. In fact, if you’re doing everything right, you may even see a bump.