Google released an unconfirmed update on March 8th, 2017 which is being called the “Fred.” As per initial reports, the sites affected by this update saw up to 90% drop in organic traffic.
While it remains vague as to what this update is specifically targeting, Fred is believed to be one of those updates which go by unnoticed until you start seeing changes in your website rankings or traffic. The chatter in the SEO community suggest that the Fred update affects these kinds of sites:
1. Build quality content – Quality content is not entirely about high word count or keyword density. Make sure that your content — even if it is low on word count — is relevant, provides unique value to the reader, addresses the needs of your audience and appeals to them.
2. Monitor website traffic – Keeping an eye on website analytics will help you understand how these updates are affecting your site ranking and traffic. When you begin to see unusual changes in your ranks or traffic, check the dates of the changes against the dates of the algorithm updates.
3. Audit the ads on your site – To avoid being penalized by Google:
4. Quality backlinks – If you find that a site irrelevant to yours has linked to you, reach out to them and ask them to remove your link or use Google’s Disavow Tool to disavow these links. Doing so will allow you to avoid a manual penalty from Google. If you have any affiliate links, make sure all the affiliate links have a nofollow attribute on them
Use a link audit software to keep check of backlinks from other sites. Here are some Backlink analysis tools you can make use of:
In addition to these, there are multiple tools out there that can help analyze the quality of your backlinks.
5. Improve user experience – Focus on keeping your site user-friendly by optimizing for all platforms, eliminate unnecessary UX barriers and make the site easy to navigate, use schema markups to create well-presented search results and overall create a good site architecture.
There is no doubt that Google is rolling out updates on a regular basis, and you may not get confirmation on every update. The best thing you can do to avoid being a victim of penalization through these updates is to constantly make sure that you are always serving quality content to your users which are not centered around search engine algorithms or created only for revenue generation.
In addition, keep close watch for Google algorithm updates so that you can reduce the chance of being caught unprepared.