An update to the Google algorithm, named Fred, has been confirmed by Google’s Gary Illyes as of 7th March. How will this affect your search engine optimisation (SEO)? Read on and we shall explore more. 

What is Fred?

Whilst Google has remained consistently tight lipped about the update, trusted members of the digital marketing industry have begun their own analysis of different types of websites to see what and where impact has been felt.

Barry Schwartz said on Search Engine Land that after analysing content websites he saw “50 percent to 90 percent traffic declines from Google organic search. This was a massive organic ranking drop for these sites.”

“After reviewing well over 70 sites that were hit by this update, 95% of them share two things in common. The sites all seem content driven, either blog formats or other content like sites and they all are pretty heavy on their ad placement.”Google Fred Algorithm Update.png

Why exactly has this algorithm update been called “Fred”?

Well you can assign blame to our trusty SEO industry for that one also! After somewhat of an allusive confirmation on there actually being an algorithm update or not, Twitter was a light with speculation, and the jovial name came from a seemingly daft suggestion, check out the Twitter conversation over here:

Barry Scwarz - Google Fred-1.png

So what can you do to make sure you don’t fall fowl of Mr. Fred Google?

Being aware that this algorithm update is predominantly targeting websites with significant portions of content on, means that we can revert to our trusted guidelines on writing good quality content for SEO.

We are strong believers in designing and building websites for the benefit of the end user. If we find a page with poor user experience, and very little in the way of information on your products and services, then we make a point of going back to the drawing board and blending our strengths across branding, user experience, and search engine optimisation together.

We also don’t believe in writing for writing’s sake. Our talented internal copywriters are astute, and assertive to know when something becomes far too long winded and simply becomes jibberish, for the sake of ranking in a search engine.  

In conclusion..

The more we read about search marketer’s tests, the more evidence appears that this is an algorithm update predominantly looking to downgrade low quality blog websites, or site built purely for the purpose of hosting Ad Sense adverts to gain revenue.

So is this Fred the nasty kid in the class that we should be worried about? We’re not so sure, it could simply be that it’s an enhanced Panda update with the aim of downgrading low-valued content sites aimed at revenue generation over the goal of helping users and readers.

So what are your thoughts, have you seen any fluctuations in your visibility or a drop in Organic traffic? Or do you suspect that trusty old Fred is up to something entirely different?

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Written by Emma Puzylo March of 2017