How Will the “Fred Update” Affect Your SEO Campaign?
When Google’s Gary Illyes tweeted that all updates are now to be called Fred, the SEO world waited with bated breath to see what was coming next. The answer appeared to be a Google update that has had a serious effect on rankings for a number of sites.
Unsurprisingly, this has been christened the “Fred Update.” But is it really a big deal? And what, if anything, do you need to do about it?
With so many things in life, the reality does not live up to the hype, and the case of Fred looks to be no different. The sites that have been affected appear to be those that are ad-heavy and deemed to prioritize monetization over user experience.
If you care about an effective SEO campaign, then you will already know how important it is to continuously improve your blog content and keep your content fresh and relevant. In that case, Fred can only be a good thing, relegating poorer quality and spammy sites to where they belong.
Google has declined to comment on the Fred update, which is par for the course where they are concerned. Whenever an update is rumored, the stock answer is that they make minor changes almost every day and that it is business as usual. When asked, Illyes simply stated “We make updates. All the time. Literally.”
So why all the fuss?
On 08 March and the days immediately thereafter, chatter started to circulate online about huge drops in traffic from Google. Some in the SEO community reported overnight decreases in traffic of 80-90%.
The Fred update was soon held responsible but as soon as any detailed analysis took place, it became apparent that the biggest impact was on content-driven websites with heavy quantities of advertising. In essence, it seems that this update is aiming to penalize poor quality sites that are only interested in driving advertising revenue.
Is there anything to worry about?
If the above description sounds like your site, then you can expect to see a drop in google rankings and therefore low traffic. However, this is really only likely to be a problem for sites that are covered in AdSense and banner adverts.
If your site has a good blend of relevant, interesting content mixed with the judicious use of advertising, then it is highly unlikely that you will have anything to worry about. In fact, for every website that drops down the rankings, another one goes up, so for good quality websites, the Fred update should have a positive effect on SERPs.
What should I do?
Since Fred seems to be targeting sites that have only been created to generate advertising revenue, then the obvious thing is to make sure that is not the impression that your website conveys.
That means that you and your chosen SEO consultants should take a “less is more” approach to the advertising on your pages. Beyond that, it is a case of remembering the golden rules of SEO. Focus on good quality content that is first and foremost aimed at great user experience, and Fred will be your friend for life.