Google loves and invites ‘quality’ content that can solve user problems or queries. Continuously encouraging people to share quality content, Google provides platforms which allow people to earn by advertising ‘relevant’ ads. When working with any Google service, it is important to be watchful with your methods and techniques. While designing digital marketing strategies keep words like genuine, relevant, ethical, and quality in mind. Anything or anyone that goes beyond the Google guidelines will be penalized. When you go over solving the user’s problem just to generate revenue that benefits only you and not the user, Google will filter you out from the search results. Google often releases algorithms to bypass the wrong means of marketing content that is strongly tied with the aggressive monetization. And, one of its latest releases is Google Fred.
What Is Google Fred?
Google Fred was released on March 28, 2017. Mistaken to be a single update, Google Fred turned out to be a compilation of multiple updates all with a different goal. It targets black-hat SEO tactics that are often coupled with the aggressive money making techniques. Overflowing ads and low-valued content that benefits only the marketer than the users were on the radar of Google. All the website that fall into these categories were penalized. Now, you think that this update will affect only the dummy websites. Coming as a surprise to you, Google Fred has affected a majority of the content websites. These websites have a large number of ads and are created solely for the purpose of generating revenue. These websites may have the useful content, but the motive behind it was to generate more money. They market to get clicks and earn money than helping the user with information. So, those websites were sword-cut by Google Fred.
Why the Name ‘Fred’?
Every update that Google makes is about quality of website, content, and the links. The series of any unconfirmed Google updates that has much wider scope than the Panda will be called as Fred from now onwards. Any range of quality updates by Google that is in violation of the webmaster guidelines is will be called as Fred. Google does many of the quality updates that go unnoticed by the marketers. Any Google update that has fairly affected a large number of the website on quality grounds will be called as Fred. In a nutshell, all the unnamed updates by Google on quality are now ‘Fred’.
Must Read: Google Panda Update: A Complete Guide
What Kind Of Websites Were Affected By Google Fred?
After the release of this update, many websites experienced a huge shift in the rankings and traffic. The websites which were employing black-hat SEO with heavy ad monetization tactics were terminated. The websites that have a less amount of content with more of ads spread throughout the page were affected by the Google update. The majority of the websites were affected because of one of the following reasons:
- The massive clutter of ads on a maximum of the webpages
- Content is written on all the possible topics (relevant and irrelevant) solely to improve the ranking
- Quality of the content is below the average industry standards
- Content has affiliate links and ads spread throughout the pages
- Tricky and deceptive ads (for example, a button looks like a play button but pops an irrelevant ad on clicking)
- Mobile friendliness and user experience barriers
- Aggressive affiliate marketing and monetization strategies
Is There Any way To Tell Whether Or Not Your Website Was Affected By Google Fred?
If you have experienced a sudden drop in your rankings and organic traffic in the mid-March then your website must have been guilty of one of the above reasons.
What Are The Ways To Recover Your Website Affected By Google Fred?
The number one thing to do with your website is to browse through it manually. Check for it being user-friendly. Ensure that your website has fewer ads. Make sure it greet the users with quality content. Think about your target users and redesign your marketing strategy. But, this time, think more about the users’ benefits than yours. Self-analyze your website and inquire what is useful and what needs improvements. In addition, we recommend you do the following:
- Scale back all the irrelevant ads on your website
- Go through the Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines (QRG) and follow them
- Check for the correct placement of the ads
- Look for what can give a better user experience
- Periodically review the user experience (UX) of your website
- Proofread your content and check if it solves the purpose
Ensure that every piece of the content on your website is in compliance with best white-hat SEO techniques practised by your hired SEO agency. Your website must give a clear indication of who it belongs to and what the pages are about. It must have a quick loading-time with a few to no technical errors. In addition, your website must have an excellent online reputation, quality backlinks, and recognized industry awards.