On March 24th, Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed the Fred algorithm update on twitter. Gary, during his twitter exchange with Search Engine Land’s News Editor, Barry Schwartz, stated that the latest google update is impacting sites which specifically go against Google’s webmaster guidelines.
Fred update, according to statcounter.com, is said to hurt the websites with thin content and low-quality backlinks. They have an interesting observation that both thin content and poor quality backlinks occur simultaneously. So if you are a website owner or a business with an online presence and your website ranking has plummeted drastically in the past one or two months, it is most likely because of Fred update.
Below are 5 simple steps to check if your website is affected by Fred. And if yes, how you can quickly recover from your lost ranking.
Check the analytics of your site. Has the traffic or the number of keywords you were ranking for, between March 5th and the 20th dropped drastically? If yes, go to step 2.
Differentiate between your high-quality and low-quality content. If you are wondering how to differentiate between the good content vs the not so good ones, Google has set quality guidelines which you can read here.
To give you a quick summary, good content is unique and targets the readers not search engine robots. Google suggests you ask yourself, “Does this content help my users?”
Compare your previous analytics report (prior to March 2017) with the current one and prepare the list of keywords that you used to rank for but have lost your ranking over, now. Match the lost keywords with content in your low-quality content pages.
Now that you have identified the lost keywords, identify those low-quality pages which were drawing most traffic, pre-Fred. Be swift in generating genuine and relevant content for those pages. Remember to ask yourself “ Will this content help my user?” You may add, rewrite or scrap it entirely and start from scratch.
Verify your website’s backlinks by tools available online like https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/
Remove all backlinks which are questionable and not relevant to your business offering. While doing so ensure that your remaining “good” backlinks appear natural and in reasonable ratios. For instance, no-follow to follow ratios, anchor text similarities, etc. are all things that Google takes into account when determining the value of your backlinks.
Image source: http://mozcast.com/
MozCast is a weather report showing turbulence in the Google algorithm over the previous day. The hotter and stormier the weather, the more Google’s rankings changed. The above weather report was taken for mid March-April 2017. Fred algorithm was launched on March 7-8, 2017.