Google Fred Update – What Was It?

Did your site got hit with the Google Fred update?

If you’re in the same boat, then stick around till the end because, in this article, I’ll share with you what precisely the Fred update is all about, what type of sites affected, and finally how you can recover from it.

So without wasting any further time, let’s dive right into the article.


What is the Google Fred Update?

In 2017, around 7-8th of March, Google released an update with the name of “Fred.”

The algorithm update was for sites that were low-quality and using black hat techniques only to earn money.

The Fred update tanked all the sites that were using a lot of advertisements with thin content on their site. Their goal was only to earn money from their traffic and not genuinely solving a user’s query.

The owner of SEO Roundtable Barry Schwartz reported that the affected sites lost almost 50-90 of their search traffic.


Purpose of the Google Fred Update

As always, Google wasn’t clear as to what was the purpose of this algorithm and what all websites will be affected. However, sites having aggressive monetization techniques with low-quality content were hit.

If the sites’ primary purpose is to earn money and not solve their reader problems, they were hit.

To add further, Fred update was not only about the excessive advertisements, but a big chunk of sites was also hit due to poor quality link profile.

Techwyse reported that sites with broken links, poor domain authority, unnatural links were all affected under the Fred update.


How to Check If Your Site Was Affected In The Google Fred Update?

If you saw a massive traffic dip on March 7-8th, 2017, you can consider your site to be hit by the Google Fred update.

Poor quality backlinks and aggressive advertisements are one of the reasons why your site might get hit in the update.


How to Recover From Google Fred Update?

In this section of the article, I’ll share with you some techniques to recover a site from the Google Fred update.


1) Conduct A Site Audit
I cannot stress this enough, but if any of our sites get hit the first thing we should do is run a thorough site audit.

You have two options to perform a site audit, either hire a professional SEO agency or do it yourself. The later way looks so obvious as it saves you a lot of money; however, be sure that you need to invest a lot of time in doing an audit. Also, if you haven’t done it ever, chances are you might not do it properly which will affect a site even more.


2) Work on The Overall Quality of The Site
By building an overall quality of the site, I mean to publish high-quality, unique content on the site.

You also need to focus on the UX and other factors important factors. A thorough site audit will help, as mentioned above.

There were three types of impact that were noticed with this update – positive, negative, and “the grey area.”

To read in more detail about the types of impact with a practical example, do read this fantastic guide by G-Squared Interactive.


3) Clean Up Poor Links
One of the very simple ways to get your rankings back after the site gets hit with the Fred update is, disavowing poor links from your domain.

Make use of tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush and prepare a list of all the toxic backlinks that are affecting your site performance.

Finally, use the Google disavow tool to get rid of all the bad links from your site.

You don’t have to stop just yet. Once you disavow bad links, it’s time to get going and start building new authoritative links.


4) Use Limited Advertisements
I have seen people using 10 ad placements on a single page.

Trust me, that’s a lot of ads.

Right off the bat, I can smell the site is only made for monetization purposes. Just like me, Google’s Fred algorithm can smell it and penalizes your site.

It’s recommended to not use more than 3-4 ads on every page of your site to be safe.


How Long It Takes To Recover From The Penalty?

To be honest, there’s no sure shot answer to this question.

If you keep working on building a good site that helps your readers first with top quality articles, quality backlinks and more, I’m sure you can recover from the Fred update.


Final Words

Google algorithms release is a way to improve the overall search experience for their users.

The point is that if you do good work and genuinely help readers through your website, Google algorithms won’t be a pain for you.
For any more doubts related to the Google Fred update feel free to comment down below and let us know.

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