A measurable algorithm update has been making waves over the last week and it is having a profound impact on many websites across the web.
Dubbed “Fred” by Gary Illes, this algo update seems to be honing in on low-value content and ad-heavy websites. There are some early indications that some affiliate websites across multiple industries could be feeling the effects of this update as well. Chief among them are “shell” affiliate websites that are created only to shepherd traffic from one affiliate website to the other.
Remember that Google has harped on the SEO values that they are looking for in a website, which includes original and updated content, high quality backlinks (quality over quantity) and an overall positive user experience when they come to your website. Many of the websites that have been affected by this update seem to be violating at least one of these core values.
Search Engine Round Table first noticed some fluctuations starting to happen back on March 8th, but at that point they didn’t know how far-reaching this update would be. They then posted a follow-up article on Fred on March 13th confirming what they had first seen on the 8th.
Here are a couple of examples of anonymous webmasters who have posted their traffic drops on the forums. As you can see, some of these websites have lost 50% of their traffic overall.
Below is a screen-grab from one of the webmasters, straight from their Google Search Console dashboard. As you can see the saw a large drop in total clicks to the website. This drastic of a drop, i.e. “the cliff,” is never what you want to see and is a tell-tale sign that an update has occurred.
Moz also indicated a huge spike in the SERPs for March 8th, backing up what many in the industry had started noticing shortly after that date. There weather report utilizes a “heat” scale and the hotter the day on their report, the higher the chance that there is some sort of algorithm update rolling out. As you can see, on March 8th the temperature was recorded at 94 degrees.
The fallout of this update is still happening and some webmasters are just now starting to take note of how this affected their websites. We will provide updates of any relevant information that comes out in regard to the Fred algo update.
In the meantime, if you were affected by Fred, please feel free to reach out to us as we would be happy to take look at your website to see what the root cause might be. As usual, there will assuredly be some non-violators that get caught up in this and if you are one of these, be sure to email us, or fill out the handy form below.
Thanks and happy SEO’ing!