Every so often, Google updates its algorithm so that only certain types of websites are included in its search results. It is a user-focused search engine, after all, and every time websites get a little too savvy with SEO optimization and other means of rising to the top of the search list Google comes up with a new way to identify the best websites for the user.
In its own webmaster guidelines, Google states that web pages ought to be designed for the users, not for the search engines. It is up to the webmasters to ensure the integrity of their site, and it is up to Google to identify the websites that keep this integrity.
If you don’t already know, Google Fred was the March 2017 update to Google’s algorithm. It was specifically designed to weed out websites that have too many affiliate links, content that is low quality, and have too much advertising. Some of us fell into the trap and were weeded out, so it’s time to adapt to the new era of Google. Let’s look at some ways for every webmaster to handle the Google Fred Update.
Slow down the advertising
Probably everyone would agree that ads are annoying and they even hinder the experience for many users. Look at your website as if you were a user checking it out for the first time. Deceptive advertisers are especially bad, and heavy advertising is penalized by the Google Fred update.
If a user might have trouble distinguishing your web content from the advertising, you likely have too many ads on your site. Anything that looks deceptive for the user at all lowers the Google ranking. Pop-ups are another big no-no since they make mobile use especially miserable.
Improve the quality of your content
Somewhere along the line, many webmasters have forgotten the point of a website: content and information. Word counts and keywords aren’t going to get you very far in the new Google update; you should have valuable, high-quality content to offer. If you have a site with quality information and content, this new algorithm will recognize that and move your site up in the rankings.
Google has its own guidelines for making valuable content that is worth reading. The main points from this are not to copy content (yours or someone else’s), focus on information over keywords, and use different forms of media to create content (infographics, written articles, videos, etc.).
Links and backlinks
Take a good hard look at your backlinks. Remove any suspicious or strange links. Identify them first by looking at your website from the user’s perspective. Check the backlinks with SEMrush or Ahref to make sure the link profile looks organic and authentic. Google takes all of this into account, so stay vigilant.
Ultimately, it’s always good to have a professional opinion weighing in. Use our Search Engine Optimization to help your site get to the top of Google searches and improve your site’s traffic.