In early March, Google released it's latest SEO update, which ended up being calling Fred due to a tongue in cheek response from Google's Gary Illyes. Yes that's right, Fred.
What is the Fred update and how does it affect your site?
Google are keeping their cards close to their chest with Fred, as is often the case with their SEO updates, but the general consensus is that the update targets ad heavy, low value content and affiliate sites. A few tweets from Google employees have suggested that this theory is most likely correct.
But what are ad-heavy low value content sites?
These are sites that have been designed with the sole aim of maximising revenue by gaining lots of web traffic and getting the user to click on an ad or affiliate link. Sites that fit this description usually share certain common traits and characteristics, such as:
- Content that is purely written to target keywords.
- An unusually high ratio of ads and links within the site's content.
- Content is usually text based, quite often in the form of a blog or an article.
- Content is tailored towards generating revenue, and not to answering the users search query.
If your site features affiliate links, don't worry. In their tweet above, Google clearly suggests there is no inherent problem with affiliate links and that the problem Fred is intending to fix is when a site's sole purpose is to be a shallow container for affiliate links.
They provided two sites as examples; The Points Guy and Easy DIY and Crafts. The first of the two, The Points Guy, is what Google considers to be an acceptable affiliate link site, where there are sponsored links but mixed in with informative, useful content. On the other hand, Easy DIY and Crafts showcases typical traits of ad heavy, low value content. The sort that Google was targeting in this update, and they have reported a significant reduction in traffic.
To avoid your site being affected by this update, we recommend you ensure your site contains useful and informative content that will help answer the query the user had when they visited your site.
If you have any questions about Google updates, or want to know how we can help feel free to call us on 0800 081 1688 for more information!