Although unconfirmed by Google, recent spikes in the Mozcast weather forecast (recorded turbulence in Google’s algorithm activity), chatter in the Webmaster World and talk amongst the ‘black hat’ SEO community indicate that there was an algorithm update earlier this month, relating to link quality.
Why is it Called Fred?
Well actually this is the name it’s been given by the SEO industry after Google’s Gary Illyes made a statement in jest that all updates be named Fred.
As the recent update has not yet been confirmed by Google, Fred is an unofficial name, but we suspect Google will keep the name if and when the algorithm is rightfully acknowledged.
What is the Algorithm All About?
Speculation would suggest this algorithm update relates to link spam. The justification, according to search engine land, is the fact it has had more of an impact among the ‘Black Hat’ SEO community than the ‘White Hat’ SEO community. This suggests that it has affected those engaging in poor practices around link quality.
Some webmasters have reported 20-40% drops in their traffic, with some sites disappearing from Google’s index altogether. Some reported that their rankings returned to normal the following day, however many more have not seen a recovery.
When Did Google Fred Launch?
This seismic shift seems to have taken place over 7th and 8th March 2017, but there have been previous algorithm updates of a similar nature that have also been left unconfirmed by Google.Two back in February this year were unconfirmed major updates relating to content quality.
Could this be a new phase for Google – refraining from announcing their updates in a bid to continue keeping webmasters on their toes? After all, if you’re playing by the rules, you shouldn’t need to know about Google’s eternal quest to promote high quality sites. You should naturally ride the waves.
What This Means for Your Business
If you are engaging in SEO practices in line with Google’s Best Practices, then technically you should have nothing to fear. Whilst sometimes Google does make fundamental changes to its algorithms that do warrant an announcement, generally most updates are merely more developed ways of helping websites that utilise good SEO practices to rank better.
If you’re engaging in bad practices however, then it’s only a matter of time before Google’s evolving algorithms eventually catch up with you.
Need Help with Fred?
If you’re a Whitefish Marketing client, then let us reassure you. We take great pride in our ‘whiter than white’ (pun intended) approach to SEO for our clients. The websites we work on are optimised according to Google’s Best Practices and our aim is to give you longevity on your Google rankings.
Have you been affected by the unofficial Google “Fred” update? Why not give us a call on 01303 720 288 and we can arrange a consultation to discuss how we can help. Alternatively, you can use our free SEO audit tool to analyse your site’s score.