Google Fred Algorithm update(2021) saw that some sites reduced their traffic by up to 90% and sought to get rid of thin, very intense content SERPs.
Depending on your strategies and sites, the impact was almost certainly significant. The losers lost big, and the winners took their place.
Fred was here.
Why call the Google Fred algorithm?
According to Gary Illyes, very sarcastic, Google, “Fred” is the name of every update for which Google does not give us a name.
That being said, when we refer to the “Fred Update”, we usually refer to the update released on March 7, 2017.
Unless otherwise specified, any reference to Fred below will be in this context and not a compilation of all “unnamed” updates since then.
Fred has an interesting time.
Google Fred algorithm was preceded a month earlier by a major Google Core update, which was said to focus on E-A-T.
One week after Fred, Google announced Project Owl, which was designed to remove misleading and offensive information based on feedback from their quality reviewers.
Now, let’s be clear: evaluators were instructing the system to recognize inaccurate or offensive information, not deciding which sites should be removed from the results.
Clearly, Google has been very focused on quality and the use of data from their quality appraisers.
Fred was no exception.
What was Google’s Fred algorithm?
Google’s Fred algorithm update was launched in an attempt to eliminate what Google perceived as low-quality results – sites that relied on thin content and aggressive ad placement.
Many were affiliate sites, though not all.
Most used content as their main traffic driver. Usually, we hear that Google tells people to do just that.
However, the quality of the content on the affected sites tended to be very low, with widespread advertising. Get to know the sites. You probably avoid them.
While Gary gave us a name for the update, he didn’t give us a list of areas
Addressed in addition to the statement:
This tells us that it had to do with E-A-T, and the affected sites imply that some or all of the targeted areas were:
- Too many commercials.
- Thin content.
- Poor link quality.
- Low-quality content.
- Aggressive affiliate connection.
- Overwhelming interstitials.
- Misleading ads (ads that appear as content).
Disproportionate main content ratio / additional content.
If you want a refresh of the E-A-T and the Quality Assessment Guides, you’ll find one here.
From the horse’s mouth
Jenn Slegg interviewed Gary Illyes on this topic at Brighton SEO in 2017.
Here is a transcript of their discussion.
When it came to Fred, it all came down to:
Freds, not Fred
Gary confirmed in the interview that Fred is the name of every unnamed update. As mentioned above, everything is fine for him to state, but it is a little useless for SEO professionals.
This is why we usually refer to the single update.
Google doesn’t like that we care about updates
Gary continues to note,
“I don’t like that people focus on [updates]. Every update we make is around the quality of the site or the overall quality, the perceived quality of the site, the content, and links, or whatever. ”
We would rather focus our time and attention on meeting the user’s needs than analyze the updates and follow the values involved.
Most updates are inaccessible
With two to three updates a day, Gary rightly points out that most address unacceptable areas, such as how words are structured on a page in a particular language.
I just want to emphasize the use of the word “most.”
Basically, if you publish high-quality content that is highly quoted on the internet …”
He continues to be a little crazy, but it is clear that one goal should be to build quality content that attracts links.
It’s not specific to the news or Fred, but it’s worth noting.
Most updates can’t be triggered (in the sense that nothing can be done literally – not that there are just things that Google tells you they don’t want you to do like link building).
All sites fluctuate.
When in doubt, read the Webmaster’s Guide (and I’d add the Quality Reviewer’s Guide).
Gary is sarcastic and quite funny.
Recovery after Fred update
Fortunately, if you rank now, you’ve probably done things that will keep you from hitting similar updates.
Those who wanted to recover from this update had a big, big task ahead of them. Typically, they had to revise their site structure to reduce the appearance of the ad and, in addition, revise their content page by page to make sure it actually deserved a place in the top 10.
Some did. But many do not.
Some tried to shorten it.
Barry Schwartz made a list of sites he knew were hit.
Here’s how some did it:
Looks familiar, but the second drop took a bit longer. The follow-up hit would be one of three updates.
A flurry of manual actions was sent out around this time. This is the least likely.
Quality updates that occurred around this time.
It sounds familiar, but the second drop lasted a little longer. The follow-up hit would be one of three updates.
A number of manual actions were sent during this period. This is the least likely.
Quality updates that took place during this period.
Marie Haynes also reported seeing a number of affected sites around
Those who have done SEO recently will be accustomed to updates like Fred, but in 2017 it was different from previous updates.
Stronger. More targeted. More effective. More devastating … or full of satisfaction.
I remember when Fred came out. Although my own clients were not significantly affected in one way or another, it put a stamp on what was to come.
I’ve seen quality updates and spam cleaners before, but it somehow felt different. And it was.
After Fred, quality updates came more frequently and varied. I think that with the growth of machine learning, but whatever the reason, as a searcher and someone who likes informative content, I appreciate it.
And we hope you feel like you found him here.
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