On March 14 of this year, Search Engine Land reported that an unconfirmed Google ranking had hit the scene. It was called Fred, and, while Google didn’t initially have much to say about it (the update wasn’t confirmed by the search engine until March 23), the evidence supporting its existence has been compelling from the get-go.
Digging deeper, SEJ spent a weekend collecting sample URLs from sites that believed they had been affected. With few exceptions, the sites were low-value content sites aimed at driving revenue rather than assisting users.
The verdict? An algorithm update did hit and it’s after low-value sites.
Here’s what you need to know.
Who Does Fred Effect?
Right now, it seems like Fred’s biggest targets are so-called “black hat” SEO sites. These sites feature some content, typically a blog, that is written to rank and has ads and affiliate links throughout the text. Industry experts don’t write these sites, and they tend to contain content on a wide assortment of topics and terms.
These pages have the following traits in common:
• A high concentration of keyword-based material that’s apparently targeting phrases for ranking;
• An unnatural or invasive level of affiliate links and ads throughout the content and the site at large;
• High concentration of text-based content in article form. These sites generally do not feature original video content or image content;
• Content geared toward generating revenue rather than solving a customer’s problems.
In these sites, the Fred update engendered a 50-90 percent decrease in traffic from Google’s organic search.
This indicates that Fred is a spam algorithm update dedicated to continuing Google’s insistence on content quality and expert writing. The update comes on the heels of a Feb. 7 algorithm update that also focused on content quality.
10 Tips to Avoid Fred’s Penalties
Right now, it seems like Fred is targeting affiliate and AdSense sites, which could spell disaster for hardworking SEOs and marketers. Concerned about Fred coming for you? Here are some smart tips to avoid penalties in the coming months.
1. Rein in Your Ad Ratio
Now is a smart time to look at your site’s ad rate. If your site looks like one huge ad at first glance, you’ve got to pare it back slightly. Since Fred is targeting ad-heavy sites, first and foremost, it’s essential to ensure yours isn’t setting off that trigger.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule for how many ads you should have on your site, experts recommend asking yourself if you can see more than a single ad as you read content, or if the advertisements present are distracting or invasive for the reader. If the answer to either of those questions is yes, you’ll need to revise your strategy.
Remember: all your ads should be helpful, relevant and exciting, not frustrating and intrusive.
2. Make Your Site Beautiful
While your site doesn’t have to be professionally designed to succeed, it should be visually appealing for people. Why, you ask? Because Google has gotten smart, and it knows that sites that are ugly and designed for search robots aren’t valuable or relevant for the human beings Google cares about. What’s more, these sites are difficult for real people to navigate.
With that in mind, revise the layout of your content if you need to. It should always be designed for people first and search engines second.
3. Get Rid of Tag Pages
Tag pages on blog-style sites should be removed. While this is a small update, it can help you improve and reclaim your site traffic if your URL has been hit by Fred.
4. Change up Your Content
One of the things Fred is looking for when it targets sites is content that addresses the same topic repeatedly. That’s because sites like this are typically fishing for ratings rather than promoting value. Instead of focusing exhaustively on certain topics, keep your topics fresh and relevant. Even if you’re not plagiarizing content or lifting content directly from other sources, keeping your material fresh, relevant, and tailored to users will help keep you out of Fred’s clutches.
5. Answer User Questions
One of the best things you can do to boost the value of your content is to focus your material on user issues. The more you can answer your users’ search queries, the better your content will perform not only with actual people but with search engines. If you’re stumped on where to find relevant questions to answer, head to Quora and look up questions in your niche, or use your website’s own Q&A to find topics your readers are hungry for.
6. Promote Value
The call since time immemorial in the world of SEO has been to promote value and offer relevant, exciting content. This will help keep you out of the clutches of Fred and prevent your site from being hit with damaging organic traffic decreases. Take heart, though – this doesn’t mean you can’t share affiliate links or ads – it just means that what you do share should be relevant and exciting to your users.
In other words, define a goal for your site. Instead of just dropping affiliate links into content, review products your users will love, help them find out what to buy, offer them deals, assist them in comparing prices, and collect reviews, so they don’t have to sift through the internet to do it on their own.
7. Make Your Keywords Second-Class Citizens
Too many people focus too intensely on keywords, at the expense of not only their users but the value of their content. Instead of falling victim to this, focus on catering to your readers, first, and checking keywords off your list, second. Not only does this improve the value of your content, but it also takes your site out of the low-quality affiliate bucket, and transforms it into something useful and helpful for your readers.
8. Branch Out into Other Content Types
As you’ll remember from the earlier part of this post, most of the sites hit by Fred featured only text-based content: no video or images. Differentiate yourself from the pack by branching out into other types of content, like videos, images, and more. Not only does this help you provide value to search bots and readers, but it also allows you to generate more traffic and more money, outside your standard affiliate links.
9. Build up Your Facebook Following
If you’re a legitimate business, you’ll be working on building your following on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Google knows this, and Fred is less likely to touch sites that are earning organic likes and shares from their social profiles.
Share your content on your social profiles and nurture that following actively. This serves two purposes: in addition to helping ensure your content doesn’t hit a dead end should you run into algorithm problems, it also expands your organic reach and helps make your existing content more valuable.
10. Develop Content Without a Focus on Profit
Instead of writing all your content to drive revenue or earn affiliate funds, focus on developing some material that’s just meant to be helpful or useful. Some experts call this “non-profit” content. It does two things.
On the one hand, it ensures that your entire site isn’t just seen as a commercial enterprise, which could place it in Fred’s crosshairs. Secondly, it helps you grow your content assets and get your links and other materials shared.
In this way, it helps ensure you won’t be dinged by Fred or other such algorithm updates and makes sure that the commercial balance of your site is up to par.
5 Proactive Steps to Protect Your Pages
Fred is quite recently the latest calculation refresh discharged by Google, however it’s positively not the last. Here are a couple of things to remember in the event that you need to shield your site from future such updates:
1. Continuously Create High-Quality Content
Regardless of where you fall in the substance universe, it’s basic to demand that any substance you distribute is high caliber. This is as valid for subsidiary substance as it is for any standard blog entry or white paper.
While many individuals accept subsidiary substance must be low-quality, it can be surprisingly useful for clients. Guarantee the material you’re putting out is helping your clients as opposed to simply focusing on rankings. Do this by just connecting to items you’ve attempted and preferred, being particular about the advantages of an item or promotion, and reliably re-assessing your procedure to guarantee its addressing the necessities of your clients.
2. Limit Your Advertising
In the event that this sets you into a frenzy, remain quiet. While loads of advertisers depend on notices to adapt their destinations, this approach could put your substance at hazard by making your site appear spammy or low-quality. Rather, investigate your promoting and guarantee that anything you’re sharing is important and significant to clients. On the off chance that it’s not, dispose of it.
Extra focuses for spreading outside of publicizing and concentrating on natural reach (Through substance showcasing). This is for all intents and purposes resistant from calculation refreshes and will keep on being imperative and important for quite a long time to come.
3. Go Deeper
Fred is prevalently focusing on shallow, positioning centered material. Avoid shallow substance no matter what. The more profound, more useful, and more accommodating you can get with your material, the better shot you’ll have of pulling in the natural substance you hunger for and remaining out of the grip of Fred and other such updates.
Experiencing serious difficulties out how to go further?
One of the keys is to begin making long-shape content. Notwithstanding positioning better, long-frame content gives more an incentive to clients, and emerges in the SERPs. Past that, you’ll likewise need to place yourself in your perusers’ shoes: what are they hungry for? By what means can your substance help them? Which inquiries aren’t your rivals responding in due order regarding them?
By delving into these subjects, you can separate yourself from the low-quality substance Fred is focusing on.
4. Try not to Panic
At the point when a refresh like Fred hits, individuals tend to freeze. Try not. By the day’s end, taking activities like erasing pages abruptly or impulsively changing your URL structure will just aggravate the issue. Rather, adopt a thorough and focused on strategy to reviewing your substance and enhancing the parts that are frail, dated, or spammy. This will at last help your substance more than essentially thumping out huge parts of it, and will profit your site not far off.
Once more, don’t frenzy. Take a full breath, find out about the refresh, and find a way to guaranteeing it won’t begin (or proceed) to harm your substance.
5. Concentrate on Quality Over Quantity
One of the greatest hazard components for Fred is a huge grouping of low-quality connections. Rather than packing your substance full like a thanksgiving turkey, concentrate on including quality connections as opposed to simply requesting many them in your materials.
This goes for all your substance, just focus on the connections that are difficult to assert, and invest your energy making content that not everybody can. A decent broad decide is that, if everybody can do it, it may be low-quality.
Isolate yourself from the group for a superior possibility at positioning great.
Google’s Updates and the Introduction of Fred
Google is refreshing its calculations constantly, and Fred is no exemption. By bringing the change into the current SEO scene, Google has again put most extreme significance on excellent substance composed by industry specialists.
Fortunately, you can evade the harming impacts of this and other calculation refreshes by continually concentrating on quality, taking as much time as necessary with your substance, and being dynamic about emerging as a specialist in your field.
Source @ http://www.sitepronews.com