Fred Update: Google Fred Hits Low Value Content & Revenue Focused Sites
Fred update was large enough for many website owners and digital marketing firms to notice substantial changes in traffic and rankings.
Google has not confirmed the Fred algorithm update, but they were exhausted of giving too much information about it. The only clue given to search engine optimizers (SEO) was that Fred targeted websites that were not abiding by the Google’s webmaster guidelines.
How can you identify that your website hits by Fred or not? –
If you website designed to maximise revenue by gaining lots of web traffic with the sole aim of getting the user to click on an ad or an affiliate link then check following points.
1) Look at your analytics. Did you see a drop in the traffic or the number of keywords you were ranking for between March 5th and the 20th. If no you are probably fine if you did then read on.
2) See if you can categorize your content into 2 buckets – high quality and updated vs low quality and old.
3) Match your lost keywords, based on traffic volume and previous rankings, with any low-quality content pages.
4) Improve your content quality immediately. Start by adding to, rewriting, and making your low quality pages better. Start with the pages that were driving the most traffic pre-Fred (see number 3).
5) Use a backlink spam tool or checker and to find and remove any questionable backlinks. Also, ensure that your remaining “good” backlinks appear natural and in reasonable ratios. For instance, no-follow to follow ratios, anchor text similarities, etc. are all things that Google takes into account when determining the value of your backlinks.
10 tips & tricks to improve your low value affiliate website:
1. Design your website to be visually appealing for users, not search engine robots. A lot of low value, ad heavy websites are very text heavy, often difficult to navigate and usually follow a typical blog style theme. You can clearly see from the 2 examples above which is designed for humans and which is designed purely to house content and ads.
2. Check your ad ratio to ensure it’s not over the top! With Google removing the limit on Ad Ratio in 2016, this blurred the line for webmasters and made it difficult to really understand what the best ratio may be. It’s difficult to definitively answer this question but we’d recommend that you ask certain questions of your site such as ‘Is it possible to see more than 1 ad when viewing the site / content?’, ‘Is the user intrusively distracted to view or click on the ad over and above your content?’.
3. Remove tag pages if you’re running your site like a blog. Webmasters tend to forget about tag pages and when they do these still tend to get indexed in Google and are offering little to no value at all. There has been some discussions suggesting that removing these tag pages as helped improver and even fully recover traffic since this update.
4. Write specific content designed to solve a particular user search query. An example of a specific title would be ‘DIY Kitchen Storage Ideas Designed for Small Kitchens’ vs a more broad and generic title ‘Easy Kitchen Storage Tips’.
5. Don’t write similar or the same content over and over. Content heavy sites have a tendency to publish content around the same or similar subjects. Now technically whilst the content may pass Copyscape there is a theory that Google may devalue some of the other pages and only focus on which page it thinks is the best surrounding that keyword / phrase or search query.
6. Focus on users rather than keywords. Poor affiliate sites will create content based around keywords and have no real value other than to rank for that particular keyword. Affiliate sites that will stand the test of time create content for users, solve problems and offer solutions.
7. Have a genuine agenda. Don’t simply write about products and link to them with affiliate links or house ads around high traffic keyword optimised content. Have a real agenda for your site. Review similar products, give the users tips on buying, show deals, compare prices, collate reviews, give step by step guides – help the buyer make a decision or solve a problem.
8. Include other forms of content such as videos. With the popularity of video content rising, websites today can leverage a user advantage by producing videos and then having those videos transcribed into text to also provide value to search engine robots. Furthermore uploading a video to a site like YouTube gives you the possibility of generating alternative traffic thus never relying on Search Traffic alone for affiliate or ad earnings.
9. Create ‘non-profit’ content. Ensure your affiliate website isn’t only commercial/money pages. Create pages and content that are useful for your niche/industry. This could be in the form of an infographic or evergreen guide. These will serve as content assets and may attract links or get shared, therefore increasing the authority and traffic of your site as a whole. This ‘non-profit’ content will also help the ad and commercial balance of your site – search engines seeing that not all of your content has an commercial agenda.
10. Create a social following. Any ‘real’ business or website will naturally want to form a following on social groups such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Work on building a social following and attract real people and ‘likes’ by sharing valuable content in your niche. You could also start a newsletter and share value there. This also decreases your reliability on search should you ever experience any fluctuations.
You can also Consider following tips and make a ranking of your website better.
• Quality Vs Quantity: always make sure of quality backlinks as quality never comes up with the quantity of links.
• Keep away from sitewide dofollow links: always be vigilant in using sitewide dofollow links because your website lost ranking as they can sink anytime.
• Use ads relevant to your website: never trust on single domain authority to scrutinize the worth of a backlink, make sure that backlink you are using is relevant to your content and generate great values for your website.
• Look for the Gold: if a particular link is claimed by everyone then most probably it is holding fewer values.
• Anchor text diversity: construct a likely anchor text cloud which contains generic words, business keywords, brand name and naked URLs.
• Keep away from automated tools or bots to generate backlinks. E.g. mass blog commenting bots.
• Avoid link pyramids, link exchange, and paid links.