In early March 2017, marketing managers across the globe shared a collective moment of panic as Google rolled out a significant unconfirmed update to their search algorithm.
Some sites saw up to a 90% drop in traffic overnight.
Here at Big Room, we saw an increase in traffic and we saw our bounce rate drop to almost 0%.
What is the Fred Update?
Google has said that their updates are targeted to boost sites that follow their simple Quality Guidelines laid out in the Webmaster Guidelines. While SEO tactics are made out to be complex machines, it's actually pretty simple. Build a site that's easy to use and fill it with helpful content. Content that is useful is made a priority in search results. Sites that are spammy and try to sell you stuff without actually being informative, they get penalized.
The Fred update to the algorithm continues to follow that trend.
Who was affected?
Sites that were affected have a few things in common:
- Shallow content
- Heavy on ads
- Feature too many affiliate links
While there were some small local business sites that also felt the backlash from the change, it's common for Google to continue to update the algorithm to account for these types of changes. Hopefully we'll see traffic climb back up and normalize.
What can you do to improve your site?
First, don't panic. Many people who rushed to their site and deleted pages and links probably didn't see much of a change, and now have to rewrite all their content. This is a good time to read back through the Webmaster Guidelines and get back to the basics of what makes a good User Experience for your websites.
A few good questions to ask:
- Is your site helpful?
- Does your site look good on all devices?
- Is it easy for people to find what they're looking for?
- Are you publishing fresh content on the site?
Write your content for human beings rather than to fit the mold of the SEO algorithms. As we've seen over years and years of trying to game the system with "SEO-specific" writing and design has never worked. Hiring a growth hacker to dramatically increase traffic quickly through SEO-hacks usually results in low-quality leads and spam.
Don't believe the hype, good content is simple and helpful.
Of course, there are healthy techniques to improve your site steadily over time. Many of the issues causing your site to suffer poor SEO performance are technical and require a web designers and developer to make changes.
If you're interested in knowing what your business could do to improve it's site and make sure future Freds don't destroy your traffic, let's talk. Our INFINITY consulting package might be a good option for you.