While updates to Google’s search algorithm no longer have the same earth-shattering affects on mainstream websites like they did ten years ago, algorithm updates still matter if for no other reason than that they reveal Google’s priorities. And, like it or not, Google’s priorities need to be your priorities if you want to continue earning organic search traffic to your website.
Earlier this spring, Google quietly released (per usual) an update to its search algorithm. Bypassing the list of animal names (past updates have been called “Panda” and “Penguin”), analysts are calling this update “Fred.”
Fred’s target? “Mostly […] sites with ad-focused content that prioritize revenue above helping the users,” according to a new infographic published on MarketingProfs. Let’s take a closer look at what Fred can tell us about Google’s priorities…
You May Be Affected By Fred If…
- Your website’s content is more focused on generating revenue than providing value to site users.
- You have multiple affiliate links or advertisements.
- Affiliate links or advertisements are difficult to distinguish from other content on your site.
- Content is overly focused on SEO and rankings with little focus on information.
Three Ways You Can Stay Safe
The majority of website admins won’t have to worry about Fred penalizing their Google search rankings. However, this algorithm update is a good reminder of how we should approach website builds and content creation. Always follow these best practices:
- Answer this: “What does your user want to know?” Why did they come to your site? What were they hoping to find? Does your content satisfy that desire in the clearest, most efficient way possible? Or are you drawing out a point slowly and laboriously in an attempt to stuff keywords and create a webpage with a high word count? Focus on serving your users – not Google – and, in doing so you will get the rankings you want. Google is constantly growing in intelligence. If you want to get its attention, secure your website visitor’s attention first.
- Optimize for mobile. With Squarespace, Wix and many WordPress themes, “optimizing for mobile” is less of a courageous undertaking as it was four or five years ago. However, there are still millions of websites that appear to have never heard of an iPhone. These sites will certainly suffer in search rankings in the coming months (not that they haven’t already). Don’t go down with them.
- Always be publishing. One of the simplest things you can do for your website’s health is to publish consistently. By publishing frequently, you’re creating new content for Google to crawl. This shows Google that your website is active and relevant, which can help buoy your site through any turbulent algorithm changes.
For more on Google’s Fred algorithm, view the full infographic below.