2017 has begun with force. At least when it comes to changes or updates to the Google algorithm. Changes that, although they have not been mostly confirmed by the search engine, have negatively affected different websites. In this post, we are going to summarize some of these changes and see what we can expect from Search Engine Optimization in 2017.

Latest changes to the Google algorithm

Although Google has not yet confirmed anything ( John Mueller has simply said that they make many changes daily), the last update of his algorithm occurred in early February.

This update seems to have been aimed at combating private blog networks (PBNs). As we can see the list of major google algorithm updates in different forums, many webmasters and SEO professionals who are using PBNs have seen their Projects have been hit by this update.

The PBNs seemed secure until now (as long as a number of requirements were met when creating them). However, it seems that Google has come up with the way to detect them and take value from the links that come from them.

And it seems that the way the great search engine has discovered the PBNs is based on the traffic they bring to the webs that link. Most private blog networks are fine if we talk about domain authority and other relevant SEO parameters. But they are phantom blogs and they have no traffic.

This last change, which could be a new update of Google Penguin, makes us see once again the importance of working well on the techniques of link building our website.

The latest update confirmed by Google is January 10, 2017, and is related to pop-ups that block content, especially on mobile devices.

Google wants access to content on mobile is simple for users and therefore it has proposed to penalize those websites that have annoying pop-ups for users.

It seems that out-of-date pop-ups and cookie warnings would be excluded from this update.

To learn more about this confirmed update you can visit the corresponding entry that speaks about ease of accessing mobile content in Google’s webmaster blog.

Google’s Fred Update

How To Recover Some Of The Lost Traffic

One week after Google’s “Fred” update, we do not have much more information about the nature of the update, which sites are affected, whether it was about linked quality, too many ads, The weakness of the content or … Something else. But we will explain how to mechanically recover some of the lost traffic since a bug seems to impact some sites that use … The Classic Analytics tag. For SEOs and webmasters of all kinds, here is a case study that can help you out, but that will not work miracles.

More Edge Traffic

On Wednesday, March 8, I noticed a slight decrease in the volume of traffic on logitheque.com. I made it clear that the Barcelona-PSG match baffled our visitors from Wednesday evening to the nearest TV station. But the next day, the web was rumored to be a new update of the Google algorithm, with many sites having been impacted, especially Black Hat sites, and rather negatively.

I noticed a very slight drop in traffic, but nothing worrisome, on Thursday, and then on the following days. Other sites monitored the same low loss of audience, while others did not move, quite the contrary … Strange! Then came the first analyses of professional SEOs, which following Google’s silence (Twitter searchers typically come in touch) and the ironic baptism of this update, with which I share the name, pointing at Black Hat links, then the imbalance between affiliate ads or links and quality of content.

Small descent of the weekend, normal but accentuated compared to usual

However, we offer you everyday excellent quality content, with which, one or two ads per page? So difficult to believe that this update is affected … Especially that we have lost no position!

The only significant observation, for the same keywords, was that the volume of the visit was smaller, by a few units, comparing them over short or long periods.

As a result of my awareness, I decided to check one by one Google Analytics’ report settings, and in particular the mobile part, which showed no anomaly. On the other hand, by observing the section “Technology” “Browser and OS”, it appeared that the traffic of users of the browser of Windows 10 Edge had simply flown away!

I checked out other impacted sites than on others before asking SEO friends to check on their side. Same observation, some sites continued to receive Edge traffic, others not … Strange!

A Google Analytics Tag Problem

By discussing the data internally and cross-checking the data, we hypothesized that the affected sites all had the Classic Analytics tag, while the others had a Universal tag. Were these obsolete tags the source of our worries? Quickly, we put in place a new tag Analytics, updated, which would if our theory was the right, correct the loss of visitor and re-establish the usual statistics. We also checked the logs, to check if the audience had actually dropped also at our server level … No convincing results.

The next phase was quite simple: we deleted old Analytics tags from our pages and replaced them with new ones in GMT. A few seconds after the new tag was installed … Edge traffic had returned to normal. Obviously, we have checked and the pages I visited on this browser are actually well refitted in the report.

So it seems that the update “Fred” also killed the old Analytics tags still in circulation. We have found out and many sites still use these tags, especially with an agency SEO that necessarily encompasses different typologies of sites and technologies.

Of course, this trick will not serve you to recover the lost positions.

My Opinion:

In the first place, we could be talking about a penalty for sites with low-quality links. But the latest news from Search Engine Roundtable speaks of sites that the biggest penalties have suffered websites designed to generate revenue through advertising (you have the full explanation and a good list of sites penalized in the link). Some of them claim to have recovered simply by removing ads.

However, both are compatible. It is possible that the abuse of advertising is behind this new penalty and some have been able to get out of it by withdrawing their ads. But the low-quality links sure have also influenced. I personally analyzed some of the sites on the Search Engine Roundtable list and most of them had already been victims of Penguin because of the poor quality of their links.

Therefore, we know that Fred is here, but what is not so clear at the moment is what his behavior is. Do let us know if you find something interesting about Google’s Fred Update…