Are you under the influence of ‘Fred’?

March this year saw a release of another Google Update called ‘Fred’. All be it, this update has not been confirmed by Google the signs and signals of an update are clearly apparent. Having given the algorithm a couple of months to ‘settle’. Here’s what we know, how it’s likely to affect you and what you can do about it.

First things first; Why is the update called ‘Fred’?

In most cases the biggest updates over the last 5 years or so have been named after the Google Employees that lead the project. For example, Navneet Panda is a software engineer at Google who worked on the ‘Panda’ update. In this case, it’s a little different. A Swiss Google employee called Gary Illyes jokily called all future updates ‘Fred’, so therefore the name stuck.

Gary Illyes Twitter

What is Google Panda?

Google Panda was an infamous update that was part of a new wave of updates released by Google. In this case, it was the beginning of Google’s efforts that aimed to lower the rank of “low-quality sites” or “thin sites” in particular “content farms“, and return higher-quality sites near the top of the search results. More about Google Panda HERE.

How is ‘Fred’ likely to affect you?

This latest blog post written and published by Barry Schwartz suggests that based on data and evidence of sites affected, this update actually targets ad heavy, low value content and affiliate sites. The short answer is ‘no’, unless you include many different adverts on your page. Below is a bad example that ‘Fred’ will no doubt penalise at some point.

Each of the red boxes in the example below are an advert. Having too many adverts is just what ‘Fred’ is looking to find. Google’s terms of service are now updated too, which means that a big penalty could be on the way for sites with lots and lots of adverts.

If you have one or two adverts on your site, that’s fine. Fred is only interested in sites that fill all the white space with adverts.

google fred

Traditionally, if there is an excess of something then this is going to hinder your site in the long-run. For example, 1000s of links, lots of banners, 1000s of useless pages of content are a little excessive. Google’s algorithm is advanced enough to know what the boundaries are for a ‘reasonable’ number of links, content and so on.

Although Fred is an important update to know about, it will have little effect on your site unless your intention is to spam, or ‘cheat’ Google’s search algorithm.