It’s a good bet that, unless you are in the SEO field, you probably aren’t aware of changes in Google’s algorithm. Of course, you might become aware if your site is negatively affected by the change. The search engine’s latest “unconfirmed” update, dubbed as the “Fred” Google update, was released at the beginning of March. It directly targets low-quality backlinks.

While there are fluctuations in Google’s search engine rankings and positions every day, they are not always related to an algorithm change. On the other hand, this recent update has all the telltale signs of a major algorithm change, with numerous webmasters reporting major shakeups in almost all of their website search engine rankings.

Google Has Not Publically Announced the Fred Google Update

This new change has not been publicly announced or confirmed by anyone from Google (which is the norm). But if you are a follower of the black hat community forums, you have probably noticed a large spike in reports from webmasters. They have been losing a lot of search traffic to their sites and their rankings have been taking a massive hit. This should be especially concerning to you if you have a business website and outsource your SEO.

The Fred Google Update: What We Know So Far

Since Google has been dodgy about confirming algorithm updates, we’ve had to rely on firsthand reports from other webmasters affected. This is what they’re saying in online forums:

1. The update is targeted directly at backlinks. It’s especially trying to target backlinks that are built and not acquired naturally through other websites.
2. The update is directed at “black hat” backlinks only, but webmasters are reporting Google position losses on websites with legitimate backlinks.
3. Websites with lots of ad placements—especially affiliate links—have also been taking a hit in the rankings.
4. Websites with a high HTML-to-content ratio have been reported to take a hit.

What to Do If Your Site Is Affected

While the update is intended to only target low-quality websites with spammy backlinks, poor content, and lots of affiliate links designed for the sole purpose to generate money instead of user experience, sometimes Google does get it wrong. Don’t worry; with the help of a professional, it can be fixed.

If you notice your website traffic has been down, especially if the drop has been significant in the past month and a half, you’ve probably been hit by the Fred Google update. There is a chance that Google has made a mistake in identity. It could also be due to your webmaster using less-than-credible link-building strategies. Either way, you should contact your SEO agency right away to resolve the problems and recover your website.

Knowledgeable SEO Experts Are Here to Help

If you are concerned that your website may have been affected by Google’s latest update, now is a good time to speak to an SEO specialist. Even if you’re working with an SEO agency at the moment, a second opinion may be warranted.

Rising Phoenix SEO is always at the forefront of changes in Google’s algorithms. Plus, we actively ensure our clients are in compliance. If you have questions, we have answers. Contact Us to learn more.