Google Fred Update: Bad News for Revenue-generating Affiliate Link Sites?

Google Fred Algorithm Update

Last month, chatter abounded among SEO experts regarding an unconfirmed update to Google’s ranking algorithm, which has been tentatively titled “Fred”.

As is par for the course, Google has refused to confirm or deny Fred’s existence when pressed for comment – those who remember the rollout of a number of unnamed major updates towards the end of 2016 will be familiar with this sort of radio silence from the search engine giant.

Improving the user experience

A cursory review of over 100 different websites helps us to outline what Fred is here to do: demote low-quality blog-style sites which offer content on a variety of different topics; much of which have been published for ranking purposes and more often than not interspersed with adverts or affiliate links.

Such sites don’t particularly offer industry expertise on a given subject and as such don’t provide much worth in comparison to more authoritative resources on the web.

A sharp decline for clickbaiters

Out of the sites surveyed, low-value content hives had been hit the hardest, with most suffering declines in organic search traffic of between 50 and 90%.

In many cases, inferior quality content was wrapped around ads in an ambiguous manner. Some of the worst-affected sites featured a model where the actual content was indistinguishable from the advertisements.

Google Fred: in conclusion

Of course, Google will have implemented several other factors into their algorithm at about the same time as Fred was rolled out – therefore, not all sites hit by a dip in search engine ranking over the past couple of weeks will have been penalised for the reasons outlined above.

However, those suffering the most severe penalties almost certainly will have been identified by Fred as having little to offer users in terms of meaningful content.

Want to know more about previous Google algorithm updates, see our post on the recent real time update, Google Penguin 4.0.

If you wish to learn more about link building and various techniques you can use, why not also check out our link building for SEO ultimate guide.