Google’s Fred Update Hits Websites With Low Value Content


You know it. I know it. A lot of websites just want to generate Ad revenue, without giving a second thought to content quality. A lot of the internet has gone down the route of publishing trash and flogging that trash using clickbait article headlines.

Many websites out there also steal content, without any real penalty. Sure duplicate content can be spotted, but not when cleverly coded in a way that even Google can’t tell a difference. So in plain English language terms, these types of websites are pretty much worthless.

But because they found ways to rank high in Google, these sites tend to pop up in your searches. They also often drive traffic through ads (sometimes even the AdWords network, that’s why advertisers who use Display advertising should always, always check the URLs that their ads show up on). And maybe, just maybe this new Fred update from Google (unofficial update) is going to make the internet a much, much better place. Finally. 

Google’s Fred Update is Long Overdue

Honestly, what took Google so long? Well, I know what, but unless you understand Google at a very special business level, there’s no point in talking about it.

At least, that’s the general feel of professional SEO specialists including myself. It is about time that Google addressed websites that focus on pure revenue generation. Surely we can’t get rid of all of these sites, as some have even become good at what they do over time, but it’s a start in the right direction.

But to every story like this, there is another. Google used to allow AdSense publishers only up to three ads per page (they would only check this at the time of paying a publisher their threshold value, typically the first $100). But Google in 2016, announced that publishers were no longer required to follow that rule. 

But, there had to be a catch. Allowing publishers six ads per page or more without consequence would just make the web a place of constant, in-you-face ad nagging.

The reports about this update stem from the fact that many website owners, who shared their concerns with the public, saw large drops in traffic. And you guessed it. All website owners who were complaining have these sites that just don’t look right.

The traffic drops overnight were in the range of 50-90 percent! Ouch! Here’s a list of public URLs where websites owners shared their findings (there’s more, but I think a handful is enough for analysis!). Don’t worry, I am using <rel=”nofollow”> so there’s no extra link weight coming to them. 

Looking at these sites, you can clearly see their focus however, so it’s not a real big loss in the grand scheme of the internet. In fact, I am glad Google is taking quality content more and more seriously. Like seriously, it’s long overdue like I keep saying. 

Although Google won’t officially confirm what’s happening, the path forward is pretty clear. Quality websites will lead the future of all organic search (and even paid) search.


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