A massive Google algorithm update named “Fred” was rolled out on March 8th, 2017! Google has yet to formally confirm it has made any updates; however, Gary Illyes of Google has, in-fact, confirmed an update occurred. We can also credit Gary for coming up with the name Fred- Thanks Gary!
Google Trends is reporting that search interest in the Google “Fred” algorithm peaked to 100 (the highest interest score) on March 13th, 2017. This means that this update is likely affecting a large amount of sites across the web.
Barry Schwartz, News Editor for Search Engine Land, theorizes (based on initial facts from different sites) that this update targets “Ad Heavy, Low Value Content Sites”. This means some websites are seeing their organic traffic decrease as much as 90% overnight, while others are seeing massive de-indexing in Google Search Console.
We recommend that brands watch their rankings, traffic, revenue and number of indexed pages for the next few weeks to ensure they are not seeing any large fluctuation. The exact targets of this algorithm are still unknown, so it would also be prudent for brand’s to take a look at any 'spam-like' links/domains pointing to their site and disavow them in Google Search Console, in case this update is link related. The major dips we are seeing for some of our current clients have to do with pages that have little or no crawlable content.
We will make sure to keep you updated on Fred as we find out more! If you would like to speak to one of our SEO analysts and discuss how we can help combat any issues with Fred, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.