Google Fred Update Targets Ad Heavy, Low Value Content Sites

Mar 13, 2017 - 8:00 am 508 by
Filed Under Google Updates

Google Fred Update

The Google Fred Update which we first spotted rolling out early morning on March 8th seems to be fairly big. After reviewing well over 70 sites that were hit by this update, 95% of them share two things in common. The sites all seem content driven, either blog formats or other content like sites and they all are pretty heavy on their ad placement. In fact, if I dare say, it looks like many (not all but many) of them were created with the sole purpose of generating AdSense or other ad income without necessarily benefiting the user.

The sites that got hit also saw 50% or higher drops in Google organic traffic overnight. I had them almost all of them share analytics screen shots with me to prove it. So this was a huge drop, in some cases up to 90% of their traffic was gone over night.

Here is one such screen shot of a site's Google Analytics showing the drop. I've seen many that show 50% to 90% drops in their organic Google traffic:

click for full size

Most of the webmasters that shared their URLs with me asked me not to share them publicly. But the truth is, there are plenty who shared their URLs publicly and I can use those as a reference below. Like I said, I will only share the public URLs here but I promise you, 95% of all the samples I received (both private and public), matched this overall theme - content sites that have many ads and are created for the purpose of generating revenue over solving a user problem.

In fact, some of these webmasters who reported huge recoveries told me they removed their ads. So, I am thinking Fred is not new but rather was turned up big time and more sites were hit by it than ever before. Maybe some of the previous unnamed updates, maybe the Phantom updates were smaller versions of this Fred update or maybe not - but to have sites recover big time, that means something previous hit them.

I should state - Google has not confirmed my theories or even that there was an update. But I am pushing them to give me some sort of statement.

Here are public sample sites that were potentially hit by Fred. Note, not all meet the "purpose is to generate ad revenue over help users" type of form, but I think many of them do. Feel free to argue because the list below may be tainted by the private URLs sent to me that I cannot share:

Again, I have dozens and dozens of private examples and 95% of those examples all fit the same pattern above. I should add that there are cases of sites listed above and sent to me privately that I do not think deserve to be hit by this algorithm and I suspect Google will tweak the algorithm to get better, like when my own site was hit by Panda.

Google has NOT confirmed any of this but there is no question that this is a new type of algorithm update that aims at ad heavy, low value content created with the purpose of generating ad revenue.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World.


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