Google Update “Fred”: How to Check if You Were Impacted

Google Update: How to Check if You Were Impacted

In the middle of March 2017, the latest Google update, known as ‘Fred’, hit without word or warning.

Needless to say, the SEO community is buzzing with speculation about the update.

Many website owners may have witnessed a change in their traffic and rankings, as a result.

That’s why we’re offering advice on how to check if you were impacted by Google Fred.

What is Google Fred?

To know if you were a victim of the update, you first need to know what Google Fred is.

As you may know, Google likes to spring an update on webmasters every once in a while. When this happens, panic often ensues in the digital marketing world.

As always, Google never releases the reasons behind their update.

What we do know is that a reported 44.2% of websites have been impacted by the Google Fred.

Google Fred targeted sites that display a considerable number of ads. As a result, the sites may have witnessed up to 90% drop-off in traffic.

Many believe Google is now targeting low value, content-driven, advertising heavy websites.

You may also be a victim if you have paid for or sought low-quality backlinks.

If you have a poor backlink profile, aim to find and disavow any potentially harmful links. This could help you make a recovery.

Review Google Analytics

The first thing you must do to identify if you have become a victim is to check Google Analytics.

You may be surprised to find a considerable drop in site traffic. Yet, you may be happy to learn you are not a victim of a Google update this time around.

Your goal should be to provide high-quality, meaningful content. You must also reduce a significant number of ads on your website.

Check Your Website Rankings

Google will not only penalize a website with low traffic. The search engine may also cause a website’s ranking to plummet.

If your rankings have been affected since March 8th and shown no signs of recovery, you may be a Google Fred victim.

In most cases, Google will only target ad-heavy websites with low-quality content. E-commerce and operations websites will more than likely be safe from a penalty.

Yet, e-commerce and operation web sites may become an indirect victim of the update.

Remember, ad-heavy websites have received a ranking penalty. If the websites contributed to your site’s backlink profile, you may notice a drop in authority.

What Constitutes Low-Quality Content?

It’s important to take a good look at the content on your website.

You may be a victim if your website offers:

  • A lack of unique or original content.
  • Content that is written for improving a search engine ranking over helping users.
  • Content stuffed with irrelevant keywords.
  • Hidden content.
  • Irrelevant or poor quality affiliate programs.

How to Protect Your Website from a Future Google Update

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to predict a Google update.

The best way to maintain your ranking is to provide high-quality, user-first content.

To avoid penalization, you must aim to play by the rules as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to read up on Google’s ranking factors to continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the SERPs.


If you run a user-first website with a strong backlink profile and next to no ads, you may not be a victim of Google Fred.

You also are less likely to have been penalized by the Google update if you operate an e-commerce website.

Yet, you could still be affected if a penalized website formed part of your backlink profile.

Check Google Analytics and your ranking to identify if you’re a victim of Google Fred.

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