The interwebs have been alive with a lot of chatter lately about an unconfirmed update in Google’s search algorithms. Although Google hasn’t denied or confirmed the update, speculation tends to lean towards a definite yes. Here is an attempt to fit the available information in a nutshell:
What is the Fred Update: Basically, if in operation, the ‘Fred’ update is Google’s way of calling out phony websites only aiming to attract traffic with no real content. Let’s face it; Google’s aim is to provide the most relevant content to a user when a search word is entered. Certain websites have been known to be ad heavy and low content, designed only to show up in searches and attract traffic to make money on the advertisements but seldom providing sufficient content to the user.
The ‘Fred’ Update may be brought in to target such sites and give priority to sites that may be of more use to the end user. This update may even trigger the growth of better content on the web and reduce websites that don’t really fulfil any requirements but only make money on advertisements.
Should You Be Worried: If your website has a disproportionate amount of outbound advertisements, links, etc and is low on original content, yes, you should be worried. This update will seek to put sites with lower usable content on a lower ranking than those with better content. This will make it easier for Google users to get to relevant search results quickly without landing on irrelevant websites with useless content.
If you want your website not to suffer due to this update, there is one key thing to remember; Content is King. Go through your site and make sure that it has good, original content. Don’t recycle old content; create new.
Make regular updates. Have a variety in content (text, audio, video etc) Make sure the design is appropriate, pleasing and well done. All in all, make sure that the website isn’t just a honey trap to score well on advertisements but is actually useful.
Look at your page like a Google user would look; is it useful? Pleasant? Is it helpful? If it is, then the Fred update won’t hurt you. It is most advisable to get professional help to tie up the loose ends for you but good content is the essence of it.