Low Value Content Sites Hit Badly By Google Fred Update

Digital Marketing Consultant


Earlier this month there was a lot of chatter and mostly panic in the Black Hat SEO Community as tonnes of sites lost rankings overnight on Google across the globe. I had an opportunity to review 45 sites I found in the chat forums, as webmasters desperately shared their URLs in an effort to get free advice or sympathy of some sort. I discovered that there was one thing common across at least 95% of these sites. They all were low value content driven sites which actually had more ads that actual content. As a matter of fact, if I dare say, the majority of these sites existed with the sole purpose of generating revenue from AdSense without caring much about the user.

Most of the Google Analytics screenshots that I saw had massive overnight traffic drops (between 50% – 70%) in traffic and here is one example:

As mentioned, most of the URLs shared in the forums had very low quality content and were created for the purpose of generating revenue over solving user problems. All these sites were hit badly.

This one had an advert right in the center of the page.

The site below actually triggered my Antivirus program and I am not sure whether this played a part as well.

All these sites are thin low quality sites created with the sole purpose to get the visitor to click on the adverts. No wonder they got hit. Google (via both John Mueller and Gary Illyes) have confirmed this update and in the video below John cited “quality” 6x, revealing how serious Google is about quality and useful content.

Here was the question:
Since the Fred update, oh my gosh, we’ve seen a gradual decline in our search rankings. We’ve followed all of the Google guidelines so we can’t understand why we’ve fallen so far. We were on top of page two, bottom of page one, (and now the lights are turning off again, because of Fred, Fred is turning off the lights). Any help that you can give us would be great.
Here is his answer:
Essentially, if you are following the Google guideliens and you are doing things technically right, then that sounds to me like there might just be just quality issues with regards to your site. Things that you can improve overall when it comes to the quality of the site. Which means there is no simple kind of answer, like there is no meta tag that would make your web site higher quality. It is just in general, you probably need to take a step back, get random people who are interested in that topic to review your site compared to other sites to kind of go through a survey to see what you can be doing better to improve the quality of your site overall. And ideally, don’t just like tweak things to kind of subtly improve the quality to see if you can get a little higher. Really take a stab at it and try to figure out what you can do to make a significant dent in the quality of the site overall.

Here is the video:

If you have been hit by Fred, follow this guidelines – https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en
Here are the basic principals.