Last March, Google released an algorithm update, Fred.
Fred targeted black hat SEO practices and large ad monetization tactics.
Tons of sites saw up to a 90% decrease in traffic. The sites affected typically had large ads used for monetization, and low quality content.
The sites affected by the update also had the following issues: thin quality, certain ads, keyword stuffing, low-quality back links, and lead generation and revenue.
The damage was done months ago, so now you can focus on recovering. And if by recovering, you want to make your site better than it was in the first place, here’s how.
The first one is simple and should be a no brainer.
If there are irrelevant sites that are linked to yours, ask to be removed.
You can use Google Disavow Tool to avoid a penalty.
Don’t even know what sites are linking to yours?
Use a link audit software, it keeps track of back links from other sites for you.
The next one is also easy.
Basically this means making sure your site has high-quality content.
High-quality content doesn’t mean keyword density or a high word count. It needs to be relevant and provide value.
One way to make sure your site has high-quality content is to create the content yourself. Write content on unique topics and that answers questions to people’s problems.
Videos can be a very useful content tool and can the increase value to search engines.
If you are constantly writing about the same topic, there is a chance Google will devalue it and just choose what to rank.
You can use website auditing tools that analyze content and tell you what drives traffic to your site.
Lastly, never forget about social media. Real people sharing and liking your content quickly gains authority.
Google’s Page Layout Algorithm evaluates and penalizes pages if there are a lot of ads, but little content value.
Have you ever gone to a website and left within 10 seconds because of annoying pop-up ads?
Have you ever left a website because you couldn’t even figure out how to close the annoying pop-up ad?
Ads should never distract a user.
Ads should never change a user’s experience.
If you have ads on your website, check your ad ratio.
A website should be visually appealing and simple to navigate.
And yes, there is a way to measure visual appeal.
When first designing a website, it is crucial to know your target audience. Once that is identified, you can research visual preferences on other sites that your target market frequents.
Click tracking and heat mapping provide data on how users engage with your design. If there is a section people tend to spend more time on, you know they are digging it.
If users constantly skip over an area, BINGO, time for a change.
You can always dive a little deeper and do A/B and multivariate testing that provides statistical data on what users prefer.
Trust us, if your website makes visitors say, “Wow!” Google will reward that.
Analytic tools help web designers understand how updates affect site rank and traffic.
Don’t know where to start? Try these common analytic tools: Google Analytics, Open Web Analytics, Adobe Analytics Cloud, Piwik, and Clicky Analytics.
Hopefully, these tips can get your website back to normal, or even better than before.
Don’t expect Fred to be the last Google Algorithm update.
We all know Google loves an update.