One of the recent algorithm updates that shook the SEO world this year was called Fred. Fred was released in March 2017 and many websites reported that their organic traffic dropped by as much as 90%. Fred is just a part of the long list of algorithm updates Google rolled out over the years. If you are working in the SEO industry then you must have heard the names of Panda, Penguin, Mobilegeddon, Possum, and Hummingbird etc. Google constantly tries to keep the WWW spam free and provide most relevant information with the help of these updates.
Today, I will share a basic guide for SEO survival which will not only help you encounter Fred but other algorithm updates that may have affected your website in the last few years.
Check website traffic history: Open Google Analytics and go through the traffic history of your website. Check at least past 12 months history. You will surely notice some ups and downs in the incoming traffic. Now, note down the dates when traffic dropped quite a bit and find out if Google released any major update on those days. If the answer is yes, then you know which algorithms hit your website badly.
Get rid of advertisements: As you may already know Fred update attacked mostly ad heavy blogs and websites. Fred concentrated on 3 factors- ad-heavy, thin content, and affiliate centric activities. It may not be possible to remove all advertisements at once, but delete those that seriously irritate the visitors. For example, download buttons that show ads when clicked and auto-play video ads should be removed immediately.
Increase quality and quantity of content: Fred also attacked websites that didn’t contain informative and up-to-date content. However, it is not just Fred; even Panda update targets websites containing thin content. Use a website auditing tool to discover the low quality content. Keep an eye on factors such as word count, bounce rate etc. Please note that word count is a serious metric for judging the value of content (example- Wikipedia), but that does not mean brief content can’t exist. If you are answering a query of the users in a short paragraph, but your information is correct and written in a lucid manner, Google won’t penalize you.
Make sure your website appears in local search results: Did you hear about the Possum update? Possum helps users find local businesses based on their location. Thus, if your business depends on the favor of local customers, you need to optimize the website for local searches. Target the local keywords and get your business listed in Google My Business. Make sure that your phone number and address are accurate across all online local business directories.
Delete the harmful links: Penguin update was released a couple of years ago and it targeted websites containing low-quality backlinks. Use good auditing software to find out the spam backlinks and reach out to those websites for link removal. If they don’t listen to your request, then use Google Disavow Tool to inform Google that you don’t want those links to be considered while judging the value of your website.
Google will keep pushing algorithm updates and you have to change your strategies accordingly. Make sure that your website is fast loading, user friendly, mobile friendly and informative. As long as users are happy with your site and you are not applying any black hat SEO technique, your website won’t lose rank or organic traffic due to algorithm updates.