Google Fred Algorithm Update

Google Fred Algorithm Update and What It Means

Search Engines

At February 7 Google Released Phantom 5 Update and What happened on March 8? Yet another Update of Google Core Search Algorithm! Following a joke on Twitter, Gary Illyes from Google Switzerland referred to is as “Fred”, and the name stuck. There are a lot of websites which have seen a drastic change in their rankings ever since the new algorithm was launched.

You Should Know About Google’s “Fred” Update

Google rolled out what appeared to be a major update, with reports of widespread impacts across the SEO Community and Website Owners.
The unofficial update of Fred, finally confirmed!

The Google Algorithm Watchdog, Barry Schwartz noticed the update first and wrote about it. It was he who popularized this name Fred Update after a discussion with Gary Illyes (from Google Now). I will use this name in the rest of the article.

At the time, the sites affected by “Fred” appeared to be mainly those website primarily managed by black hat SEO, using the methods contrary to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. In Google’s opinion it’s Link schemes.

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

So it is logical thought that the Fred Update was based mainly on backlinks, since it is still the most effective way to boost website in Google search.

It was in vain to ask Google for confirmation of this update, as we know google always poor on any clarification about algorithm update. Barry Asked and Garry Replied “Yes quite, something happened that day, besides there are at least 2 updates every day :-)”.


According to Google’s John Mueller, this is an update on the overall evaluation of the quality of the site, which sticks to my personal opinion detailed in the rest of this article.

My Opinion About Fred Update

Having access to a lot of sites (clients), I always as for the big “updates” made my small inquiry. I will give you all the information I could find, and even if it is not worth a lot, I hope it will help you.

Marie Haynes showed an example of a site that skyrocketed after Fred update, when it had dropped heavily in 2014 due to backlinks manipulation. Marie Mentioned that A great link cleaning had been done and it is Fred update that giving the site reward. This is one more hint that removing or disallowing toxic links can actually help to get a site organic ranking up.

As with any algorithm update from Google, I’ve done a number of analyzes with tools including Google Analytics and Google Search Console. The first step is to determine whether there has been positive or negative impact.

  1. In Google Analytics, I check the organic traffic data increased or fallen significantly.
  2. In Google Search Console, I check the organic keywords ranking data.

In the rest of the article, I will use the term “Penalized” to refer to a site whose traffic has fallen after Fred update, even if one should speak of penalty only for manual actions.

How I determine My site Penalized by Fred or not?

I start by auditing their backlink profiles, looking for toxic backlinks on Google Search Console. I also evaluated the overall SEO optimization of each site by a human analysis. Although everyone is talking about backlinks only, I measure website quality by a manual human analysis.

  • Broken Internal Links
  • Loading Speed
  • Mobile Capability
  • Duplicate or Thin Content
  • Etc.

My website is Penalized by Fred update, What Should I Do?

In this case, here are the very first 2 actions I recommend you:

Conduct A Backlink Audit – Check for Toxic Links: If you find any toxic links pointing to your website, I do recommend you to contact the website and ask for link removal. And then disavow the links by Google Tools.

Perform An Website Audit – Evaluate your website Quality: Start with the page lost most organic traffic, this is good starting point. Ask yourself if the page adds value to the user especially users came from Google search. Anything that you think against Google webmaster guideline then you should fix (abuse of advertising, low quality content, page take too long to load, mobile incompatibility, inaccuracies in the information provided, etc.).


Let us know your opinion about Fred Update on the comment below and if you need help contact us.

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