The Fred Update: Google’s Latest Algorithm Change Causes Major Traffic Drops

On February 8, the search world started to buzz about a potential algorithm update made by Google, currently named “Fred.” While Google has remained silent about these updates over the past week, certain SEO specialists and webmasters have been keeping a close watch on search rankings.

After reviewing nearly 100 sites affected by the Fred update, Barry Schwartz, contributor to both Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Land, noted the following:

The sites all seem content driven, either blog formats or other content like sites and they all are pretty heavy on their ad placement. In fact, if I dare say, it looks like many (not all but many) of them were created with the sole purpose of generating AdSense or other ad income without necessarily benefiting the user.

The sites that got hit also saw 50% or higher drops in Google organic traffic overnight. I had them almost all of them share analytics screen shots with me to prove it. So this was a huge drop, in some cases up to 90% of their traffic was gone over night.

With such a large dip in traffic, and with most sites fitting similar formats, most industry experts believe this was a big algorithm update. TBD on whether Google will acknowledge publicly.