Is ‘Fred’ the latest Google ranking update?

Is ‘Fred’ the latest Google ranking update?

The SEO (search engine optimisation) world is once again abuzz with rumours that there has been a new Google algorithm update that’s affecting the ranking of many websites. Although the rumours are unconfirmed by Google themselves, there is fairly strong evidence to support the claim.

The algorithm has been largely codenamed ‘Fred’ by the SEO community, likely in response to Google’s own Gary Illyes who joked that it should be the name for all future Google algorithm updates. It would seem that his joke has stuck.

Early reports are suggesting that the update is largely intended to target spam SEO techniques, otherwise known as black hat SEO. It would seem that the Fred Update’s chief concern is dealing with link quality, and the websites most likely to suffer are those with poor-quality or spam links, again reinforcing the importance of only gaining quality links from reputable sources for the website.

It seems the days of Google confirming algorithm updates may have come to an end in a bid to stop black hat SEO practitioners from finding ways to skirt around the updates. In response to questions about the update, Gary Illyes responded with the vague message, “we have 3 updates a day in average. I think it’s pretty safe to assume there was one recently…” in a tweet.

Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller was also unsurprisingly cryptic in his response to a user asking about the rumoured update, simply answering “yes, we make changes almost every day”.

The rumour is largely supported by a number of automated tracking tools showing wild fluctuations, combined with widespread complaints of ranking drops throughout the webmaster industry. These are two signs that usually, if not always, signal that there has been a notable update to Google’s algorithm, which is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

The only advice to ensure that a website is not penalised now or in the future is to continue using only safe SEO methods from experienced and conscientious practitioners. For this update, in particular, it might be worth carrying out a thorough link analysis on your website and ensuring that none of yours can be considered spam or low quality. To find out how we can help with your social media, SEO and PPC marketing, contact us [] today.