Launched in March 2017, the Google Fred Update targeted websites that were deemed to be violating Google’s search quality guidelines by having too many ads on a page and not enough relevant content.
Google often updates their algorithms and many changes and tweaks go unnoticed but the name Fred has been committed by the SEO community to any updates regarding quality. The name was originally a joke made by a Google’s Gary Illyes but is now a helpful way to determine these changes.
The updates made concern general quality of the site, perceived quality, content and link quality and are all in line with the Webmaster Guidelines. However, any changes to Googles algorithm will only be included under the Fred updates if it has affected a significant number of websites, has evidently affected a particular market or has the attention of SEO professionals.
In truth, Fred isn’t actually an algorithm in itself but instead a name for any quality related algorithm updates that Google doesn’t identify as any other update process. Google won’t be announcing what they are targeting when making further alterations to algorithms concerning quality so it can, therefore, be difficult to recover from it.
Perhaps the best way to spot an issue caused by Fred is to check out whether or not it has affected multiple websites. If so, it is likely to be an update rather than an individual site issue. The Google Webmaster Guidelines are worth reviewing to ensure you have the basic knowledge of Google’s expectations regarding site quality.
If your site is further affected by changes that don’t appear to be a result of Panda, then it is likely the negative impact on ranking is an effect of Fred. It can prove difficult to identify the issue and then find a solution as these updates aren’t discussed by Google. However, The Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines offers a roadmap with specifications on what to review when assessing the quality of your website.
Both guidelines provide information to help you better understand how Google interprets your site but they are not a guide on SEO. Instead, the Webmaster Guideline is best used as a quality checklist of what may need to be corrected and The Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines gives details on how the quality of your site could be evaluated.