Google makes hundreds of updates a year – more than one per day. Most of them go unnoticed and aren’t a big deal. However some create a lot of shakeup as site owners and webmasters notice major fluctuation in the rankings and site traffic.
This stuff is fun for us – we examine and learn from it and figure out how to use the information to help our clients. We don’t expect it to be fun and exciting for you, but we do want to keep you informed.
If you aren’t yet working with us 🙂 and are managing your own site, one of the things you need to stay on top of is Google updates.
The latest update that has everyone buzzing, is called Fred and it dropped around March 8th. At first Google wouldn’t confirm the update but have since confirmed it and given us some insight into it.
While the update primarily targets what is known as affiliate sites, it offers some important lessons for any site owner to ensure quality content and to protect from future updates.
The name Fred came from a joking comment between a Googler and a prominent SEO strategist.
Here are the important details, without getting too heavy or techie on you.
Fred is targeting sites that are heavy on ads and low on quality content.
Sites that have:
- A lot of keywords in their content, to the point where the content may not read well
- An unnatural ratio of ads to text and useful resource for site visitors
- Little unique videos or content that isn’t mass generated for the sake of the search engines
- Content that doesn’t appear to be helpful in answering the searchers questions or providing helpful information
Tips for Improving Your Site and Avoiding Future Google Update Hits
- Design your site to be visually appealing for users, not search engine robots.
- Don’t go overboard on advertising products with links and ad blocks.
- Remove tag pages if you are using WordPress. Webmasters tend to forget about tag pages, which do get indexed and can hurt your sites overall rankings. (Not sure what this means? Contact us for an SEO Review and we’ll help you determine if you have a problem and let you know how we can help)
- Write specific content designed to answer a question or provide relevant information for the searcher. For example, if someone queries “what is a hot stone massage?” and lands on your site, your content needs to answer their question, maybe offer some historical or fun facts and focus on being useful to the user – not just designed to get them to click an ad or book something right away. You need to inform the site visitor, which helps build trust and ultimately helps you get more of your ideal spa guests in the door.
- Don’t write similar content over and over. Don’t repeat content just for the sake of filling a page. If there are bits of information or disclaimers you need to share on multiple pages, consider writing it on one page and linking to it or writing a unique blurb stating the info different ways on each page.
- Focus on users rather than keywords. No one will read content or feel compelling to take action when content is stuffed with keywords. If you take time to properly explain your page topic, Google will know what it’s about and rank it for relevant keywords.
- Have a genuine agenda. Don’t write about products and link to them with affiliate links or house ads. Give users tips on buying or using products, collate reviews, share personal insight on the product – help the buyer make a decision or solve a problem.
- Include other forms of content such as videos and infographics.
- Create industry content. Create content that is useful for your niche/industry. This could be in the form of an infographic or PDF guide or Blog post series. These are your content assets and may attract links, increasing the authority and traffic of your site as a whole.
- Create a social following. Any ‘real’ business or website will naturally want to form a following on social networks.
If this is overwhelming and more than you have the time or energy to invest into your marketing, talk to us today. Our passion is marketing and spas, our goals are your goals and we’ve got the time, knowledge and experience to handle your marketing with passion, attention to detail and with end goals always forefront in our minds.