New, unconfirmed Google ranking update ‘Fred’ shakes the SEO world

Barry Schwartz on
  • Categories: Channel: SEO, Google: Algorithm Updates, Google: SEO, Google: Web Search
  • Since yesterday morning, the SEO industry has been watching an unconfirmed Google ranking update that seems to target more of the link quality aspects of the overall algorithm.

    Many are calling this the Fred Update, a name we’re also adopting. That came from Google’s Gary Illyes, who has jokingly suggested that all updates be named “Fred.” It’s sticking with this one.

    We’ve seen more chatter and reports of changes from within the “black hat” SEO community, which generally means that this is a spam algorithm update around links. Last time we reported a link spam-related update was in early February, and that update also was unconfirmed by Google.

    There was also a large content quality Google update on February 7 that was never confirmed. As you expect, Google is very unlikely to confirm algorithm updates these days — but that won’t stop us from reporting large shifts in the search results that convey an algorithm update has happened.

    Many of the automated tracking tools currently show significant volatility and fluctuations, which is an indicator of an update. Plus, with all the industry chatter, and with webmasters both complaining about ranking declines and rejoicing about ranking increases, it’s likely that there was a Google update.

    We are waiting to hear from Google if they have any comment. All we have right now are the typical Google lines from John Mueller and Gary Illyes that Google makes updates all the time.

    If and when we get an update from Google, we will share it here. For now, you can read about the chatter and ranking speculation over here.


    About The Author

    Barry Schwartz
    Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.