July 23, 2017

What is Google Fred?

What is Google Fred?

As most webmaster or site owner are probably aware of, Google has released algorithm changes since its earliest days, often affecting sites that had previously dominated the top rankings in the search results. About a month ago, the SEO and webmaster community reported a Google Phantom Update that had a significant impact on sites with low quality content and generated massive changes in serps. In the days following the update, many web affiliates and site owners shared screen shots of their traffic or visibility drops with Google organic search, while the lucky ones shared screenshots of their traffic surges and ranking improvements.

Google did not confirmed or denied the update, but only a few weeks after the announcement, the statistical evidence compiled by webmasters and site owners, as well as the indicators pointed by tracking tools, showed signs of another shift in Google’s rankings.

The latest update, named by the webmaster community as ‘Fred’, is reported to have impacted blog and news-style sites, some of which report huge traffic drops. Now, there are a couple of things you should consider before you start panicking. First, this update does seem to impact links or content. Instead, the update is expected to have some said low value content aimed at revenue generation over helping or informing their visitors.

Now, not every site that monetizes content via advertising or through referral traffic is going to be affected by Fred. According to web analysts and SEO experts, the new update is likely to affect sites that have more banners and links than content, but if you’re an affiliate and feel some concern regarding your links, then no worries. As explained by Webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes, affiliate links are not a problem as long as you don’t pack your site with them.

What can you do to improve this?

Based on the recent buzz and the numerous threads posted online, the general consensus is that this update is aimed at sites using heavy advertising frameworks or low quality content to drive ad traffic. While this is typically seen a minor issue and not as a black hat practice, there’s recent evidence that Google is imposing penalties to sites that engage in SEO spamming techniques.

While there’s no secret formula to prevent a negative impact on your organic traffic, keep in mind that providing accurate information should always be your number one priority.

Here’s a final tip. If your site has been directly impacted by Fred, then do some house-cleaning: There’s nothing wrong in using banners and images to drive traffic, although, avoiding unnecessary add placement and using content instead of heavy frameworks seems like an effective way to diminish the “Fred Effect.”


GPWA Sponsor Program

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GPWA Sponsor Program

The GPWA Sponsor Affiliate Program seal is awarded to sponsor affiliate programs that agree to follow the GPWA code of conduct.

The seal has been awarded to gold sponsor Web Partners

The GPWA code of conduct includes the following provisions that are to be followed both by the affiliate program and the operators they represent:

  • Abides by all laws, regulations, and license requirements of the jurisdictions within which they operate.
  • Is truthful in all promotions and publishes only accurate information about their operations.
  • Publicly discloses any rules and registration procedures affecting affiliates or the public.
  • Uses only ethical means of promotion either directly or indirectly through others.
  • Pays both affiliates and players promptly in accordance with published terms and conditions.
  • Promptly responds to complaints either by affiliates or by affiliates on behalf of their players.
  • Accepts responsibility for compliance with the terms of the sponsor code of conduct.

Affiliate programs are run by people, and people sometimes make mistakes, so GPWA sponsor affiliate programs may sometimes fail to comply with the code of conduct. Good affiliate programs act in an ethical fashion, take responsiblity for their mistakes, and work hard to ensure they are corrected. The GPWA operates independent forums for sponsor affiliate programs to create an environment where there is visibility around the interactions between affiliates and sponsor affiliate programs. This transparency enables affiliates to review the experiences of their peers and factor that information into considering whether they wish to work with a particular affiliate program. If you have experience with Web Partners, either positive or negative, please share your opinion with your fellow affiliates in the GPWA Web Partners forum. And if you believe that Web Partners has failed to promptly rectify any breach of the code of conduct, please post your observations in the GPWA Web Partners forum so they can respond.