Earlier this year a new Google update hit the web.
Google hasn’t announced anything official on it.
But others noticed and the update took on the name Fred.
Kind of funny.
But not for those that had their sites affected.
It looks like the main things affected were:
- excessive ads/affiliate links
- generic content offering little to no value
- low-quality backlinks
What Is Google’s Goal?
Google’s stated goal with search is to help users find the answers to their questions.
Every update Google rolls out (and they roll out many) is aimed at this goal.
Yes, they probably tweak things in their favor sometimes. They need their ads to get clicked. But overall they know that people won’t use their search engine if they’re not providing the best answers.
And Google is getting really good at their goal.
They seemingly always seem to be coming up with ways to interpret the content on the Internet to determine the best answers.
They used to rely more on things like backlinks, but a simple backlink is no longer a signal. There are many more signals that go into what makes for a good backlink.
The thing about 5-7 years ago was building all kinds of links.
Eventually Google figured out a way to determine the types of links that really mattered. That was about five years ago.
There are probably still some ways to get legitimate links.
But the best way is to create content that people want to link to. That’s not easy. It’s also not easy to grow a brand. By helping people. By selling a lot of your product.
Building a brand and creating helpful content is a great way to get backlinks.
Any other method is something Google will probably fish out in the future.
So that’s backlinks. Now what about those ads and affiliate links?
This issue is not new either.
Some websites have been bloated with ads for a long time.
Google has been looking at this for awhile. They know that people don’t like slow sites with a ton of ads. That’s why ad blockers are more popular than ever.
Google has been working on this. They came out with something about interstitials just this year.
If your site has popups, auto-play videos or any other kind of ad or email signup or form or whatever that is intrusive you could be in the crosshairs.
Your Content Strategy
Remember, you want to align your content strategy with Google’s. Their goal is to provide the best answer to the questions their users are asking.
That means content that is useful and easy to comprehend all while providing a good experience.
You can go back and see that just about all the Google updates over the years have followed what they’ve been saying.
They know that backlinks can be manipulated. So they had to adjust that signal. Now they’re better at seeing how backlinks point to the best content only.
Google knows that ads and popups and forms and slow sites don’t make content easy to comprehend.
I’m not saying that a content strategy is easy. It’s not.
But it is simple.
Look for the questions your target customers are asking in relation to your industry. If you’re a B2B, focus on the questions your customers are asking in relation to their job. If you’re a B2C, focus on the questions they’re asking about their regular lives away from work.
Link to studies. Link to your previous content. Long might be generally be better, but that’s another signal I’m a little leery of. I wouldn’t write long content for the sake or writing long content.
If you can provide the best answer to a question in 600 words then don’t write 1,200 words.
Google is always coming out with updates. Some of them are more impactful than others. This Fred update seems to be a recent big one. I feel for the sites that are impacted.
But the thing is that these updates are always about the same thing…Google is trying to provide the best answers to the questions its users are asking.
Align your content strategy with their strategy and you’ll win in the long run.