What did Google do today, the latest unconfirmed update

Today there was a Google update nicknamed Fred! It’s their ball and they will play with it as they see fit. Well today, they decided that there would be some changes, whether you like it or not. Looks like Google has a new friend and his name is Fred! Some of you I’m sure will not be happy. Without boring you with a long drawn out explanation, I will break down what may have happened today.

Google is not the only game in town but it is the one that matters. So it only seems right that you want your website ranking as high as possible. Google changes ranking factors daily, they do not share what these changes are. Yet they do warn us of impending doom. In April of 2015, they wanted you to have a mobile friendly site. They told us to make sure that happened before they really started punishing us in the rankings. There are some best practices that Google expects all websites to follow. They have made this clear and todays penalty may be a result of not following the rules.

SEO results warning SERP warning

So what is the penalty

There are certain guidelines that Google recommends that you follow. To have a healthy ranking site, these recommendations should be followed exactly. Today it seems that low quality backlinks may be the target. Backlinks are clickable links on websites that link back to your website. Link back, backlink get it? You can have high authority links, low authority and everything in between. In the mission to forever make the web a super usable friendly place, Goolge tries to weed out the bad. If you have ever paid for links or only have lower quality links on your site, you may have been affected by today’s penalty. That’s it, thats all you need to know.

If you want to know if your site was affected get a free automated site audit. You will get the results emailed to you instantly (almost instantly). I can take a quick look to see if you have been affected and give you some ideas going forward to help you rank better. If you want to know more details about this penalty read on.

The Constant Google Updates

I felt there was something happening last night. First of all, I am half search engine. Secondly, things just didn’t look right. In a message sent to a fellow marketer last night before I fell asleep, I wrote, “You notice anything odd going on with the SERPS lately?”. Tracking tools I use had been whispering in my ear about it. Top that with some visible changes to the actual search pages, I knew things were happening. Google makes small changes often in it’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). This was no small update, it was an almost overnight rearrangement.

  • Page layouts had changed some
  • 4 Ads placed at the top of the pages
  • Actual direct name match domains placed under quality directory listings

This page layout update, may have nothing to do with Fred. These penalties do show us that Google is always updating and on the move.

Do you think your site is following best practices? Are you worried that you may be on Google’s next hit list? Get a free SEO audit.


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