Search Industry

The search marketing industry is now over twenty years old! It’s fun to think about how far along the industry has come. Occasionally there is big news that only search professionals care about, if that’s you, posts in this category are for you.

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Google makes thousands of changes to its algorithm per year. That’s a lot to keep up with! So, we’ll keep up to date for you because if our search strategy changes chances are yours should too. What could an algorithm change effect? Your ranking, organic search traffic, conversions, return on investment, and revenue. That’s a lot that Fred can affect! “Who?” Not, “Who,” but, “What?”

In 2017, Google began to make noticeable changes to its algorithm without giving a name to the changes they were making. Then, at an industry event, Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, was asked what he called these updates, and he answered, “Fred.” Was this the official name employees were using to refer to these tweaks internally? Not quite. Turns out, “Fred” is what Illyes calls anything that lacks a name, be it a person, place, or thing. So, his answer was a joke. Then people started taking the joke seriously, and suddenly every update that actually made an impact on enough sites or on a particular vertical earned the honorific “Fred”.

So, Google makes thousands of changes yearly, but not all of them are Freds. Google won’t actually tell you when it’s made a Fred, so the way you find out is by following the blogs of search industry professionals like us because we’re the ones paying attention to Fred!

How else can you keep up with Fred if you suspect that you’ve been affected? Follow Google Webmaster Guidelines and The Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. Keep in mind, though, that these two guides aren’t SEO guides. We’re SEO guides! Google’s guides are meant to give you insight as to how Google interprets your site and what is or isn’t a quality site.

Don’t think that keeping track of Google’s updates to its search engine is as simple as following their blog or some Twitter accounts. There are actually a number of sources keeping track of changes, including third-party apps, and those sources themselves have different metrics of evaluation that they use to decide if a change is worth commenting on. So what do you do once a consensus has emerged about an update?

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Check your analytics to make sure its the algorithm change that’s actually responsible for the change you’re experiencing (as opposed to a website or SEO issue, or a penalty you incurred for violating one of Google’s guidelines).
  3. Study your data.
  4. Find out what SEO experts are saying.
  5. Adjust your SEO accordingly.

Keep in mind that Google makes thousands of changes to its algorithm a year, and that search engine rankings change in general, so it’s not uncommon to notice a change of some kind. If, however, you notice a plummet, rejoice! Google just let you know how you can vastly improve your website. In general, however, your best bet is to commit to SEO fundamentals, knowing your audience, and creating good content that earns you a following rather than chasing the algorithm for short-term gains.