New, unconfirmed Google ranking update targets link quality.
On March 8th 2017, members of the SEO community suspected that the part of the Google algorithm that targets link quality has been updated.
While Google have neither denied nor confirmed hasn’t confirmed the update, many are calling it the ‘Fred Update’, after a joke by Gary Illyes suggesting all updates be called “Fred”, as they are constantly updating the algorithm.
This suspected update seems to be targeting poor quality links, similar to a suspected update back in February, meaning that if you are using black hat techniques to build links to the site, you could be seeing your rankings affected. Search Engine Roundtable has reported that within the black hat world of SEO, there has been a lot of talk about rankings dropping and decreases in traffic, suggesting that this is a link related shift, as black hat SEO does have a focus on low-quality link building. Search Engine Roundtable has quoted the Black Hat Word and WebmasterWorld forums, showing that a lot of people have noticed dramatic shifts in rankings since March 8th.
SEMrush has also reported on site ranking volatility, showing in their tools that there has been high volatility in the search engine results page in the past 48 hours or so, signaling possible algorithm changes.
So, if you’ve been employing quality link building, you shouldn’t see your site affected. This is one of the core SEO strategies that we focus on: building high quality, relevant links to clients sites, as well as carrying out monthly audits on back links and updating disavow files. As inbound links pointing to your site are such an important factor in search engine optimization, this isn’t something you want to mess around with and risk having your site blacklisted!