There has been a lot of speculation in the SEO world over the past few weeks as to what Google's latest update know as FRED actually targets. As always Google is tight lipped and just say it's to give their customers (the people using their search engine) a better user experience.
So a month after it's realise we can finally look at what the update has targeted and as always the well deserved victims have been low quality websites.
These are the pointless web sites designed to maximise revenue by gaining lots of web traffic with the sole aim of getting visitors to click on an ad or an affiliate link, sometimes even by trickery using scripts, pop-unders and delayed loading techniques. We all know the sites, you click on a link only to find out that the page is 80% ads with very little content, they usually have pop-unders and other annoying tricks to open third party websites.
FRED can now detect these low quality sites and give them penalties or even remove them from the rankings altogether.
I personally hate these websites and we have been seeing them more and more over the past couple of years. If you don't know what multi-page articles/slideshows are they are the websites you get to usually through clickbait, the content seems interesting, usually light hearted or image based and you think you deserve a 2 minute break from work only to be sent to the slowest website on the internet and what's worse is that you get an image and 2 or 3 lines of text and you have to constantly click next to continue reading...
You wonder why the site was built in this way and think what a bad idea, surely there is a better way to displayed content and images, why would the designer/web site owner do this?
The point of these multi-page articles or slideshows is to keep you on the site and reduce the bounce rate. The old Google algorithms got data that showed them that this must be an authoritative site with lots of interesting content because you stayed on it for 10/15 minutes and clicked on lots of internal links, when in reality after you wasted 10 or 15 minute you realised the content was garbage and the clickbait or image that bought you to the web site wasn't even included.
Finally the new FRED algorithm update can detect these sites and penalise them.
Every time a Google algorithm is released the SEO and marketing community kick up a fuss, but if these people where not using tricks, gimmicks and under-handed methods to gain traffic, click-throughs and rankings then they would have nothing to worry about in the first place.