We are approaching the middle of the month, and since it is March, The Ides are at hand.
Apparently there was a change to the Google algorithm, although Google has decided to not disclose which changes were made and did not confirm (nor deny) there was any to begin with.
Gary Illyes just said that Google is constantly updating the algorithm, ergo we cannot be really sure as to what had happened.
The update is now called the Fred Update, named after Gary’s fish Fred.
If we use heuristics for this, we can surmise that the update was a link quality one over a content quality one.
Which means the black hat community of SEO is the one to shiver in its boots, as WebmasterWorld as well as BlackHat SEO (who call it a “crazy Google dance”, which could be a new Waltz we presume :-)) have been debating on the subject for a couple of days while the white hat community has been mostly silent about it.
According to the former, rankings have tanked recently with some individuals even complaining about whole pages being delisted.
It seems Google really is keen on eradicating or at least hindering black hat SEO efforts, as to force marketers to adopt white hat SEO techniques and discard the old ones.
It all makes sense to some degree, as Google is changing the way we perceive its search engine: from combatting and labeling fake news to changing its autocomplete to not accept any inappropriate suggestions and now updating the algorithm to be based on link quality as opposed to content quality.
We believe there may have been a mish-mash of both good quality content with a good mix hidden links, link farms, shady redirects and content automation, which are proven black hat SEO traits; by updating the algorithm to decide what is a good link and what isn’t, Google hopes to stop black hat SEO completely and force marketers to work on a scalable level as opposed to a “Quick Buck” one.
Perhaps not enough people disavow bad links and continue bad practices and by forcing them to adopt white hat techniques, Google would be able kick the bad habit once and for all.