The webmaster and SEO community, all show strong signs that there was a Google algorithm ranking update on March 8th.
Update from 3/15/2017
Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Land posted a great article after doing some in-depth analysis on this latest “Fred” SEO update with some thoughts on who it seems to be hitting.
His research shows that it’s primarily hitting low-value content sites that are focusing on affiliate links or ads.
In his own words
The vast majority of URLs shared with me all show the same type of website. A content site, often in a blog format, but not always, that has content on various topics — which looks to be written for ranking purposes and then has ads and/or affiliate links sprinkled throughout the article. Many of these sites are not industry expert sites, but rather they seem to have content on vast array of topics that are not adding all that much value above what other sites in the industry have already written.
Since yesterday morning, the SEO industry has been tracking an unconfirmed Google ranking update that seems to be aimed at the link quality aspects of the overall search algorithm.
Many are calling this the “Fred” Update, a name the internet community is adopting. That came from Google’s Gary Illyes, who has jokingly suggested that all updates be named “Fred.”
We’ve seen more chatter and reports of changes from within the “black hat” SEO community, which generally means that this is a spam algorithm update around potentially questionable links.
There was also a large content quality Google update on February 7 that was never confirmed. As you expect, Google is very unlikely to confirm algorithm updates these days — but that won’t stop us from reporting large shifts in the search results that convey an algorithm update has happened.
Many of the automated tracking tools currently show significant volatility and fluctuations, which is an indicator of an update. Plus, with all the industry chatter, and with webmasters both complaining about ranking declines and rejoicing about ranking increases, it’s likely that there was a Google update.
We are waiting to hear from Google if they have any comment.