Google Rankings, Fred and Crime in America

by admin on April 3, 2017

The new “Fred” Google ranking update has cut the traffic for my “Crime in America” website in half (

I have thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. I’m a former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse and the former Director of Information Services, for the National Crime Prevention Council. I’m a post-Masters graduate from the Johns Hopkins University.

I was the defacto crime prevention specialist and spokesperson for the USDOJ for ten years.

I retired from a federal criminal justice agency in June. I now run Crime in America, this site, and one other focusing on family histories (

Throughout my website experiences for the federal government and my own sites, I tried to follow Google’s advice to create great content and to serve my customers.

The “Fred” Google ranking update is described by “Search Engine Land” (article below) as penalizing “outdated, thin and scraped content, as well as incomprehensible articles.”

What I Create

The articles I create for Crime in America take days of analysis and pouring over obscure federal data to offer something new and interesting. Experienced criminal justice people review most of my articles or suggest topics.

I answer questions from reporters and the general public. Many of my articles are customer driven. I never charge anyone for my assistance.

I take a range of data from multiple agencies and summarize complex topics to prompt a better understanding of crime and criminal justice issues. I create green screen videos summarizing data.

I worked for federal and state agencies and I’m dismayed by the lack of simplicity and plain English offered in government reports. I try hard to simplify the complex.

In short, I meaningfully serve my customers. I run one of the few websites for crime and criminal justice issues not dominated by politics or personal philosophy. I try to offer both sides of the story and let readers make up their own minds. My articles were featured on Google search results.

With the “Fred” update, the advice given by Google throughout the years as to creating great content and serving customers becomes irrelevant.

My Site

Yes, I offer RSS feeds from related sources as a service to my customers; it puts news coverage of criminal justice topics in one place. I don’t have to do it, but I followed Google’s advice to serve customers.

Yes, I run ads and they bring in a small amount of money to offset the cost of running the site. I should recuperate some of my operating costs. I don’t beg for money like so many other sites.

But the “Fred” Google ranking update just doesn’t insult me, it offends anyone trying to follow Google’s advice as to great customer service.

Yes, I Know, No One Cares

I fully understand that no one at Google will read this and/or give a damn, and I realize that I can eliminate the RSS feeds, but that wouldn’t serve customers. I can also eliminate Google’s ads but that takes funds away from my operating expenses.

My God, with news sites imposing dozens of ads and with similar sites offering nothing more than scraped articles, penalizing someone offering original and complex articles is simply wrong.

Yes, no one cares. I get that. But all Google did is to hamper our ability to bring quality articles, videos and service to the public on a topic that affects us all.

Article from Search Engine Land

Sistrix, an SEO toolset data collection company, published their analysis of the Google Fred update after reviewing “nearly 300 domains.” Their analysis describes the sites and pages that were hit like this:

“…advertisement, outdated, thin and scraped content, as well as incomprehensible articles made up of 300 word ‘SEO texts’ pumped to the brim with main keyword mentions and void of any useful information or a sense of readability.”

They have confirmed our analysis of Fred, where we said low value content sites were hit by this update.

Juan Gonzalez from Sistrix analyzed 300 website domains on Google Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, all of which lost Google search results visibility after March 13, 2017. Juan said that “nearly all losers were very advertisement heavy, especially banner ads, many of which were AdSense campaigns … Another thing that we often noticed was that those sites offered little or poor quality content, which had no value for the reader.”

He then shared specific examples of sites that were hit and how bad their visibility dropped. Many of the sites lost between 50 percent and 90 percent visibility in Google, which correlates with what we’ve seen webmasters report their Google traffic has dropped after being hit by this Fred update.


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