A short time ago Google rolled out the latest of their search engine algorithm updates, this one mysteriously dubbed Phantom. Many people still have no clue this occurred, and for good reason. It literally flew under the radar. Many search algorithm updates create quite a splash when they occur. Ask anyone who was negatively affected by Penguin or panda, and their subsequent iterations. Some entire businesses were lost, and certainly fortunes were deviated.
The good news is that most search algorithm updates aren’t nearly that dramatic. Google says they perform between 500-600 updates yearly, and most are fairly insignificant, and go mostly unnoticed.
Let’s look into what the Phantom has brought to a search engine results page near you.
The Google Phantom update – What was it about?
It looks like Phantom was all about poor quality pages. Pages that had a dependence on “clickbait” headlines, thin content, tons of poor user-generated content and old, out of touch and non-relevant comments were the first to feel this wrath of Phantom.
Some of the more well-known sites suffered with this update as well. Sites like HubPages, WikiHow, Answers.com and a few others took a significant hit.
Several specific things got their attention this time around. Some of them are going to sound familiar to many who got hit in other recent Google updates. Pages with “thin” content, meaning scant content on the page designed merely to get a click or another action, were targeted. Also high on the list were pages with “clickbait” headlines, and also lots of stacked videos, too much poor user-generated content, pages with lots of ads, or unedited curated pieces.
Key takeaways for your use
The first and best thing you can do is take a cold hard look at your site content by doing an audit. See which of your pages may have suffered a loss in rank possibly due this Phantom, and see if any of the above mentioned factors apply to it. Then you can either fix, update or junk it, depending on the age and relative current relevance of the content in question.
What you want to do here is come out of this with your best foot forward, showing Google and all who come to your pages that it contains the most relevant and current content you are able to provide. Do that and you needn’t worry about Phantoms!