Should You Be Concerned with Google Phantom?
You may have noticed this, it may have gone totally unnoticed, and for some of us, it had a major impact. But recently Google rolled out what has been named the Phantom update. It hasn't gotten as much attention as the more famous creatures, Penguin and Panda, but had significant impact all the same for more than a few websites.
While Google says it does between 500-600 search algorithm updates per year, many of them are very minor, and attract little attention. Others, like the aforementioned critters, create havoc.
This one is between those. Let's take a peek at what the Phantom update was all about, and how you can respond if needed.
The Google Phantom update – What was it about?
Google informed us all that they were on the warpath for thin and poor content, and it looks like Phantom update intended to combat this pox on search engine results.
This included sites like HubPages, eHow, WikiHow, Answers.com and others. It is also looking to more domain oriented, which means that more than the offending pages could be affected. Not good.
Several specific things got their attention this time. A few 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 a lot of ads, or unedited curated pieces.
Some strategies you can use if you were affected
If you think that you may have fallen victim to the Phantom update, the first thing you'll want to do is to perform a sitewide content audit. Once you have the data showing you which of your pages were negatively affected, fix or delete this content. Many times in the case of old stale content, it's better to lose it entirely than to try to apply a band-aid.
What you want to do here is come out of this with your best foot forward, showing off to Google and all who visit your pages that it contains the most relevant and current content you are able to provide. Do this and you needn't worry about Phantoms!