What Google’s ‘Phantom Update’ Means For Your Business

Jun 11, 2015

What Google’s ‘Phantom Update’ Means For Your Business

Back on April 21, Google released its mobile-friendly algorithm update, which promised a highly touted change to the way the search engine would prioritize search results. However, most small business owners were aware of the pending update and had enough time to make sure their websites were optimized for mobile search.

However, in recent weeks there have been whispers about a new “phantom” algorithm update, which may have gone into effect at the end of April or early May. As it happens, if you’ve noticed changes to your business’ search rankings, you’re not alone.

The reason people have been referring to his as a “Phantom Update” is due to the lack of advanced notice about this latest revision to the algorithm, and because Google wouldn’t come out and admit any change had been made. However, the search engine giant did eventually confirm the update, but even then wouldn’t provide many specifics on what changes were made. While Google may try to down play the update’s impact, the evidence suggests a significant shift in the factors that determine search rankings.

At its root, the update seems to focus on quality. How Google actually judges quality is a bit of a mystery, but we do know that its goal is to provide users with the most relevant content possible. By creating high-quality content and websites packed with useful information, you can keep ranking highly for the terms most related to your business and continue driving traffic to your website. You may want to review Google’s post about what it considers a high-quality website.

With the understanding that content matters, let’s examine what you need to know about the “Phantom Update.”

Relax, Everything Will Be Okay

Let’s start by agreeing that Google will continue update its algorithm in order to create the highest level of user satisfaction. With Panda, Penguin, Pirate, Pigeon, and any other ‘P’ name Google gives it’s updates over the last few years, the company has demonstrated a willingness to make frequent changes to its algorithm.

However, regardless of the update, if you’ve been producing quality content that keeps the interests of your target audience in mind, you’re still on the right path. You don’t need to drastically overhaul your content strategy. But if have noticed a drop in your organic search traffic, you may need to fix some on-page SEO.

While we may not have any clear information on quality signals Google is sending, we do know what they have said in the past. Here are a few facts to keep in mind when curating your website’s content:

  • Avoid redundant articles and duplicate content
  • Create rich content that’s full of valuable information
  • Make the user’s experience your top priority. Overloading your website with ad, for example, can create a poor user experience and have an unintended impact on your search rankings.
  • You need to produce authoritative content that makes you a trusted source of information in your niche.
  • Place a premium on quality control. Your site should be free of factual and spelling errors.
  • Your website needs to exude trustworthiness. Users need to feel comfortable providing you their credit card number.

This is just a brief look at what Google wants from you as a authoritative creator of content. From the perspective of a user, it makes plenty of sense. The concept is to provide answers posed by visitors, provide the most detailed information available, analyze issue from a variety of angels and provide insights into the topics you’re the most passionate about.

Keep these basic concepts in mind when creating content for your business’ website and you’ll continue to stay in Google’s good graces.