Post by Cameron Moore, Copywriter, and Nonie Carson, Marketing Specialist
Google just confirmed a core algorithm update that changes how it determines quality content, and it’s already impacting organic rankings on the search engine results page (SERP). This update, deemed the “Phantom Update,” came right when Google’s “Mobilegeddon” was the focal point for everyone tied to search. According to Performics’ data, “Mobilegeddon” has yet to impact brands that were prepared.
Yet, webmasters began to notice significant SERP changes due to something else. Google, initially coy in response to inquiries about another algorithm update, finally confirmed with Search Engine Land that “there were changes to its core ranking algorithm in terms of how [Google] processes quality signals.”
PHANTOM UPDATE IMPLICATIONS
Brands are now reporting Google organic traffic variances across their entire sites. While some are seeing increases in search traffic, others are startled to see negative implications from Phantom (e.g. HubPages, which recorded a 22% loss in traffic across its site).
While Google confirmed that the core algorithm update is to better determine quality websites, no specifics have been spelled out. Initial data from Stickyeyes suggests that Google may be rewarding sites with:
However, industry players are waiting on the edges of their seats for larger and more conclusive sets of performance data to analyze.
EMBRACE the PHANTOM
True to each algorithm update from Google, brands should align their content strategies to protect and rectify areas on their websites prone to organic search traffic volatility. As Google continues to strengthen its rigidity against serving poor and “spammy” content, brands must shift attention to producing quality content across their entire sites to ensure no loss in visibility. Once again, quality content wins—on Google and with your customers.
UNDERSTANDING the PHANTOM UPDATE
This Phantom Update is by no means a reformation of epic proportions. However, it should serve as wake-up call to brand managers and content creators alike who have been lulled into crafting mediocre content en masse, choosing to match competitors in quantity instead of quality. As search engines—through which people find their ways to our content—improve, so too must the underlying content.
To learn more about creating exceptional content that finds its way onto searchers’ screens, please contact your performance account team today.