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Google “Phantom” Update Rolling Out Targeting Informational, ‘How-To’ Content

Google “phantom” update is all about publisher of “how to” type content. NBC reported about this undisclosed update by Google.

Many big players like Hubpage which deals in miniblogs, with varieties of topics, registered a drop of about 22 percent of its traffic in the first week of May.

Other informational websites that have seen significant drops in traffic are eHow, WikiHow, and Answers.com

Glenn Gabe, of New Jersey-based G-Squared Interactive, is the one to coin the phrase “Phantom” updates because this update came without warning, and Google has yet to acknowledge its existence.

Through analyzing the data, Gabe has determined that this update is not related to Panda or Penguin. However, similar types of “thin” content targeted by Panda are also being targeted by this update.

Gabe points out those clickbait articles, sites with abundance supplementary information, pages of stacked videos, and pages difficult to navigate have all lost visibility in recent weeks.

Unlike Panda and Penguin, which targets individual pages rather than entire domains, this update is said to be more “ruthless” in its approach — apparently having no problem punishing entire domains for a few instances of thin content.

“When you have a domain-level algorithm update or ranking change, it can impact the whole site… Pages that should be drawing well could also be pulled down in the results.”

Google has not formally commented on this update, although at SMX Sydney this week Gary Illyes, from Google’s Webmaster Trends team, alluded to there being a recent change that’s part of a core algorithm update.

With Google’s Knowledge Graph being notorious for detracting traffic from sites for “how to” searches, coupled with this “Phantom” update, being a content publisher is more challenging than ever. Even Gabe, who analyzes search data for a living, admits to not being able to predict what business will look like tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

Have you noticed a significant change in your traffic since the beginning of May? If so, what types of content do you believe was targeted? Details are scarce at this point, so any information we can get is valued.

Ref: http://www.searchenginejournal.com

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