Should You Be Concerned with Google Phantom?
Recently Google rolled out the latest of their search engine algorithm updates, this one mysteriously referred to as Phantom. Many people still have no idea this occurred, and for good reason. It literally flew under the radar. Many search algorithm updates create quite a splash when they arrive. 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 the majority are fairly insignificant, and go largely unnoticed.
This one is between those. Let's take a peek at what the Phantom update was all about, and how you can respond if need be.
What is the Google Phantom update?
Google had warned us all that they were on the warpath for thin and poor content, and it looks like Phantom is another update intended to combat this pox on search engine results.
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. A lot 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 tons of ads, or unedited curated pieces.
Key takeaways for your use
The first and best thing you can do is take a close look at your site content by doing an audit. See which of your pages have suffered a loss in rank possibly due this Phantom, and then 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 off to Google and all who come to your pages that it contains the most relevant and current content you can provide. Do that and you needn't worry about Phantoms!