There are rumours, backed up with some hard facts that Google has been targeting ‘How to’ and ‘Informational site’ with it’s latest ‘Phantom’ update. This really leads me to think ‘what the hell does Google want?’.
Public Domain from pixabay
What the Hell does Google Want?
I can understand if only sites with ‘thin content’ have been hit, or pages that are there just to catch rankings for one thing and then sell another, BUT, if a page is a genuine one, giving information on say, how to fix a tap washer, and then goes on to tell them that there is a really easy way to turn off the water in your home / office (and thus reduce the risk of an internal flood) then how can that be considered wrong, they are after all about related topics.
For my part as an SEO professional it looks like a totally silly update, brought about more by malice than anything else.
It would be really good for someone in Google to give an explanation, rather than denying the whole thing as they seem to be.
It really does make you think, what does Google want people to publish when you see things like this happening…
Google “Phantom” Update Rolling Out Targeting Informational, ‘How-To’ Content
NBC reports that an undisclosed, “phantom” algorithm update is rolling out in Google search right now which is primarily impacting publishers of “how-to” style content.
HubPages, a collection of more than 870,000 miniblogs containing informational content about wide varieties of topics, saw its Google search traffic drop 22 percent from one week to another on May 3.
Websites like eHow, WikiHow, and Answers.com are other sites that have seen significant drops in traffic over the past couple of weeks.
Glenn Gabe, of New Jersey-based G-Squared Interactive, is the one to coin the phrase “Phantom” update because this update came without warning, and Google has yet to acknowledge its existence.
Through analyzing the data, Gabe has determined that this udpdate 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 that clickbait articles, sites with an abundance supplementary information, pages of stacked videos, and pages difficult to navigate have all lost visibility in recent weeks.
This update is said to be “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.
Please see www.searchenginejournal.com for the full update and for the comments and evidence that it is hitting some sites.