Phantom: All You Need To Know About Google’s Latest Algorithm Update

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The month of May, 2015 will be remembered with fear and frustration for a long time to come by many SEO professionals and business owners around the globe. This is because around the mid of May, the biggest Search Engine – Google very secretively released a major update to their search algorithm. And this update was called “Phantom”, may be because of the secretiveness with which Google released it without telling anyone about it. Even though Google has refused to accept that they have really updated their search algorithm, there is a ton of evidence around the web which proves otherwise.

This update or Phantom was responsible for ripping through websites and causing erratic fluctuations in search results overnight. According to some reliable sources, Phantom was ruthless in its execution and hit many websites ferociously. The hardest hit was HubPages, a popular site having a collection of about 9,00,000 short blogs covering almost all topics under the Sun. According to its CEO, Phantom brought down the search traffic to its site by a staggering 22%. That’s gross, isn’t it?

Since then, every web master or business owner is either confused, frustrated or angered. The very thought that what happened to HubPages can also happen to them is scaring the wits out of them. The added fact that they don’t know what to do to escape Phantom’s fury, completely handicaps them.

Hence, here are some major facts about Google’s latest search algorithm update Phantom, which you should know if you want your website to be spared from its punishing ways!!

‘How-To-Sites’ With Thin Pages Face The Axe

After careful analysis of the websites hit by Phantom, it has been found that those sites with “how-to” searches are being attacked ferociously by Phantom. In short, Phantom is kind of enabling and helping Google’s Knowledge Graph to gain more traction.

Difficult Navigational Sites – The Worst Hit

The sites with plentiful of information and stacked videos face a common problem of difficult navigation. This problem though can be solved with proper category organization. But if this navigational issue remains unsolved, Phantom will surely reduce the visibility of your site.

So, ensure that the navigation of your site is user-friendly, or else Phantom is sure to reduce the traffic on your site, no matter how much credible information your site contains.

Phantom-Update-Rolls-Out-Targeting

Image Credit – TisIndia.com

Phantom – A Domain-Level Algorithm Update

Phantom is being seen as a domain level algorithm update, as it is found to punish the entire domain if that domain contains even a very few sections of thin content. This affects the whole site, and the pages of that domain that were previously attracting a good amount of traffic can also get pulled down.

Its Penguin 2.0 With A Dummy Name

This latest algorithm update by Google is being called a two headed monster by some web masters and SEO experts. This is because the characteristics of Phantom involves a combination of Panda and Penguin. Some other experts are also terming Phantom as Penguin 2.0 version.

Removal Of Unnatural Links A Must

Many of the websites that were hit by the Phantom update contained over the limit upstream unnatural links. This huge number of unnatural links gave those websites the form of a spammy website, even though they weren’t. This factor also violated the guidelines laid out by Google regarding links.

Although this phantom update was just a teaser of what actually is going to come, it is confirmed that more such sites will get hit when the full rollout of Phantom occurs. The sites with authority are also not in a safe position as far as Phantom is concerned.

Heavy Cross-Linking Is Also Bad

Those sites that are heavily cross linked to each other, or in other words, sister websites are also in danger of being punished by Phantom. Moreover, if such sister sites contained matching anchor text links, it made matters worse.

Hence, if you want to be spared by Phantom, make sure that if you own sister sites, never cross link them by using matching anchor texts.

Content Scrapping

Those sites that resorted to the practice of scraping some content to highlight some specific pages were also terribly attacked by Phantom. Providing some portions from the destination pages and then building links to those destination pages was also not allowed by Phantom.

Phantom Followed Panda

The sites that were previously hit by the Panda algorithm update of Google, were again hit by Phantom. This meant that Phantom, in a way, repeated what Panda did. Thus, the SEO experts and the business owners should carefully study the pattern that the Panda update followed, as this will help them weed out issues from their site that are sure to face Phantom’s axe.

Hence, if you are a business owner or a seo service provider, and you don’t want Phantom to kill your website or bring the traffic down, conduct a qualitative content audit of your site time and again. Also, prepare a strong and smart strategy for fixing all the issues on your site as soon as possible. Furthermore, keep an hawk’s eye on the SERPs, always.

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