At the beginning of May, Google carried out a core algorithm update. As the name suggests, this affects the core function of the Google algorithm. The special thing about it: Google doesn’t reveal anything else. For this reason, one speaks of the Phantom Update.
Panda, penguin, hummingbird & Co. vs. phantom
After each major update, there was an explanation of what the respective update should do. Not so with the Phantom Update. It was confirmed that an update took place, but not why and what exactly it does. Furthermore, it is now clear that the Phantom Update has nothing to do with the previous updates. The Phantom Update also has nothing to do with the Mobile Friendly Update in April of this year, as it has both the desktop version and the mobile version a website concerns.
Impact & guesswork
Affected sites report fluctuations in the Sistrix visibility index of up to 60% – both positive and negative. As with every update, there are winners and losers. The following assumptions are currently circulating on the net and can also be read in detail on the Sistrix blog:
The winners of the update
- Class and counseling directories have apparently benefited
- Well-known brands and popular domains gain even more visibility
- Domains that had lost visibility for some time
The losers of the update
- Small and medium-sized sites in particular suffered from negative effects
- It is noticeable that information pages, advice pages and editorially managed portals are particularly affected (ALTHOUGH they offer high-quality content!)
- Domains that have been gaining visibility for some time are now losing
Apparently, sites with lots of clickbait articles, articles with no content and lots of videos, and low quality sites have also lost.
Free Google Update Trial
By the way, if you want to check whether your site was / is affected by an update, you can do the test here. After entering the URL, the Sistrix blog provides a kind of timeline with all important Google updates. The interesting thing: The percentage shows how much your site was affected by the respective update.
How can I take countermeasures?
Not much at the moment. And what you can do are more long-term things that cannot be realized overnight. Nevertheless, there are tips that should be implemented in principle, regardless of the phantom update:
- Brand building: The investment is definitely worth it
- Increase domain popularity
- Reader and user loyalty
Both can be done through:
- Link building (meaningful!)
- Offer real added value to the user / reader
- Use of various social media channels (social signals!)
- Offline presence
- Increase in traffic and awareness through newsletters and collaborations
The hope: Google is only testing …
Google often tries to find out something through updates or minor changes in the algorithm. Surgery on a living object – what could be better? If you react and suddenly do everything differently, you lose. It therefore remains to be seen what the long-term effects will be. Maybe this time keeping your feet still will help or another update will be rolled out – we’ve had everything before. In any case, we are not yet quite clear why it hit information and advice pages in particular. Above all, the preference for well-known brands limits the variety of search results considerably. The little blogger from next door is unfortunately looking down the tube, even though he offers good content. And content is no longer king? We will see. It remains exciting!