NBC had reported that an undisclosed “phantom” algorithm update is being deployed in Google search right now which primarily impacting publishers of “how-to” style of content.
HubPages holds more than 870,000 miniblogs that contain informational content about wide varieties of topics, saw that their search share in Google dropped to 22 percent from one week to another last May 3.
Other websites like eHow, WikiHow, and Answers.com are some 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 who named this updated as “Phantom” update because this update came without warning and the search giant Google has yet to acknowledge this algorithm update.
Gabe claims that clickbait articles, sites that has abundance supplementary information, pages that contains stacked videos and pages that are difficult to navigate have all lost visibility in recent weeks.
This update is claimed to be ‘ruthless’ in its approach – apparently having no problem punishing websites or domains for a few instances of thin content.
Google has not yet formally commented on this update, although at SMX Sydney, Gary Illyes, from Google Webmaster Trends team has alluded to a recent change that is a part of 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.