Quality Content and Google’s Phantom Algorithm Update

Google phantom algorithm update May 2015

Google Confirms The Phantom Algorithm Change

If you run a website, or are responsible for website content, you know that Google updates its search algorithm quite often, and sometimes, drastically. One of the most important things for a digital marketer, business owner, or website admin to keep abreast of is upcoming changes to Google’s algorithms.

But what happens when Google gives no notice of a change at all?

That’s precisely what happened with their most recent algorithm change. This change, not-so-affectionately referred to as the Google Phantom Algorithm Update, sent developers, website admins, and bloggers into a tailspin trying to understand why their website traffic had suddenly dropped, in some cases significantly.

After much prodding, Google admitted to the change but gave very little insight into what it meant in terms of website traffic. What’s extremely important to note here is that this newest algorithm change was a quality update.

This means that Google is now (un)officially stating that the core search algorithm will be very picky about the content websites are posting. If you have a qualified social media marketing team consistently publishing quality content, this algorithm change may not mean much for you. However, most sites will feel some sort of impact from this update, especially if your site publishes weak content.

This should be nothing new to savvy digital marketers and smart SEOs. Remember the Hummingbird Algorithm update and how quality content played a major part? If you need a refresher, check this out: Why Quality Content is Key To Optimization Post-Hummingbird.

What can a website admin or content creator do to counteract this new algorithm, and to maintain their website traffic?


Google's Phantom Algorithm Update
Google’s Phantom Algorithm Update


Quality Content Wins Every Time

The first thing you can do is focus on creating strategic, quality content. Google favours websites that provide content that they deem to be “quality”. They want content to be original, in-depth, and trustworthy.

If your content consists of too many redundant short posts, you could see your domain demoted. Google’s newest algorithm is meant to prioritize the user experience, which is what we should all be aiming for anyway.

Content Errors Tells Google Your Content is Weak

The second quality content tip is that your content is error-free. Content riddled with errors will be flagged by Google and will be classified as being low-content. Too many low-content posts and you could see your domain demoted, which will have serious impact on your Google search results.


Quality Content Moves to Top of Google’s Agenda

Google prioritizes high quality and trustworthy content. Ensure that the content you are putting out is sourced, factual, and provides a deeper look at your topic area. This will ensure that Google classifies your site as trustworthy and high quality, which will help with organic search through increased search rankings and click through.

Focus on Quality Content
Focus on Quality Content

Make sure that the content you produce is user-centric and adds value to the topic. Think about your reader when creating your content. This means you have to be aware of the user experience (UX). Make sure you don’t have too many ads, or distractions on the side bar. Always look at your content from the reader’s perspective.

Quality content writing must be comprehensive. Google wants to see content that takes the time to explain a topic, and that adds something original to the conversation. Repeating common news stories is a great place to start, but you have to go further and ensure that your take on it is present as well.

This new algorithm change and its prioritization of quality is not too surprising for anyone who has been paying attention. Updates that favour quality is the trend, and it’s not going anywhere soon. Get into the habit of producing the quality content that your users want to consume, and future Google algorithms should reward your efforts.

By spending a little time or money now, you can save yourself headaches in the future.

Need some help with creating relevant and quality content to crank up your content marketing strategy? Reach out to us today.

 Digital Strategy VPDM Digital Marketing St.Catharines