Google Phantom 5 Update on February 7th

Google Phantom 5
Further to our report on the “update that possibly was” on February 7th, which remains unconfirmed by Google themselves…
The update has a name, courtesy of Glenn Gabe, a digital marketing veteran and it is Google Phantom 5. He conducted a deep analysis of the ‘update’ and concluded that it was either an update of the Panda algorithm or one of Google’s ‘phantom updates’. The latter is never confirmed.


Key attributes that this Google Phantom 5 update aims to achieve: –

  • Thin Content Pages/Low quality Content
  • Low quality user-engagement (increase in bounce rate, time on site etc.)
  • Broken User-Interface (broken elements, broken internal links, menus etc.)
  • UX Barriers – (confusing navigation structure, header/footer, irrelevant breadcrumbs, third-party ad placement, interstitials, autoplay videos etc.)
  • Excessive pagination (too many paginated URLs displaying negligible amount of content)
  • Mobile Usability Issues (No mobile-friendly design, mobile-popups, ads weaved into the content,
  • Technical SEO elements (URL Issues, meta robots tags, robots.txt, URL canonicalisation, crawl errors, structured data markup errors etc.)

Glenn recommends, as we would, that you make significant changes on your site if you were impacted by Google Phantom 5. Don’t stick a plaster on it and hope it fixes itself. Here at Broadplace we constantly monitor any fluctuations and were pleased to see that none of our clients had any significant changes around this time, indeed some saw improvement.
Previous Phantom updates include:

  • Phantom 2, May 3 2015 – large scale ranking changes, algorithm changes impacted quality signals
  • Phantom, May 9 2013 – many sites reported traffic loss

 
If you’d like to learn more about SEO at Broadplace please visit our SEO pages, where you can discover how we do what we do.




Google Update February 7 – What Happened?

Google Update 7 February
There’s been some mild chatter and anecdotal evidence of a possible Google updates around the 7th February.
Google hasn’t confirmed the update. There are only mild fluctuations seen in rankings for most of our projects. We aren’t seeing anything significant from our end – indeed, some clients saw an increase in traffic. The update was suspected to have targeted spammy links and poor/spinned content, so we can only assume that applying best practices to our link building and SEO content creation activities has paid off.
When pressed, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes was asked whether they have any intentions to reveal the truth giving specifications and settle the volatility that has started since January.
“Absolutely not,” came the reply from Illyes.
So whilst no comment from Google, it may be a policy to not mention every algorithm change. Disclosing things would give the spammers excellent chances of avoiding algorithms and finding loopholes.
This seems like the usual algorithmic changes that Google makes. Reputed writers in the industry are still clueless about whether there was an update in the first place or whether it was a panda or penguin.
SearchEngineLand had various theories about the possible tweaks Google may have made. Barry Schwartz noted,
 

“based on the signals I am tracking, there appears to have been an algorithm update that has hit those who undergo more aggressive link building. Some are saying that their PBNs, private blog networks, are not working as well. Some are saying Google is slower at picking up new links. Some think Google hit their sites with penalties. If we had to guess, I’d say this is an algorithm update around how Google discredits spammy links, maybe updating the Penguin algorithm or something else.”

 
He went on to note that, “Many of the folks within the “black hat” SEO community seem to be noticing this and complaining that their tactics are not working as well.”
One such example on the chat boards in the industry was rather amusing :
 
Google Update February 7
 
The moral of the story, as with any changes within Google algorithms, if you’re doing it right you shouldn’t notice much difference! Click on the link below to discover more about the methods that Broadplace SEO use to make sure that you don’t feel the hit when Google makes updates. ..
Broadplace SEO




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