While most of the world was trying to avoid the “mobilegeddon” apocalypse, Google secretly rolled out a ‘phantom’ algorithm change that hit popular informational sites such as Hubpages, About.com, Wikihow, eHow and Answers.com.
Paul Edmondson, CEO of Hubpages, released a blog post on May 11 explaining the platform’s current status. Hubpages is a collection of approximately 870,000 miniblogs primarily focused in publishing informational content. Findings show that the site experienced a drastic 22% drop in Google search traffic.
Similar sites offering ‘how-to’ content have also complained about several traffic drops leading industry experts to dig deeper into the issue. Read on to find out what we discovered about the undisclosed update.
The nickname “phantom” was derived from the fact that the algorithm is yet to be officially confirmed by Google. The popular search engine company declined to comment on speculations, but has been giving hints that changes were made. Edmondson decided to call it “the update that didn’t take place”.
What we once knew as evergreen content may never be the same again. Glenn Gabe, of G-squared Interactive, released a detailed algorithm report after receiving dozens of emails from clients complaining about significant drops in Google’s organic search results. According to Gabe, most of the websites were mobile-friendly so it couldn’t be because of the highly-publicised mobile algorithm adjustments. That was when he figured out that another update was implemented preying on “low quality” how-to style content.
Most pages that were penalised contained:
- Clickbait articles
- Large portions of supplementary information
- Stacked videos
- Hard-to-navigate pages
However, it wasn’t as simple as that. Both Edmondson and Gabe revealed that the algorithm wasn’t just preying on individual page content. Entire websites started being pushed down the results pages despite containing relatively little content that matched Google’s ‘low quality’ criteria.
The Future of Search
Google is always a company that is known for looking forward. Consider them a book that has unexpected twists and sequences, often revealing that seemingly mysterious events were planned all along with an end goal in mind. Phantom was simply a sequel to the Google Knowledge Graph, a project officially introduced in 2012. This makes the jobs of content publishers more essential than ever.
While industry professionals do not know where this may lead their businesses, at 123Ranking we always encourage UK business owners to update their SEO strategies to stay on top of these regular shifts. Any plans should always focus on delivering unique, high quality content, as this is one element of SEO that we can safely say will never fall out of favour with search engines or users.
Avoiding Algorithm Penalties
We may not know exactly what online searches will be like in 10 or 20 years, but our team is sure of one thing – excellent content. Sticking to the fundamentals is always the best starting point, and continuously providing updated content will help ensure your business’ future, making it as update-proof as you can be.
If this is all new ground for you, you can set up a blog through your own domain to get your content up to scratch. If you haven’t started your website yet, there are a lot of very affordable hosting options that will suit your budget restrictions. You already know one of the golden rules of SEO just from reading this article, so you’re off to a great start.
If you’re already further down the line, did you notice major changes in your traffic this May? You might be affected by Phantom, so check what type of content your site is delivering against the criteria we mentioned earlier. Just call us for free on 0808 189 0208 if you require any help assessing your website’s current position.
Following its mobile algorithm update, Google launches its new mobile phone service ‘Project Fi’. The app can only be accessed through an invitation request that’s exclusively available to Nexus 6 users.
How it works?
‘Project Fi’ aims to give users a unique mobile experience. With over a thousand complaints from carrier clients, the search engine giant has decided to interfere by partnering with industry leaders T-mobile and Sprint. It works as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), which is a service also offered by Straight Talk. They offer users plans that will enable a subscriber to connect with other carriers.
The main point here is convenience. Users will only have one point of contact – Google. There will be no need to contact T-mobile and Sprint LTE.
Their unique approach to mobile data will automatically switch your connection to the best available network in your location – whether a 4GLTE network (either T-Mobile or Sprint) or one of Google’s verified Wi-Fi networks. It has listed over a million, free Wi-fi hotspots all over the US. The company also promises to keep your wireless connection secure through Google encryption.
How much will it cost?
The project was designed to offer users an uninterrupted mobile experience at what should be dramatically reduced costs. By how much, you ask? So far, pricing information is only available in US dollars because of the strictly limited trial, but this gives you an idea of what we might expect if the technology makes it elsewhere in the near future. Here’s a breakdown of their one simple plan.
Their basic plan is worth USD $20 a month, which includes the following:
- Unlimited call and text –domestic and international
- Low-cost international calls
- Wi-Fi Tethering
- Covering more than 120 countries
In addition to that, you would have to pay an additional USD $10 for every 1GB of data. You can use up to 10GB of mobile data. Google also promises to refund any unused data. We’ll be taking note of that!
For more pricing information, you can also go here.
How to get a Google Fi invite?
First, you need to get a Nexus 6, since it’s the only device that Fi will currently work on. You can purchase one from Project Fi when you sign up. But before that, make sure your area has a good T-Mobile or Sprint signal. Otherwise, you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of what you paid for.
Once you have covered these two measures, it’s time to request an invite.
According to a Google representative, Fi started sending the first 100 invitations last Monday.
What this means?
For now, Fi is still in its developing stage and we can’t really get a clear picture until Google makes any further announcements. A lot of online users have been complaining that they can’t embrace the entire concept of the project because of limited access.
We will know more about this project in the following weeks, so watch out for our updates!