Late April & early May brought shocking and sudden drops in both rankings and Google traffic to a lot of websites. Their numbers looked like they dived off a high cliff, so immediate were the effects.
Unlike more recent changes, which Google would hint were coming or even outright tell you, this one came, saw and conquered with no advance notice. Some are calling it the Phantom Update because it appeared so fast and so surprisingly.
It wasn’t until well into it, May 8th, that Google acknowledged there was a change in their algorithm and it was a big one. We’ll never know exactly what they changed, of course, because that would be giving away the game. What we do know is that this has upended more black and even grey hat SEO tactics. That’s good news.
What Google Has Confirmed About This Update
They have confirmed that there has been a change in how the algorithm interprets Quality Signals. In other words, how their ranking software determines the value of your website and its content. For example, if you’ve been using software to spin articles, you probably got hit. If you’ve been doing a lot of cross-linking between websites, , and especially if you use the same link text every time, it’s a good bet you’re looking at a much lower profile in the Google listings now.
Sites like HubPages got hit big time as well as AdSense sites that usually emphasized their ads at the expense of any useful content.
This kind of alteration in the formula is major and it’s probably not done yet, so expect it to continue to roll out over the next few weeks, reaching even more sites, as well as the usual corrections one way or another as the results are examined and judged.
There are Winners from this update – mainly people who focused on real Quality in their links and content. So far, none of my sites have seen any big changes in their rankings – knock on wood – but this isn’t over. Often in these times some of the good are affected along with the bad, so a little nervousness isn’t out of order.
What does this all mean? It means that spamming links and weak content, no matter how well you dress it up, won’t be a shortcut to rankings anymore. Ultimately this is a positive sign for those who do the work and stay on the right side of the SEO line. Yes, sometimes the Good do win.
STAY TUNED – In the next post we’ll give you some precise practices you should follow in order to keep in line with this important Update and move up in the rankings.
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