The Uncertain World of Google Updates: Why Phantom 2 Has Left Us Uneasy

Posted by Sarah Campagna on Tue, May 19, 2015

A Search Update That's Shaking Things Up from the Shadows


When we heard about Mobilegeddon we prepared our clients, checking their competitors’ mobile compatibility and monitoring traffic closely as the April 21st roll-out date approached. We were especially worried for a couple of our clients who have yet to make the shift to mobile-friendly websites, because the much-publicized Google search algorithm update was supposedly intended to punish non-mobile-friendly sites. But April 21st came and went, and we did not see the shifts in traffic patterns we expected.

However, as the first week in May drew to a close, we became concerned. Almost across the board we saw drops in organic traffic and in the number of linking domains, as well as MOZ rank as reported by our favorite inbound platform, Hubspot. The blogosphere quickly erupted with rumblings about an unreported Google algorithm update completely unrelated to the mobile compatibility update. Glenn Gabe’s blog referred to this April 29th Google algorithm change as “Phantom 2” and since then, many digital marketing experts have conducted research and weighed in on its impact.

Phantom 2 seems to revolve around quality of content. Lauren Holliday’s blog provides an excellent outline of the content crimes that are causing traffic to drop off for some sites; those horrible tag pages (where you arrive only to find a list of links to other pages), click-bait, skeleton content and poor quality user-generated content are all offenders. 

Yet none of these faults apply to our clients. As a B2B Marketing firm working in high-tech industries such as optics, nanotechnology and material sciences, the content on our clients’ sites is of the highest quality: robust, written by experts and available on sites free from outside advertising.

Quality Content: Your Defense Against the Google Ghost

So what does this mean? We hope that the Phantom 2 algorithm just needs time to shake out, that the Google bots are combing through our sites along with others and that the cream will float to the top. Until then, we recommend weekly monitoring of your traffic and a genuine examination of your content quality if you haven’t done so lately. If your content feels below par, it probably is. Focusing on quality over quantity will help you win favor not only with Google, but also with your potential customers.

Especially in high tech industries, having high quality technical content on your website is extremely important. Engineers and other tech-minded customers prefer to do extensive research before ever directly engaging with your company, so provide them with the white papers, case studies and how-to videos they need to make the right choice.

Need a jump-start on your technical content development? Download our Guide to Writing Technical White Papers.

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Topics: Content Development, SEO