Have Your Traffic And Rankings Changed in May?
You won’t want to hear this. But it’s important to know if your site has suffered traffic (and ranking) changes from a quality-related core algorithm update from Google. Dated roughly 3 May, there are reports of sites impacted both positively and negatively.
These last 8 weeks has seen many webmasters working hard to meet mobile search requirements in the run by to Google’s mobile update. Less than 2 weeks on from Mobileggedon it appears Google has implemented a silent update dubbed “Phantom 2” by the web community. Reports just in suggest this update has broadly impacted organic search results. It is unrelated to Panda or Penguin.
So what’s it all about? All we know officially at this stage is it’s related to Google’s quality signals and is a core update to the main search algorithm. Further analysis in the coming weeks should provide more specifics. All Google has confirmed is it’s changing the way quality is assessed. There are some suggestions any sites providing factual information found elsewhere (i.e. how to information) are susceptible to Phantom 2 and future updates. Increasingly this information is found in the knowledge graph. When a searcher types a query into the search box, the most prominent result is information from Google itself.
It’s likely some of you reading this will have lost traffic. But I know there are winners too. You need to grasp Google has moved to silent updates. Phantom 2 as the name suggests is the second such update in 2 years. The Mobile update in April was the exception that proves the rule. It’s also important to point out that while Mobilegeddon evaluates sites on a page by page basis it appears Phantom 2 is a domain-level change.
I advise you now to assess your current rankings and traffic, looking for gains and losses. Obviously focus more on your money keyword/phrase. I also strongly suggest no knee jerk reaction until such times we have a better understanding of that’s going on. It’s also an opportunity to re familiarise yourself with Google’s Quality Guidelines published a few years back.
If you have suffered a loss in traffic it’s a good idea to implement your fall back plan. By that I mean bolster your social marketing, especially if you rely on your website to generate leads from organic search. Facebook advertising can be useful. I’d also suggest keeping any current Adwords’ campaigns in place. The extent you’ll have to compensate won’t be obvious until you look at your analytics.