Algorithm Rolled Out: February 2017

Algorithm Summary: Overall Gist 

We’re at it again! For those who haven’t noticed, online marketers’ visibility figures have been rough in recent weeks, peaking at the end of last week (CW 6/2017). Much speculation has been that the issue is Google’s “mobile-first” index rollout. According to one popular theory, pages that use interstitials when loaded on mobile devices have been degraded. However, when we examine the most affected pages, we notice a clear pattern: to prepare the room for the Phantom’s return. To be specific, the Google Phantom 5 upgrade.

                                                                                                                                                                          It is the seventh time Google’s Phantom has preyed on unsuspecting online users. What makes us suspicious of Phantom? Simple: Many affected URLs are already known through previous Phantom Updates analysis. These modifications are characterized by longer-term volatility and no bundled losers along industry lines. Visibility for many pages – from iteration to iteration. This rollercoaster ride has left many of you wondering, rightly, “What is Google attempting to do?”

The History of Google Phantom Updates

In previous pieces on this topic, we thoroughly explored the Phantom Update (which Google has never officially confirmed), and it is (to date) four) revisions. For those who want to catch up, here’s a quick rundown:

Have you noticed anything? These updates, initially referred to as “Quality Updates,” appear to have become a semi-annual occurrence. It’s intriguing to see the same familiar individuals among the winners and losers every six months, but none are on a steady upward or downward trajectory; they’re bouncing up and down.

So, are these instances of Google fixing previous errors? This yo-yo effect indicates that the search engine isn’t quite satisfied with the actual effects of the upgrades. The weight of these corrections is borne by domains that, at least for a time, experience what can be catastrophic decreases in Visibility. Google’s rollercoaster ride for brand names and short-tail keywords

Regarding brand and short-head keywords, Google appears to have serious problems determining the importance of vast sites. The parameters for determining quality appear to be altered at regular intervals, implying that the SEO visibility of the impacted domains is prone to significant swings. If this affects keywords significant to them and their traffic, these domains will be less than pleased. On the other side, it makes little sense for many affected companies to bid for brand names other than their own. It may increase overall SEO visibility, but it is unlikely to generate relevant traffic. Google may be seeking to solve this dilemma.

For the time being, we’re strapped in and looking forward to the next chapter of this wild adventure. Only the Phantom is aware! As always, we welcome your feedback, particularly any insights you have on the impact of the Google Phantom 5 update on the real traffic to your page.

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