In May, NBC reported that the new update of Phantom was launched in Google search, its main target is websites that having content with “how-to” style. One of the victims of this update is HubPage, a website who has a collection of over 870,000 miniblogs with informational content of huge range of topics, found its traffic from Google search decreases for about 22% in early May. Other websites having the same effect are eHow, WikiHow and Answers.com.

Name Phantom was given to this Google’s algorithm from Glenn Gabe, a G-Squared Interactive staff in New Jersey. Phantom was given as the of this Google’s algorithm because no one saw this update coming and Google, at the time, didn’t know about its algorithm. After analyzing data since the algorithm was launched, Gabe surely said that this algorithm update is not associated with Penguin or Panda algorithm. Even though, the same thin contents that were targeted by Panda algorithm are also being target of new Phantom update. Making when there is an algorithm update on domain level or ranking change, this can impact the whole site. Pages that were supposed to rank well are also affected from this update.

Furthermore, Gabe shares that click bait articles, pages that having too much videos, pages that are difficult to navigate and sites with abundance supplementary information, all of them having lost visibility since the update was launched. New update of Phantom algorithm reported having no mercy on giving penalty to its victim by punishing the entire domain of sites that have thin content. Before this new algorithm update was launched, Google didn’t officially announce the update, only one of the members of Google’s Webmaster Trends Team, Gary Illes, said that there will be a change related to a part of a core algorithm update, while speaking at SMX Sydney in May.

With Google’s Knowledge Graph as well known tool to minimize traffic from sites for “how-to” searches, plus new update of Phantom algorithm, makes content publishers are having huge challenge to survive facing this situation. Even Glenn Gabe admitted that he, who analyzes search data as his job, cannot predict the future of business. Because the sudden change of Google’s algorithm like the new update of Phantom.

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