Google's Phantom Update Affects How-To Sites

by nmwf
35 replies
How exactly, I'm not sure. But since this one specifically target's "how-to" content, I expect a drop in these types of writing assignments.

Via NBC: Google's 'Phantom' Algorithm Update Hits Websites - NBC News
#affects #google #howto #phantom #sites #update
  • Profile picture of the author Marked09
    Most likely the pages that where affected are mini-site that has "how-to" articles only answering one specific question only. If you have a good articles that provides a lot of value even if it's a how-to guide then you don't have to worry about it.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10067299].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
      Did you even read the article the OP referenced???

      Originally Posted by Marked09 View Post

      Most likely the pages that where affected are mini-site that has "how-to" articles only answering one specific question only. If you have a good articles that provides a lot of value even if it's a how-to guide then you don't have to worry about it.
      NOT!

      Hub Pages reported a 22% decrease on May 3rd, and the CEO sounds more than a little frustrated at the impact the Phantom Update is having on his business. Hub Pages is far from being a "mini-site".
      Signature

      Sid Hale
      Coming Soon... Rapid Action Profits (Pro)

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10067352].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
        Banned
        [DELETED]
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10067822].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author nmwf
          Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

          This update really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, especially when considering the goal Google has always had in terms of keeping people on their search pages rather than clicking off to a site they found in the results.
          Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

          In other words, Google is beginning to cut out the "Middleman" as it were - providing the information directly, thus keeping the visitor on Google pages looking at Google ads. It actually makes a certain amount of sense, at least from a business perspective for Google.
          Bingo. Add in the fact that Google is obsessed with appeasing the "growing number of" mobile users in addition to now strongly encouraging app developers to participate in app indexing, and you've got yourself a nice view of what Google's turning into.

          Starts with Face and ends with Book!
          Signature
          Write comprehensible articles on *any* topic in seconds with First Draft...
          First Draft's: Download | Add-Ons | Templates | Purchase | Support | Affiliates
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10067909].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author shmeeko69
            For all of the updates from the egotistical Google programming team including the latest one in a long list, why do you still get more than one entry from the same domain address for certain product review pages on page one of Google?

            This was another thing in a previous algorithmic update that was supposed to happen and HASN'T!
            Signature
            The Rock n Roll of Marketing Reviews
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10067944].message }}
            • Profile picture of the author agmccall
              lots of WSO's came out about Squidoo, then marketers spammed the hell out of it, then google slammed it.

              What about article directories. Load them with crap to get the link, and wham, update. Your links are now worthless.

              Same with Hubpages, Marketers are using it specifically for creating links. Which, in most cases, means thin crappy content on hubpages. So, what do you think would happen.

              We, the users are causing most of these updates. "Someone uses a site with some success, creates a product telling the rest of the world how to use it, spammers from all over the world grab the cows teet and tries to squeeze every last drop of milk from it.

              This should be no surprise at all, as well as any future algo's that are going to shut down spam central sites.

              al
              Signature

              "The problem with the rat race is that even if you win you're still a rat." ~Lilly Tomlin~

              {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10068064].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author talfighel
        Originally Posted by Sid Hale View Post

        Hub Pages reported a 22% decrease on May 3rd, and the CEOsounds more than a little frustrated at the impact the Phantom Update is having on his business. Hub Pages is far from being a "mini-site".
        That's why you can never rely on the search engines for traffic. They change all the time and you have to adopt.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10068239].message }}
        • Originally Posted by talfighel View Post

          That's why you can never rely on the search engines for traffic. They change all the time and you have to adopt.
          That's why people promote black hat tactics. Every site is obviously at risk at getting burned. Just make a good site and manage it and use all sources of traffic.
          Signature

          I would have invented Google and Microsoft if I was born earlier.

          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10068910].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Tom Addams
    This won't impact quality sites. Pretty much the same thing - in different forms - has been happening for years. (EZA, anyone?) You can game G, certainly, but not in the long-term. And in that long-term, the real secret to successful SEO? Doing what Google wants: delivering a quality user experience. Like most marketers, I didn't always believe that, but if two decades has taught me anything at all, it's this: respect your audience and Google will respect you.

    Tom
    Signature

    I Coach: Learn More | My Latest WF Thread: Dead Domains/ Passive Traffic

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10068061].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Synnuh
    I was just thinking about HubPages the other day, wondering if they ever bounced back from the beating they took a few years ago. Guess so. Then they got hit again.

    I'd find a new business model. I personally dumped 400+ articles on that site back in the day.

    As far as Google keeping visitors on their site longer, it's BS. They do it for quite a few queries now, and then throw our sites out of the index for scraping and spamming. G just does it better, that's all. ;/
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10068253].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author charity4Uall
    These Google updates REALLY freak me out!

    Just when you are getting comfortable with where your stuff is ranking, the newest update comes out and wreaks havoc. At least it seems to do so with mine.

    I remember the Panda/Penguin update from a few things ago causing my high ranking blog to fall through the floor for a couple months before it began to regain steam again.

    If this newest update is anything like that one was then were all in for a rude awakening.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10068399].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author san2hnl
      Originally Posted by charity4Uall View Post

      These Google updates REALLY freak me out!

      Just when you are getting comfortable with where your stuff is ranking, the newest update comes out and wreaks havoc. At least it seems to do so with mine.

      I remember the Panda/Penguin update from a few things ago causing my high ranking blog to fall through the floor for a couple months before it began to regain steam again.

      If this newest update is anything like that one was then were all in for a rude awakening.
      And that's precisely why it's no longer worth it to focus on search engine traffic. It's much more beneficial in the long run to build up other traffic sources.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10068877].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author kk075
    You have to realize what HubPages really is in the first place though-

    1) They have zero quality standards...almost anyone can write for them.
    2) They focus on local niches and sub/niches, which means lots of similar content to artificially rank.
    3) Content can be about anything and in any niche....just like ComLuv, Ezine and the others who recently got obliterated.
    4) They have tens of thousands of writers with their own agendas.
    5) A lot of their content has become highly promotional.
    6) Google said two years ago that ALL SITES meeting those criteria would get spanked.

    So is this a shocker by any stretch of the imagination? No. It's simply good Internet police work getting spammy content off of the first page of Google. HubPages is just another form of guest blogging where standards or content types don't necessarily matter, and punishing them and sites like them is a very good thing for everyone.

    And if you look a little closer, sites like SearchEngineLand took hits as well...which is another community of guest bloggers promoting their own agendas. Did Hubspot get hammered though? Did Moz? Did the Content Standard? Nope, because they focus on quality over quantity.

    So as long as you're putting out solid content, this update can only help you as some of the long-standing trash sites begin to drop out of virtually every category there is. And from a marketing standpoint, that is a very, very good thing.
    Signature

    Learn to sell like a pro through Web Synergy's marketing blog.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10068936].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author SnackMemory
    I noticed a long term 20% boost in traffic or so around the start of this month after a while of inactivity on my site. However I did get a couple good back links from some new's type sites and bloggers.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10068945].message }}
  • I feel like anything that dominates is going to get burned. Their is no reason for one company to dominate another companies business. If I owned google, I wouldn't mind burning some traffic from bigger sites.

    Google is all about web development and web development is all about diversity. The internet is a platform of creativity. The internet favors developers not marketers. It's the fundamental principles of it's creation.

    Marketers favor working around an algorithm they can never beat but can always game. The way I see it is so long as you're not spamming the internet like marketers did 8 years ago, playing the game is a-okay!
    Signature

    I would have invented Google and Microsoft if I was born earlier.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10069795].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author goneill
    This post about the "Phantom Update" spiked my interest as I suffered from the previous Panda/Penguin
    changes.

    My site was originally floating between 1 - 5 on page 1 for my keyword, unfortunately I was unable to take any action due to the fact I was based in China. After 12 months I arrived back in the UK my site was down to page 15?.

    So I then like a lot of other people looked for solutions such as backlinks, SEO, PBN etc. I did a lot of reading around the Panda/Penguin problem, but I never got around to implementing any changes. So my site is still in the same state it was 3 years ago. Yet my site is now back on page 1 between 1-3 and has been for the last 9 months.

    The reason I posted this info, is that it led me to question all this SEO stuff, backlinks etc

    PS
    The competition is aprox 115,000 for the keyword
    Signature

    George ONeill

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10075281].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author tshobie
    I must be one of the last remaining internet users that never uses Google to search. I never "Google it". I use Yahoo or Bing, usually Yahoo.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10075362].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author nmwf
      Originally Posted by tshobie View Post

      I must be one of the last remaining internet users that never uses Google to search. I never "Google it". I use Yahoo or Bing, usually Yahoo.
      You're not alone! LoL

      I use a lot of different search engines, mostly out of curiosity. But one thing I've noticed is that sooner or later, Yahoo and Bing do what Google does. So my approach is to apply Google's recommendations to whatever I'm doing regardless of where it'll be found.

      Then again, it's not like Google is telling anyone to strip naked in church. The stuff it requires, in fact, is stuff everyone should be doing anyway. Why anyone would actively resist some of the things they want is beyond me!
      Signature
      Write comprehensible articles on *any* topic in seconds with First Draft...
      First Draft's: Download | Add-Ons | Templates | Purchase | Support | Affiliates
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10075366].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author alberttee
    Thank for the info^^
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10075363].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Dayne Dylan
    Banned
    That's why I don't even play the SEO game any longer. If I get ranked, it's just icing on the cake. But to rely on it is just insane.
    Signature
    Create and Differentiate. Illuminate Your Buyers Need or Wants. Grow Rich.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10075377].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author artinsoft
      Originally Posted by Dayne Dylan View Post

      That's why I don't even play the SEO game any longer. If I get ranked, it's just icing on the cake. But to rely on it is just insane.
      YES, I´m completely with you! I stoped overdoing SEO and it worked much better than spending 30 minutes optimzing a post. Good content, decent SEO and that´s it!

      Considering the amount of websites, it´s a pretty big goal to get on first page of G*

      I think only Newbies would go that and believe they´ll get generic traffic!
      Signature
      I am the automation guy, my goal is to make things as easy as possible! Set Once - Earn Forever.

      Affiliates go here. 75% commission (Up to $108 per sale)
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10075963].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author TOMPA
        Hi, I'm wondering how all the quality content and user experience demands by Google play out on Landing Pages , Sales Funnels etc...let's say I have a well crafted landing Page with Video and copy and Salesfunnel for a single product- would the site get ignored by Google for not having HUGE Content on X amount of related Topics?? Does Google bash Salespages because they want to sell something and not have diverse content? What are your views on this??
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10076009].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Texjd
    I started noticing that Google itself started providing information on many queries. This is a pretty good deal for users who are looking for a brief but meaningful answer. And you'll notice that most answers fit a mobile device very well.

    Heck, look at their current commercials, They are not just cutting out the middleman, they are eliminating the need to go to any website. But this trend might bite them in the backsides since who's going to click on an advertisement if they already get the answer direct from Google.

    According to comScore the number of mobile users surpassed desktops and laptops users in 2014. Google (and others too) ads don't work so well in the mobile format due to lack of space and format. This is an issue for everyone doing Internet Marketing direct or as an affiliate.

    Google is searching for an answer just like the rest of us on mobile users.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10075604].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author nmwf
      Originally Posted by Texjd View Post

      I started noticing that Google itself started providing information on many queries. This is a pretty good deal for users who are looking for a brief but meaningful answer. And you'll notice that most answers fit a mobile device very well.
      You know, that thing is starting to concern me...

      So much so, that as I sit here stuck with another bout of sleeplessness, I wonder what would happen if webmasters around the world revolted.

      What would happen if they (we) protested that knowledge-index-thingy by blocking our sites from the Googlebot for a whole day or week. Could such a thing ever happen? I'm telling you -- That would make the news so quick, Google wouldn't know what to do. LOLOL

      (sorry - I'm delirious from a lack of sleep)

      Honestly, I can't see anything like that happening. Too much money at stake for some folks.

      But Boy!

      Just picture it.

      If we stuck to our guns, we'd get our search engine back. (Or at least prevent it from going away)!
      Signature
      Write comprehensible articles on *any* topic in seconds with First Draft...
      First Draft's: Download | Add-Ons | Templates | Purchase | Support | Affiliates
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10075619].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Joel Young
        Originally Posted by nmwf View Post

        ...I wonder what would happen if webmasters around the world revolted.

        What would happen if they (we) protested that knowledge-index-thingy by blocking our sites from the Googlebot for a whole day or week. Could such a thing ever happen? I'm telling you -- That would make the news so quick, Google wouldn't know what to do. LOLOL

        ...If we stuck to our guns, we'd get our search engine back. (Or at least prevent it from going away)!
        Looks good on paper. Right along the lines of everyone refusing to fight in a war that the governments declare. ...not gonna happen.
        Signature
        Resources, Tools and Strategies for Your Online Presence
        Website Design & Development - Document Management - Marketing Strategies - Personal Development
        CBI Web Services
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10075784].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Houlian
    I had one site hit by, I believe, this update. Except impressions in webmaster tools for it started going down around April 28th/29th. I read on searchengineland or somewhere similar that many sites that were hit reported traffic dropping around these same dates, as opposed to May3rd or 4th when the update supposedly was released. Anyone else?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10076377].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Michael S M
    Always interesting to see how people panic after each Google update. It's like setting fire to an ant hill and watching the poor guys run around with no sense of direction - whatsoever

    Anyway, does anybody know if ehow's been affected much? They usually don't have much content in their how-to's.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10076411].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    Hey guys... this wasn't targeting any site in particular, this isn't a filter, therefore this has nothing to do with penalizing low quality sites at all.

    It's a core algorithm change, meaning before any filters, which impact the way Google detects quality.

    Think LSI but instead of an on page metric it is used off page for co-citations and co-occurrence. It's impacting backlinks, since you're technically getting "backlink" credit for nonbacklinks lol, and true backlinks aren't judge by authority or "juice" it passes as much anymore as it is the context and common occurrence of phrases and descriptions, hence, the rising power of co-occurrence in SEO.

    Nothing to do with hitting, slapping or penalizing sites. Also has nothing to do with the mobile update.

    How-to sites really aren't effected overall.... most how to sites are doing just fine. Hubpages, they should be used to the game now.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10076456].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author nmwf
      Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

      Hey guys... this wasn't targeting any site in particular, this isn't a filter, therefore this has nothing to do with penalizing low quality sites at all.

      It's a core algorithm change, meaning before any filters, which impact the way Google detects quality.

      Think LSI but instead of an on page metric it is used off page for co-citations and co-occurrence. It's impacting backlinks, since you're technically getting "backlink" credit for nonbacklinks lol, and true backlinks aren't judge by authority or "juice" it passes as much anymore as it is the context and common occurrence of phrases and descriptions, hence, the rising power of co-occurrence in SEO.

      Nothing to do with hitting, slapping or penalizing sites. Also has nothing to do with the mobile update.
      I take it you didn't read the article?
      Signature
      Write comprehensible articles on *any* topic in seconds with First Draft...
      First Draft's: Download | Add-Ons | Templates | Purchase | Support | Affiliates
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10076458].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
        Originally Posted by nmwf View Post

        I take it you didn't read the article?
        Yeah like a week ago, along with countless other articles that really add no benefit to anyone trying to figure things out.

        I take it you didn't hear Google's official statement about this being a core algorithm change on how they detect quality signals?

        FYI: The ONLY thing in that article that even suggested how to sites being effected by anything, is completely unrelated to the quality update that happened. They're talking about how to sites being effected by Google's Knowledge Graph, not exactly anything new.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10076462].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author nmwf
          Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

          I take it you didn't hear Google's official statement about this being a core algorithm change on how they detect quality signals?
          Yes, I read about that. But I interpreted it as nothing more than a blanket statement about things they don't want the public to know.

          Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

          FYI: The ONLY thing in that article that even suggested how to sites being effected by anything, is completely unrelated to the quality update that happened. They're talking about how to sites being effected by Google's Knowledge Graph, not exactly anything new.
          From the article, the specific sites that were indeed targeted include:

          "According to Searchmetrics, which tracks search traffic, there was a clear pattern of a decline in visibility for certain HOW-TO SITES, mostly pertaining to those with "thin content," or lacking much VALUE. HubPages and eHow, owned by Demand Media, are two sites that Searchmetrics identified. WikiHow and Answers.com also saw drops, although not as severe."

          You can't claim this update has nothing to do with quality or claim it's exclusively about the Knowledge Graph when the update indicates how-to content is not quality content, but instead:

          "Any site that's providing factual information that can be found elsewhere and that Google will deem as public knowledge is susceptible..."

          I don't understand your position.
          Signature
          Write comprehensible articles on *any* topic in seconds with First Draft...
          First Draft's: Download | Add-Ons | Templates | Purchase | Support | Affiliates
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10076481].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
            Originally Posted by nmwf View Post

            Yes, I read about that. But I interpreted it as nothing more than a blanket statement about things they don't want the public to know.



            From the article, the specific sites that were indeed targeted include:

            "According to Searchmetrics, which tracks search traffic, there was a clear pattern of a decline in visibility for certain HOW-TO SITES, mostly pertaining to those with "thin content," or lacking much VALUE. HubPages and eHow, owned by Demand Media, are two sites that Searchmetrics identified. WikiHow and Answers.com also saw drops, although not as severe."

            You can't claim this update has nothing to do with quality or claim it's exclusively about the Knowledge Graph when the update indicates how-to content is not quality content, but instead:

            "Any site that's providing factual information that can be found elsewhere and that Google will deem as public knowledge is susceptible..."

            I don't understand your position.
            Hubpages is not a how to website.

            I never said this update has nothing to do with quality, in fact, I said:

            It's a core algorithm change, meaning before any filters, which impact the way Google detects quality.
            The article talking about how to websites was in reference to the knowledge graph, nothing else.

            It is NOT A PENALTY. There's a difference between being penalized and just not ranking as high due to an algorithm change.

            This thread is a perfect example of the confusion caused for those getting into SEO. People misconstrue statements and take it as fact without doing their own testing.

            I know of 3 niche sites that have nothing to do with how-to stuff... they didn't have a 22% decline, they had a 40-50% decline in organic traffic. Does that mean if I publish an article stating that this niche was targeted by the algorithm change, that it's true? No...

            Correlation is not causation. That's one of the first things people should be understanding if they're involved in SEO, period.
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10076671].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author BradCarroll
      Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

      Hubpages, they should be used to the game now.
      Exactly...and in my opinion they got off easy with their 22%.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10098500].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Synnuh
    If this does target how-to sites, it's about damn time. It goes to show how far Google is behind the times.

    eHow, WikiHow and the other "How" junk sites have been an issue for the last 3+ years.

    About time, G.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10076485].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jameswilliam724
    Google phantom update more similar like what panda was exactly does. This update impacted many websites like HOW TO content websites like hubpages, answers.com,ehow and wikihow etc., Link issues seems to be the main factor for this update. It penalize websites with low quality,thin contents websites, also penalize sites with too many ads, stacked videos, pop ups, pages difficult to navigate.
    Signature

    Know about HTML 6 here - 10 best features of HTML 6 over HTML 5

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10096919].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author multiplecloud
    It's really not make sense to drop how-to type
    Signature

    SafePBN - PBN on different shared hosting company
    █ 100% no bad neighborhood | host pbn at safest
    MultipleCloud - Multiple location hosting provider
    █ 200+ worldwide location | different server | different ip owner | best for pbn

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10098952].message }}

Trending Topics