Usually I only write my articles in German because my English is bad. But anyway – this is not a piece of literature but a small piece of the seo-puzzle „Google Phantom Update (2)“. In short: From my point of view the mysterious Phantom-Update is an „user intention update„. That means: no decreasing site has failed. All these sites are as well as before. They might be better than the first results, but … Google has changed that part of the algorithm that decides about the user intention. It’s not an update of the site-specif ranking factors – it’s about the quality of the Search engine result page itself.
One best result! No, many …
Google wants to show the best result on position one. But: what is the best result? Some people prefer simple written texts – other want it more sophisticated. Some like pictures and graphics – others not. Some people want helpful articles to find solutions – others are looking for concrete products.
Especially for short-term searches (one or two keywords) it’s hard to differentiate the user intention. Basically, there are many „best results“, which can be completely different – depending on what the user is looking for. If your site has lost – ask yourself: is your site really better than the results on the first rankings? Or is it just a point of view?
Google has adapted the order of the results in the ranking. In the Google Image search I observed this for many years: the „right mix“ is important for the „best user experience“. In other words: the ranking-page at all is more important than a single result.
This mixture, you could also say: the quality of the Google rankings per se, is a kind of meta-level in Seo. It is completely independent of specific page signals. It’s a real „search engine optimization„.
Phantom-update is a “transactional-update”
The reason why so many adviser-sites lost and „brand shops“ won, is (in my opinion) that Google measures increasing „transactional searches“ (those where users searching for concrete offers) while „informational searches“ (those where user just want informations) decrease.
Only certain keyword groups affected
From this point of view it is logical that there are only certain keyword groups affected by phantom update. Precisely those in which the line between „transactual“ and „informational“ is flowing. If the user intention ist not precise Google now prefers websites with concrete offers, and not general advice- or how-to-websites.
All the advice pages, that lost their first places, still do a good job. If Google has changed the algo that the first results are locked for sites with concrete offers you have no chance. Often these are big Brands.
I would name the Phantom update as the „User-intention-update“.
This is a Translation of my german article.
See also (incl. the comments) …
- What You Need to Know About Google’s Recent ‚Phantom‘ Update (by Entrepreneur)
- Phantom 2 – Analyzing The Google Update That Started On April 29, 2015 (by Glann Gabe)
- The Quality Update: Google Confirms Changing How Quality Is Assessed, Resulting In Rankings Shake-Up (searchengineland, by Barry Schwartz)
- Google “Phantom” Update Rolling Out Targeting Informational, ‘How-To’ Content (searchEngineJournal, by Matt Southern)