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As we mentioned earlier in the year, Google algorithms experienced a change in April, which vastly affected websites that did not have a mobile responsive design. As always, such changes are made to create a more user-friendly experience for all of those who frequent Google to search for their inquiries.

In addition to affecting mobile responsive websites, there were other changes made by Google which had a significant impact on rankings this year, making it essential for the creators of content to be as original and resourceful as possible. Although these changes did not co-occur, they gradually came into play and took many SEO strategies by surprise.

The “Phantom” update truly lives up to its name. Unlike with the mobile responsive algorithm, SEO experts did not receive any kind of warning about the changes that would take place this May. With virtually no time to prepare, rankings for many websites began to drop. This time, Google seemed to hold back on specifying precisely what the change entailed and alluded to its focus on “quality control.”

Although, for a while, there was no exact word from Google on how this update was selecting its ranking method, SEO agency Perth experts were able to deduct that the changes were targeted with an emphasized aim at the quality of content.

Who Does “Phantom” Affect?

  • Among the most affected sites are “how-to’s” and websites that acquire much of their content from other websites (typically through user-generated content).

  • Websites that have too many advertisements, especially pop-ups (distracting users)

  • Poorly designed websites that look cheap or potentially spam-related

  • Poorly maintained websites that bring about errors or malfunctions

  • Sites with weak, unrelated, or shallow content

Phantom’s Goal

The update seeks to weed out duplicated content or not genuinely informative and resourceful for its readers. This places pressure on websites to remain as original as possible and acquire fresh content in order to stay relevant in rankings. In addition, the content cannot be weak or unrelated to the topic it claims to be about. In this way, Google users are guaranteed to find pages and articles that give them thorough and insightful information instead of content that goes around in circles, never really going in-depth with the topic.

Ultimately, Google will bring the articles and pages that will follow through and provide accurate and substantial information. As users, we all know the pain of clicking on a website with a compelling title related to our search needs, only to find that it is simply a lure to bring us to the website. Immediately, the site has no further value to us, and therefore we move on. In order to eliminate this arduous and unnecessary process, the need for “Phantom” is evident from a user standpoint.

Working With It and Not Against It

It is fair to say that Google updates continue to move forward and come as close as possible to reading the minds of the users who are typing in their search queries. The best advice for keeping your content relevant is to embrace the update instead of trying to find ways to cheat your site. Focus more on naturally engaging your target audience instead of focusing on ways to move up the ranking ladder on Google. The more natural your content is, and the more it provides answers for those who need them—the more likely you are to make a decisive move forward on rankings.

It was released hoping to remove spam from the Internet, and it has caused quite a shake-up, for some, since its release. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about Google’s Penguin 3.0 algorithm update, which was recently unveiled.

By cleaning out spam, Google was hoping to provide a better user experience, but unfortunately for some webmasters, this has resulted in a lot of cleanup work. And others have noticed positive results where keywords that never used to rank now rank high. It has been a mixed bag!

This was the sixth release of Penguin, which was first unveiled in April 2012. This update has come almost a year after its last release. Webmasters worldwide were waiting anxiously for this release because, as with any algorithm change, it is hoped that any bad fallout can be minimized. However, Google told Search Engine Land that this update was more of a ‘refresh,’ which meant those who had repaired any issues after the last update could then be released from the blacklist, so to speak. Likewise, those who did not make any changes regarding the previous update were more likely to notice a drop in rankings this time.

Because the previous Penguin updates had struck many people, most people had already done what they could to ensure they weren’t struck again. This meant cleaning up any links that could be deemed spam.

Either way, webmasters are encouraged to keep an eye on their sites for the next few weeks to keep on top of any changes to their rankings. Any sudden drops are likely to be the cause of Penguin 3.0, and as always, it is best to work to get this fixed ASAP. It has been advised to identify all sites that link to yours, and if any would be deemed inappropriate by Google, to get these links removed. Adhering to all of Google’s guidelines and updates will only result in your site’s success. Now and in the future. Doing otherwise really isn’t worth it – you never can be too sure what they will be bringing out next! We will be keeping a close eye on any announcements for future updates.



Google has recently dropped a minor bombshell – they will now favor websites that use HTTPS encryption by boosting their search rankings to encourage all webmasters to follow suit. The move has been made with the hopes of pushing out attackers, scammers, and likes, overall, making the Internet safer and more secure for webmasters and users alike.

In essence, if a website has HTTPS in front of its URL, for example, https://www., it means it has used an SSL – Secure Socket Layer – which relies on certificates to ensure the web browser is encrypted, making it less accessible to hackers and any other security breaches. In simpler terms, it is a safe and secure way of coding a website. It is recommended that any website requiring webmasters and/or users to input passwords, banking details, and other personal details should use HTTPS anyway.

By favoring the websites which do use HTTPS-encrypted websites, Google is encouraging all other webmasters to make the shift. While they are not giving these websites a significant boost currently, they may do so in the future. In a bid to “keep everyone safe on the web,” Google hopes everyone will eventually use HTTPS and is giving webmasters the time to change over and has provided people with tips on how to do this. The tips are simple enough, and it seems the transition would indeed be smooth.

The tips are as follows:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol-relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out our Site Move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the no index robots meta tag.

Of course, to ensure your website does not suffer and lose any traffic, it is probably best to follow Google’s steps and watch them closely. They have also said they will publish more information in the next few weeks to ensure webmasters have a smooth transition. Obviously, it is in every company’s best interest to rank highly in Google, so we will be interested to see how these changes progress over the next few months. We know we will be watching closely; what about you?

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