The word around the web is that a low-key Google Search update nicknamed ‘Phantom‘ has rolled out. It targets websites that provide low value tutorials and bulk quantities of how-to content. The impact should reduce the prominence of sites like eHow and Answers.com. They often clog up the top of any search results when users ask Google for simple help and advice. This change is an opportunity for those with genuine value to offer.
For example, searching “how to change a light switch” now shows reputable brands and firms at the top. It is possible that any local or more focused searches for similar terms could easily allow local businesses to gain positions and become more relevant, rather than being left at the mercy of American content farms. Many of these content farm articles were not country specific, lacked potentially vital health and safety information, or were inappropriate for a large number of readers.
A good collection of tutorial videos or a range of fact-based posts on a site or blog are useful ways to generate traffic and leads. Now the playing field has been somewhat levelled, this content becomes even more valuable, allowing those with such content to gain a higher profile. It might also encourage businesses who didn’t want to compete with these content farms to get in on the act, as long as their content doesn’t fall foul of Google’s new set of rules. This is quite hard, when it is impossible for those outside Google to know exactly what the rules are. Hopefully, there will be some clear guidance from the search company soon.
As home, car and office technology moves into the smart era, many owners will be tempted to upgrade their fixtures and fittings, resulting in the usual crop of DIY disasters. A strong local campaign and practical information could improve search presence and business across a range of local and national trades.
Expect further fine-tuning of these Google upgrades and other weak areas of search in the near future. Be prepared to guide your clients on how to take advantage of the updates, or what to do if affected by them.