Phantom update in Google?

On February 7, 2017, something significant happened with search engine results across our sites. SEO Roundtable is reporting this to be a Phantom update from Google. Phantom updates mean Google does not “officially” report an algorithm update, but you can see large changes in your search engine results.

Diving into our sites, we saw the largest increases in Page 2 keywords and higher.

Examples of Phantom Update

Our keyword rankings on Page 2 jumped significantly with numbers like 12, 11, & 8.
Google Phantom Update










While our clients’ Page 2 keywords also increased dramatically:

Google Phantom Update Client Example









SEO Content

This Phantom Update is believed to be more like Panda (content driven) than Penguin (backlink driven).   If that’s true, it explains why our sites jumped significantly in search engine rankings.  We work hard to ensure our hotel website content is fresh and unique.  In addition, we take our time choosing appropriate topics for our client, as well as making sure they are of importance to our site visitors.  We know this takes time in addition to the proper keyword research in order to make the climb to the first page of Google.

Older Phantom Updates

There have been older Phantom Updates including this one:

The Quality Update — May 3, 2015

After multiple reports of ranking changes, originally dubbed “Phantom 2”, Google acknowledged a core algorithm change which impacted “quality signals”.  This update seems to have had a broad impact, but Google didn’t share any specifics about the signals which changed in this update.

“Phantom” — May 9, 2013

Around May 9th, there were multiple reports of an algorithm update (also unverified by Google).  Many sites reported significant traffic loss, but no signals or mention of the update from anyone over at Google.


Take a look at your own search engine rankings and see if there have been any dramatic increases on February 7th.  We’d love to hear from you.