Google is trying to improve its search engine all the time. That results in frequent updates from Google in the ranking algorithms. Those algorithm change affects some websites in a negative manner resulting a massive traffic dropdown and can be beneficial for some too.
Most bloggers know about the Google’s recent update The “Mobile Update” which is more popular as the “Mobilegeddon”. This update has rolled out thousands or even millions of websites and blogs which are not mobile friendly in the past. The Mobilegeddon completely changed the ranking algorithms of Google’s Search Engine and after that update, Mobile friendliness of a website was considered as a ranking factor in the search results.
But the story never ends here. Google updated the Mobilegeddon on April 22, 2015, and just after a couple of days, They announced the new update “The Quality Update”. This update doubled the impact of the Mobilegeddon Update and started rolling out websites along with each other. They both performed as a nightmare for website owners and bloggers.
People called this update by different names, like Phantom II, Panda Reverse or The Quality Update. So to remove the confusion I am simply going to use the term “Phantom II”.
After a new update rolled out by Google, Bloggers who were penalized by that specific update look for a method to recover from that penalty. I have previously published an article about Recovering from the Mobilegeddon update and now Phantom II started rolling out, So it is necessary for bloggers to learn how to Prevent or Recover from this update.
What is Phantom II?
So the first thing we have to know is “What Phantom II actually is?” because before trying to prevent or recover you must have to know what is really is. Phantom II is basically a quality filter by Google integrated into its ranking algorithm. This filter penalizes blogs which have Low quality and Duplicate content and are providing an Ad full user experience.
This is not a domain level penalty like the previous ones, It penalizes pages of blogs or websites. But, if your blog’s pages were penalized then this can affect your whole Domain’s ranking indirectly.
Which Blog’s can be penalized by Phantom II?
Nearly every blog with low-quality content and bad user experience can be penalized by Phantom II. But How-to blogs are widely penalized by the Phantom II update because they contain user generated content which may be copied from other blogs or websites.
Sites like eHow and WikiHow have lost 50% & 11% of ranking due to this update respectively. (source: searchmetrics)
Another kind of blogs or websites which are penalized by this update are those who have a lot of above the fold ads. Even big sites are not forgiven in this update. Youtube has lost 6% of ranking after this filter because it has ads above the fold.
How to Prevent from being penalized by Phantom II?
Yeah, I know you all want to know this answer. Nearly every blogger who is serious about his blog want to take some precautions for the prevention of being penalized by Phantom II (The Quality update). So What you have to do?
To prevent your blog from being penalized use these important tips:
1. Never Publish low quality or copied content:
Content is the main flesh of a blog and often said as the King of a blog. The content you publish on your blog determines the growth of your blog. The content on your blog must be unique and interesting. If you are publishing low quality of content on your blog then there are chances of being penalized by this update.
Always try to make useful content that worth’s reading. Don’t make short blog posts (less than 500 words) Try to make detailed and informative blog posts and publish them on your blog.
Must Read: How to Write an Amazing and SEO friendly Blog Post Easily
If you are copying content from another blog or somewhere from the internet, then this is the worst ever penalty for you in 2015. Never copy content from other blog’s. Google have a strict policy about plagiarism and copyright violation. So, beware that if you are doing this, You will definitely penalize.
2. Don’t place ads above the fold:
The Phantom II update focuses blog’s or sites that offer a bad user experience like outdated designs etc. But why I am listing ads above the fold here? Let me explain.
Above the fold ads are a part of bad user experience and it can make your blog being penalized by the Phantom II update. So, if you are monetizing your blog with above the fold ads then remove them immediately and choose a better placement for them.
3. Don’t use pop-ups:
Popups are another example of bad user experience. They irritate the reader and this update is going to be strict for those who are using pop-ups on their blogs. So, If you want to prevent from being penalized then you should immediately remove all the pop-ups from your blog. Otherwise whenever your blog gets penalized it can be hard for you to recover.
4. Don’t add auto-starting videos:
Isn’t it sounds weird? What relation auto-played videos have with this update. Yes! It has a relation. Auto starting videos are much alike the pop-ups that’s why they were being hated by the Google’s ranking algorithm. So I would personally recommend removing the auto-starting videos from your blog If you have some. Or set their playback behavior to manual.
5. Limit the number of comments on your blog:
Yeah! You heard it right. You should have to limit the number of comments on your blog to avoid being penalized by Phantom 2 Quality update. I don’t know why but Google says that a large amount of comments on a blog can dilute the main content.
Also Read: 8 Killer Tactics to Get more Comments on your Blog
Why the Google’s algorithm unable to figure out the content and comments separately? I also don’t know the answer. But one thing which is quite clear that we have to consider these things to prevent our website or blog from Google’s Phantom 2 Update.
How to Recover from Phantom 2 Update?
Other than preventions, What if my blog was penalized by Phantom 2? So, if your blog is penalized by the Phantom 2 Quality filter and you want to recover and get your traffic back. Here is the way to do it:
1. Take a deep survey of your blog:
The first thing to do in case your blog was penalized is to take a deep survey of your blog. Figure out those things your blog was missing and think about why Phantom 2 strikes your blog? Check for any low quality and blacklisted blogs linking back to your blog. Make sure that there is no duplicate content published on your blog and all the published content was helpful for your blog’s readers.
2. Remove thin and duplicate content:
After taking a deep survey, point out the content which you think was duplicated or low quality content. Remove or rewrite posts which contains articles less than 500 words and try to make detailed posts. This will also help you getting more natural backlinks on your blog.
3. Remove all Above the Fold ads:
If you uses above the fold ads on your blog, like mostly bloggers do. You should have to remove all the ads above the fold on your blog and find a better placement for them. Phantom 2 targets blogs which provides a bad user experience and the above the fold ads were considered as an example of bad user experience.
You may also Like: 6 Killer ways to Monetize your Blog and Make money Blogging
So it’s better to change their placements.
4. Change settings for Auto-Play Videos:
If you includes videos in your blog posts, make sure they are not set to auto play. The auto-play videos were considered as a popup by the Phantom 2, So it’s better to change their settings to be played manually.
Those Auto-play videos also affects your blogs readership in a negative manner. So I would personally recommend not to use Auto played videos on your blog.
5. Remove popup windows:
If you are using popup ads or opt ins for your blog. Consider removing them because near to Google, they provide a bad user experience and its better to stay away from those irritating popups.
6. Check for 404 Errors:
If you are using search console then go and check for the 404 Not found errors or the Soft 404 errors. If your blog have a large number of 404 errors than this will affect your blog’s ranking negatively and chances of being penalized by Phantom 2 were high.
Also read: 7 SEO Tactics which can increase your Blog’s Traffic to 300%
So, just go and check for the 404 errors and fix them. After fixing them, mark them as fixed on the errors page in Search Console.
After implementing these tips on your blog, there is no magic happens in a single day. You have to give time and wait for things to work. Give some time to your blog and slowly your blog will start getting its ranking and traffic back to normal.
Google’s ranking algorithms are being changed frequently. So always consider improving your blog as best as you can. Check for the updates from Google in your Search Console account and on different SEO resources too. As this update we are talking about is not announced on Search console. So in cases like that, SEO resource websites can be a better option.
Blogging is just like a roller coaster ride and there are many ups and downs. The fun thing is that you can learn a lot of new things from the downs and implement the new strategies to get some ups in your blogging journey. I like to advice you one thing as a blogger, That “Don’t just consider your blogs a way to make money online, Spend time on your blogs Building them and turning them into something more than a blog”.
Do you think that I’ve missed a point? Which Strategies you are using to prevent your blog’s from being penalized? Share the word with me through comments and I will love to hear something new from you all.
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