A large number of webmasters reported substantial changes in ranking at the start of May, 2015. The rank of some fell, the rank of others rose and the positions of their competitors were also rearranged.  This gave way to speculations whether it was a short-term experiment or a problem with the typical data processing of the search engine.

Google’s Update on Quality Assessment

Many thought that this was the result of a Google Panda refresh but the search engine quickly dispelled the speculations. Immediately after that, Google unofficially acknowledged the existence of the “Phantom Update”.

The new assessment on quality

The new update, which many refer to as “Quality Update”, takes a very different approach from the previous most noteworthy Panda and Penguin updates. It doesn’t focus on eliminating or even penalizing spam. Instead, it introduces a number of other indicators of quality assessment to aid Google in determining how qualitative and authoritative a site truly is.

What are the new factors?

When it comes to explaining how its ranking algorithm works, Google is notoriously secretive. It has even held a firm ground against a number of government authorities from Europe. Most of how the algorithm works is known to us only throws past trial and error experiments conducted by a lot of marketing professionals throughout the world in the course of months.

We do not even know whether Google has added new factors for ranking. The last update might have just adjusted the factors already in place, placing more emphasis on particular factors and reducing the importance of other.

To find out which factors were subjected to changes, it is best to examine the type of websites affected. The problem is that we don’t have the data or it is very inconsistent. While there are many exceptions to the rule, a lot of websites lost ground after the update. In contrast, other websites improved their position, which leaves us with no clear indication into the changes the latest update introduced into the Google’s algorithm.

What can you do about adjusting your strategy?

There is a big chance that this latest update will not affect you if you already haven’t been hit by a sudden drop in rank. What we have learned up till now is that this particular update was introduced as a single style implementation, which is to take effect immediately without the data refreshes and many iterations usually accompanying major Google updates. Having said that, you don’t need to make any additional preparations if your website hasn’t already been affected by Google in any way.

However, it would be best if you regularly audit your existing content strategy so that it complies with what Google deems a high-quality website and make the most out of affordable SEO services. These guidelines are proven and have remained reliable and consistent ever since 2011. It is important to refer to them from time to time as your strategy can sometimes divert from its original intention. The most important things to pay attention to are how semantic your content is, how authoritative and trustworthy your articles are, how good the design and accessibility of your pages are, and the overall experience these convey to your visitors.