A few days ago we reported that Google had secretly been rolling out a Phantom algorithm that at the time the search engine giant kept under raps, yet thousands of webmasters noted as rankings and traffic fluctuated.
And we finally have some confirmation that the Phantom (as the secretive update was named at the time) was indeed a Google update.
The update was not a web spam focused change, but indeed a general tweaking of the core search quality algorithm.
John Mueller, one of Google’s primary techies (Webmaster Trends Analyst to be precise), said that on the 1st of May there was a major update – which he confirmed in one of his regular Google+ Hangouts with webmasters yesterday.
He said: “Essentially this is something where we are not… calling this anything specific.
“This is essentially just a normal algorithm update that we make all the time, and sometimes that is something that affects more sites and sometimes that is something that affects fewer sites.
“But essentially, we are working on trying to increase the relevance and the quality of the search results, and that is essentially just a normal update that was happening there. Nothing really specific.
“So if you are seeing changes within your sites traffic, impressions that are coming from search, I think that is something where you can work on your website in general and for most cases it is not something where there is any technical issue that you need to focus on and you would see that in Webmaster Tools.
“So if you’d like us to be more visible about these updates, focusing on your site and making it the best it can possible by is always a good strategy.”


Mueller also confirmed that Google are working at speeding up both the Panda and Penguin algorithms, with webmasters citing their frustration that Panda in particular hasn’t been updated in months.
“We are working on updates there,” Mueller said.
“I know it’s frustrating, if you’ve worked a lot on your website already to clean up these issues (poor quality content).
“The same applies to Penguin as well. Where maybe you cleaned up a lot of web spam issues and you are just waiting for things to kind of open up again – that is something we are definitely working on to… update that data again and make it a little bit faster.”

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