Google announced a new algorithm update that negates many of the SEO advantages of the overused phantom tactic of ghost blogging.
In a move that had many SEO folk taking their last gasp, Matt Cutt’s, Google’s spam spokesman, commented, “We’ve seen these manipulative practices going on for far too long, and it’s time we stick a fork in it.” He continued, “the dead have no place in common SEO and they really mix up the relevance of current news, image search and the algorithm as a whole.”
Ghost writing has long been considered an author staple, with many famous writers outsourcing writing to an ever expanding pool of ghost writers. SEO practitioners began leveraging this pool in the latter part of 2012, and it appears Google took note, and took action to prevent the over use of this over-optimization practice.
Many noteworthy SEO luminaries were spooked, with Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land commenting on the apparent death of ghost blogging as being “ironic”.
Danny Goodwin, Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Watch, had more positive things to say about the update: “We had a few contributors to our daily search news who were definitely exhibiting banshee-style over-optimization, and I’m glad that Google is doing something about it so I don’t have to. It’s not as if their articles were eerily good anyway.”
This most recent update is fourth in a series of major updates targeting the netherworld, following on the footsteps of:
- The poltergeist page layout update (8/13) – where random divs moved around the page to attract bots
- The wraith-thin content penalty (1/14) – penalizing transparent text, and
- The ethereal being update (3/14) – that anecdotally caused Windows laptops to vanish into thin air on visiting optimized sites. (This was later found to be an actual Windows 8.1 bug).
EDITORS NOTE: Last May – Search Engine Watch highlighted the Phantom Update, but we feel this was not related to this more recent wave of updates.
Although Google did not give additional details, Bill Slawski of SEO by the Sea did uncover a patent entitled “Systems and methods for detecting hidden text and hidden links,” which Bill determined was a precursor to phantasm experiments and invisible entity detection.
In an unusual outburst, Bing’s Duane Forrester commented on rival Google’s algorithm shift by rotating his head 360 degrees and muttering “Non ego sum, sed mortuus est.”