Two years ago on May 8, 2013, I began receiving emails from webmasters that saw significant drops in Google organic traffic overnight. I’m not talking about small drops… I’m referring to huge drops like 60%+. As more emails came in, and I checked more of the data I have access to across websites, it was apparent that Google had pushed a big update.
I called it the Phantom update, since it initially flew under the radar (which gave it a mysterious feel). Google would not confirm Phantom, but I didn’t really need them to. I had a boatload of data that already confirmed that a massive change occurred. Again, some sites reaching out to me saw a 60%+ decrease in Google organic traffic overnight.
Also, Phantom rolled out while the SEO community was waiting for Penguin 2.0, so all attention was on unnatural links. But, after digging into the Phantom update from 5/8/13, it was clear that it was all about content quality and not links.