Personal Finance Company

Google’s Phantom update robbed our client of organic traffic. We diagnosed the issue and returned the site to its former glory


Our client was a personal finance company that had, historically, been very competitive in search – that is, until an unexpected and dramatic loss of organic traffic left the client’s site impaired seemingly without explanation.

Our initial analysis of this unprecedented traffic drop pointed towards one culprit: Google’s Phantom update, which penalises sites falling short on content quality and user experience.

We knew we’d need to take a systematic and diagnostic approach to this project, aware that a site with proven potential to thrive in organic search is something that should be handled with extreme care.


We started by performing one of our custom Phantom audits, designed to flag the sorts of content and UX-related issues known to hold sites back in organic search.

Our diagnosis: the site was suffering from a site-wide information architecture issue caused by a tangled keyword map. The prescription: an onsite content overhaul to eliminate any duplication of intent, streamlining site content and future-proofing the site against future Phantom updates.

But the key to reliable success is cautious experimentation – so we didn’t go in with guns blazing. We started by working on a single area of the site, before consulting with our client on how to fix the rest.

After that, we re-audited the site to give it a clean bill of health.

That and a 61.7% increase in organic traffic over a period of just 98 days – marking a swift return to pre-update traffic levels.

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