‘Possum’ is the name of a new update released by Google, last year. It has been nicknamed by the Search Engine Optimization community. Under Google Possum update, some behavioural changes have been noticed in the local search results. Local SEO experts have compiled their observations, listed them and shared with the rest of the world.
Positive Benefits of Google Possum
While Google is showing fewer results for many industries, there are many positive benefits to the algorithm update. Those include:
Fringe-City Ranking Boosts
Businesses located outside of the physical city limits saw a spike in rankings. For example, a business located in the suburb of Des Plaines, Illinois, may now show up for local searches with “Chicago” in the query.
With spammy results removed, businesses who are playing by the rules have a higher chance of showing up in the local results.
Hello User Experience!
User experience has been greatly improved. With user’s trust in the local listings improved, people will interact with them more, making the local listings an even more important driver of traffic and engagement with your brand and website.
In the Possum update, proximity to the searcher’s location has become more important than ever before. This goes to show that Google has been focusing on merging local and organic ranking signals for some time now, which is good news for brick-and-mortar businesses. With the new update, there are new filters in place that reward businesses that are not only physically closest to searchers, but that are also optimizing their location data and content better than others. Here is a look at the some of the specifics of the Possum update:
- Businesses outside of city limits experienced a spike in ranking. In the past, businesses that are outside of physical city limits have an extremely difficult time ranking for any keywords that include the name of the city. Thanks to the Possum update, this is no longer the case. Many businesses that are outside of city limits have noticed this change in ranking over the last month or so, and they have Possum to thank.
- Google has added filters based on address and affiliation. This pertains to business owners with multiple practitioners or partners under one roof (so a chiropractor or doctor’s office, or law firm, for example). So, if one of your businesses or partners is the same as another listing in the same category, and it leads back to the same website, it will probably be filtered out. This should come as no surprise, as Google often filters duplicate content organically. This isn’t to penalize anyone, it is simply picking the “best” and most relevant listing and filters out any others that are too similar. This is something to keep an eye on, as we are unsure how exactly it will play out at this point.
- There is more importance placed on the physical location of the searcher. With the new update, it is more important than ever that the searcher location is set to the right city when tracking ranking and SEO. There are various tools to help you do this
- Search results will vary based on any variations of the keyword in question. The way in which a particular keyword is searched causes changes in search results and ranking. For example, if you typed “Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyer” or “Personal Injury Lawyer Oklahoma” or “Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney”, you will likely get different results. Ever since Possum, we are seeing more fluctuation between very similar keywords and the order in which they are typed.
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