What Is The Google Possum Algorithm Update?

 Google Possum Algorithm Update

There has been a new Google algorithm update affecting the Google Maps local search function. This update affects how businesses’ local listings are filtered, the unofficial name ‘Google Possum’ being coined as many businesses thought their listings had disappeared when they have just been filtered differently than before.

These changes further demonstrate the relevance for businesses to focus on local search engine optimisation to build consistent traffic levels.

What does Possum mean for your business?

It is understood that Google’s local pack update had 5 major changes. These are:

1.       Businesses outside of a city limits saw a huge increase in ranking

Before the update, many businesses that were located in the surrounding area of a city, whilst still aiming for custom within the city were ranked lower than city centre located businesses. This was due to Google not seeing them as helpful for searchers in the city, no matter how hard they tried to rank for keywords. However, since the update out skirting businesses have seen a huge spike in rankings due to city limits playing less of a role.

2.       Added address filter

In the past Google’s algorithm filtered profiles that shared things such as phone numbers or website domains, this was to reduce duplicates in the local results as seeing duplicate results for the same company isn’t necessarily useful for searchers.  The update has meant that a business can list twice within the local results (for example if a business has two locations within the same geographic search) which indicates that Google is less concerned with the duplication as previous.

3.       Modified Affiliation filter

Now thanks to Possum, Google allows multiple businesses with the same address to show. Previously it was difficult to rank if you were based in a business centre where there may be many businesses sharing an address, and potentially a switchboard phone number. Google now makes it easier to gain a position in the rankings.

4.       Physical location of user is now more important than ever

Although this has always been important, the user’s location is now more important than ever, this means a business’s profile will rank differently depending on where a user is searching from.

For example, someone searching ‘Ascensor’ whilst in Leeds will see a different result than someone searching from Manchester, the further away you are the more zoomed out the map will be and the more other results may be displayed in the result.

5.       Varying results depending on keyword variation

In the past, variations of keywords would bring up similar results for example if you searched ‘SEO agency Leeds’ this would bring similar results to ‘Leeds SEO Agency’. However, there now seem to be more variations depending on the order of keywords. You may want to test a few keyword orders to see how variations affect where you rank.

 Possum is just one of the recent updates that is having a big effect on the SERP’s, September saw the Penguin 4.0 Google algorithm roll-out – how did this affect your business?

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