All You Need to Know About Google Possum Update

  • December 17, 2016
  • Nirlep Patel
  • 3 min read

“Possum” is an unconfirmed but documented update that seemed to impact Google’s local pack and local finder results. Because the update was never officially confirmed by Google. Did your business experience a downfall in local search results lately? If yes, it might be filtered distinctively by Google’s algorithm change, named, Possum Update. Few local businesses fall prey to Possum and played dead in search results, while others got a boost.”

What is Possum update all about?

Implemented in 2016, the update enormously affected local search. Since only local search results are affected by Possum, it might not impact your website’s SEO if you want to rank for your target keywords irrespective of the location.  Studies stated that Google’s Possum update changed 64% of local SERPs.  This is how the percentage has been segregated:

  • Nearly 9 percent of the keywords indicated businesses popping into the Local Finder when they weren’t visible earlier.

  • About 11 percent of the keyword indicated the businesses witnessed an increase in position by 3 or more positions.

  • While 15 percent of keywords revealed that business has augmented in position by one or two positions.

  • 35 percent of the keywords displayed no change in the business position.

  • 14 percent of the keywords revealed a decrease in business by more than 3 positions.

For instance, A doctor’s hospital or clinic is the best example. Inside a hospital, there might be 6-8 doctors with several specialties or in one co-working space having multiple business owners,  Each one of them might possess their own website, blog, and SEO strategy, and all may be intended or point the same physical location where they operate. Google doesn’t want to show all of them for one location, Rather than listing all these doctors in the 3-pack, Google limits the listing to one. In short, Google values users’ motives. In case a customer doesn’t want to visit one office space, why must the results get congested by multiple professionals from the building? This particular update offers multiple options for searchers to pick from.

It seems like a penalty for Doctors (Who work in Hospitals) and the smaller company who working on co-working space.

Possum and SEO: The Connection

Here’s what has been discovered.

Business rankings made easy

A sort of distress was marked among local SEO professionals who faced some difficulty in ranking clients for a particular city if their business address belonged outside city limits. Cheers to Possum, that changed it all! Because the Possum algorithm takes proximity tests help to decide if the business is proficient to rank.

Filteration based on address

Previously, Google refined paired entries like one based on a phone number or domain name. Today, things are a step ahead with Possum as it filters them on the basis of the physical address of the listing.

Note: Other listings are not removed entirely, they’re just positioned down in the rankings.

It’s all about location

With Possum update local search results rely more on the searcher’s location.

Why there’s a boost in location requirements?   Just one word: mobile. Google is trying each possible way to enhance the user experience for the mobile community. And the location-oriented piece of the update goes parallel with the strategy.

Keyword sensitive

Possum also affects how you test your local SEO efforts. With Possum, even a petite change in keywords may lead to generating different results.

Not much concerned about the organic filter

Before the advent of Possum, few local listings weren’t visible in the results as they linked to a site that was refined in the organic results. However, that’s not the case anymore. Google’s response was quite fruitful. Today, the local search filter functions solitarily of the organic search filter.

Conclusion: Google was secretive about the Possum update throughout and there are predictions being made about the changes in progress. Expect more changes in the future. For time being, SEOs need to realize how Possum may impact their local marketing efforts.

Nirlep Patel
I am an internet entrepreneur and also the Co-Founder of GBIM Technologies, India’s fastest growing internet marketing company. My forte lies in actively lending technical expertise in Search Engine Optimisation, SEM Google AdWords, SMM. Spanning about 14 years of focus on Digital Marketing, GBIM today has become one of the greatest digital marketing company. This could have been possible only because of the trust which our clients have on us, and the quality services we have delivered to them I have always believed that more is lost from indecision than wrong decisions and as a result, we have managed to create an environment where people are encouraged to challenge process and innovate. This culture has cultivated a highly motivated team with an open approach where anyone can share their thoughts and ideas freely.
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