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Atanu Sarkar
September 23, 2016

Table of content

Are you wondering what’s wrong with your local search rankings on Google? Have you faced tremendous fluctuations in the local search results? It’s all the outcome of the latest Google Algorithm, called Possum.

This local algorithm update of Google has changed the scenario of the businesses on the virtual world and has turned the local search results upside down, making it more relevant and pertinent for the searchers.
For every one of you who are still conflicting with the thought of what Possum is, here is your answer-

Possum is the latest Google Local Search Algorithm that is implemented from 1st of September, 2016 for bringing remarkable change in the local search community.

The name ‘Possum’ was suggested by Phil Rozek as the business owners think that their business listings are gone from the search result however the truth is that it has just been filtered. After Google Pigeon update, 2014, Google Possum update is the largest local SEO update to hit the market.

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What Is The Update?

The update has a great impact on the 3-pack local listings and Local Finder, which includes the Local Results or the Google Map results. The main purpose of the update is to diversify the local results and to prevent the spam pages from ranking. It is aimed to provide more valuable results to local search users.

Being the biggest update in the local SEO arena next to the Google Pigeon update, Possum has brought about revolutionary and significant changes in the local search result landscape.

How The Update Is Impacting The Local Landscape?

The business owners are experiencing tremendous changes in the rankings of their businesses in the local SERPs. The reason behind this being the latest Google local search result update, Possum. Let’s take a look into how it is changing the scenario of the local search results.

1. Businesses That Lies Outside Local Search Boundary Are Getting Ranks

Before the latest update, the businesses that were located outside the periphery of the city were not given much priority. As a result of which, those business, always had low ranks in the local search results. The businesses that were falling outside the limits of the city were facing a very tough time in ranking their business for any keywords.

It is now with the recent change that Google has decided to give the much-required and pending credit to these businesses. The peripheral businesses are now scoring and experiencing brilliant ranking in the local search results. There are many businesses which saw a massive increase in the local ranking- thanks to Possum update.

The overnight and sudden change to the local search result has been great news for the local businesses that lie on the outskirts of the major metropolitan cities or areas and were always longing for a remarkable rank.

2. Physical Location Of The Searcher Is More Important Than Before

Google has made it a point to consider the physical location of the search and show them the relevant local result accordingly. For example, if you are located in Alabama and are looking for a business in Texas, then the search result will be different from that of the result that you can see when you are logged in from Texas itself.

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The 3-pack ranking system of Google remains the same but the names of the businesses that appear on the top 3 results vary according to the physical location of the searcher. However, if you are a business person yourself and are concerned about the search result then it is very essential for you to know that no businesses are removed from Google listing and you can see your business as you zoom in the map.

With the new update you need to understand that as you move farther away from the city or place where you want to search, the more zoomed out the map gets and the more the local listings juggles for the search result. The searcher location has become a very essential factor for showing the result that your search comes up with.

3. Address or Affiliation Matters For Filtering Local Results

Previously the norm followed on Google was that the local search community would often see a local filter applied to the local search that helped the searchers to filter out profiles which had a similar phone number or domain. With the new update many businesses are filtered out due to the similar address shared in various websites.

This has proved to be the best and very effective update for the searchers as they will get to see different business listings for their search rather than seeing the same businesses in the result.

With this update the duplicate listings will be vanished out from the search. The top results are viewed on the result page and other listings can also be viewed by going deeper or zooming in, in the local map results. The idea is to filter out the similar businesses and help the searchers to find more diverse and varied choice as a result for their query. This has been implemented in reality which has dropped different businesses with similar fields from their top positions in the local search result.

However, it is just not the case of the address, even more bizarrely, the businesses with separate address but similar affiliations are getting charted out from the list. These conditions prevent the searchers from experiencing duplicate listings.

4. Search Results Vary On Slight Keyword Variations & Keyword Ordering

Since the update of the local search results, the fluctuations between similar keywords do matter in the search engine. You will come up with one result when you type your keywords and another set of results when you type the keyword with a location or the abbreviation of the state or city.

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These fluctuations matter for your business listings for the recent listings. It is used to help the searchers to come up with more identical and relevant results for you. Although the keywords are highly essential for the search engine results, its value and variations have become more popular with the recent updates. It is thus obligatory for you to choose the right keyword and keyword variations for your business to be visible and relevant.

5. Local Filters Run Independently From Organic Filters

With the recent changes and modern updates that Google has introduced, the local and organic filters are working more independently. The Google organic and Google local search algorithms till some days ago were inseparable.

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Now, with the new updates, the Google local has become more independent and can throw a lot of general SEO search efforts out of whack. This however is very good news for the local businesses with local market as it allows them the prospect to reach their target audience without having the fear of the major global brands of their industry. The Google local and organic filter seems to be completely different now and it is less connected than before which opens new gateways of prospects for local businesses.

Solutions To Save Your Website From Getting Penalized After Possum Update

The new update of Google has brought about significant changes in the local SEO arena and several businesses and websites, who were till date ranking at the top of the search results are now nowhere to be seen in the result page. No, of course there business is not gone forever or their listings have not been removed, Google has just filtered them and found them inappropriate with their latest updates and thus have removed them from top positions. If you want to save your business from getting penalized, check on for the following points that now determines your local search result rankings:

NAP Consistency

NAP is the acronym for Name, Address and Phone. It is one of the major factors that determines your local SEO ranking and need to be consistent and relevant. While determining the ranking, Google scans the web for checking on the mention of the business name, address and the phone along with the website URL and other valuable data. This information is then compared with other data sources that include the major data providers and if it finds it to be relevant then your ranking is guaranteed, but if not then you are going to face tremendous loss in your ranking position.

Genuine Reviews-

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Another important factor that can save your website from getting penalized by Google is to have genuine users’ review and feedback for your listing. If your business is genuine and is used by people then you should definitely encourage them to give feedback and review about your product or service on your Google listing page. This assures Google that you are an authentic business and not a fake one. It also needs to be kept in mind that the review for your business should not be promotional. It ought to be a general and true review of your clients who have hired your services or have purchased your products.

Incorrect Business Category-

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Always ensure that your business listed in the Google My Business page under the right category. It is very essential to do so. As per the new update Google Algorithm it is very important for your business to be listed in the right category. For Example, if you own a garments business and your listing is done under food category then of course your ranking will get affected in the negative way. Check your listing and manage your category right away to prevent from getting hit by the Google updates.

Prevent Keyword Stuffing In Business Name-

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The business name should be relevant and should be kept short without spamming or stuffing it with keywords. It is always advisable that keyword stuffing should be avoided either in your content, your title or your business name. Google does not provide you with any reward if you put up or use more and more number of keywords in your business name, neither does it helps you to reach at the top position of ranking. With the latest update the keyword stuffing in business name will cost your business its listing or its top rankings.

Don't Use Fake Business Location-

Use the business location at the place where it is ideally located. Don’t go overboard and use it in areas where there is no name of your business. Always ensure that the location of your business is in the right place with the right address. A small mistake on your side may harm your ranking as per the latest Google Algorithm Update.

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If you desire to excel in the market and gain the most out of this local business beneficial situation, then the best way is to contact a local SEO expert company. Contacting the experts ensure that your business is in the safe hands and will definitely get you the brilliant position in the local SERPs that you were in search of, thus giving you plenty of opportunities to develop and explore the local market excellently.

Atanu Sarkar

Atanu Sarkar, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Webskitters Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd & Webskitters LTD has strong data analytics, business development and entrepreneurship skills. He keeps himself updated about latest technological innovations in his past time and encourages his team to incorporate new technologies and move beyond the defined boundaries of design, development and digital marketing. His inquisitive nature constrains him from flattering any limits and that’s made him a successful entrepreneur, a great leader for his team and a wonderful human being.