Have you noticed something different lately with your SEO Rankings in the past few months? Almost every SEO company or business has noticed this when it comes to SEO ranks, that their standings on Google search results have fluctuated a lot. What’s changed, is Google’s algorithm. There’s been a major algorithm update that Google has rolled out, called ‘Google Possum’ update. It’s estimated to be September 1, 2016, when Google actually released this update and since then, it has played an important part in affecting local search results. The 3 sections majorly affected, includes Google Places, their Map Pack and Google Maps. Ever since the Pigeon update back in 2014, the Possum update is considered the biggest update Google’s come out within the SEO community, and rightly so.
The possum update aims to provide accurate search results based on certain known factors. Many people who had high rankings before Google rolled out this update, might want to know why Google released it. Moreover, many having a tougher time to get on the top SEO rankings might find that it is easier to do so. The main reason why you might be facing one of these two situations is that the Algorithm update that’s included in the Possum update is supposed to optimize local search results for local businesses and companies. This means that both, small companies and local businesses will get represented more in Google Search results, but Local SEO will also become a lot more competitive than before.
Before this update had taken place, it was quite difficult for businesses located outside main hubs and cities to be represented and appear in local search results. As a result, many had to resort to paid listings using Google AdWords or pay per click services in order to appear in the sphere without losing out to other contenders. Earlier, local businesses that did their business in cities and surrounding suburbs without being located themselves within the city, used to be automatically ranked lower, owing to Google Maps location and geotagging features. The Possum update has changed all that by creating new filters and ‘filtering’ out those that used to rank high by play possum with the keywords.
How Does The Possum Update Actually Affect Your SEO Ranks?
After going through the Possum Update, many SEO heads in the community have ascertained that there are 5 main changes from the Google Possum Update. The changes, due to their nature, make them believe that the Algorithm’s effects are not limited to just Google Maps but also affects Google’s organic search results.
1. The User or Searcher’s Physical Location:
After studying how the Possum update has changed the search algorithm, it was determined that any user’s physical location at the time of the search, will basically make Google return search results that are set, but for that location. However, when searching from a different location, the user will get back search results that are different, even if they input the exact, same search query. What helps Google determine the location of the user during the search, is based off a mobile user’s GPS location and a Desktop user’s IP address location.
2. Location of the Business or Company:
The Possum update also added one more feature to the Google search Algorithm that basically made it apply a filter to correctly include the address of the company and also shared addresses while displaying results to other users. Basically, this stops companies from having multiple listings in SEO – optimized search results. It is believed Google included this in the Possum Update so that companies using ‘fake’ locations for their offices were weeded or filtered out easily.
3. Local Search Results Works On A New Algorithm:
As per the SEO community and other studies, it can be seen that there are two new algorithms for local results from now. One local search algorithm is for the Local Map results and the other one is for the organic listing you get from searching on Google. As a result, many local companies have been on a positive side of SEO rankings, despite the ever-increasing competitiveness among them.
4. Variations in Keywords and Results:
Due to the Possum Update, it has become increasingly important to optimize web content and descriptions with Keywords arranged in the right manner. This will indicate and determine whether any search result changes or shifts when changing only the main, principle keywords.
5. Flexibility on Location and City Limits:
City limits used to play a large role in displaying search results to frequent users. Google Maps and Map Packs will not display businesses to them even if they were nearby, based on its definition of the ‘city limits’. However, now, Possum Update has forced search results to focus on business listings based on the company and the user’s need instead of focusing on where the business is situated.
Therefore, these are the ways the Possum Update has actually affected your SEO rankings. Based on them, you can take appropriate measures and change your present scenario in a smart and careful manner.
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