The Possum update. Yet another animal update from Google. This one actually wasn’t named by Google. The search industry as a whole came up with the name.
What is the Possum update? It specifically addresses the map search portion of Google. It doesn’t address the rest of search. If you are affected by Possum, it would only be the maps or the locations part of your search. I have five points I want to cover about the Possum update.
The first one is separating the maps algorithm and the organic algorithm. Possum really pushes those algorithms apart and we find a stronger differentiator between what shows in maps versus what shows in organic. Back in the day, it was pretty muddled and a little more mixed. Now with Possum, there are very distinct algorithms.
Point two is the location of the searcher. The location of where I am physically standing when I do the search plays a massive part in results. That’s gone up tremendously since Possum. Google has gotten much more sophisticated about picking up the exact location of the searcher and serving the best result based on that location.
It completely makes sense. It’s actually a really good part of this update, I would say.
Another one is outside of city limits or surrounding areas are getting included more often. Before Possum, the name of the city that you were physically in made a big impact.
If I, for instance, looked for plumbing companies in Frisco, I would get plumbing companies that physically were in Frisco. It was less likely that I’d get a plumbing company in a neighboring city, even if that plumbing company was the best result for me.
Now, Google is much more likely to pull results from surrounding cities or adjacent cities into that result if they’re physically in good proximity and have good user reviews and things like that.
Another one is stricter filtering. Stricter filtering applies to a lot of businesses that maybe were trying to game the system a little bit by having locations that maybe weren’t their headquarters or weren’t their main location.
Maybe they had a Regus office or something like that, or maybe they were using their home address as their business address. Google has gotten much better with stricter filtering.
My last point is double location. Google has gotten much better at filtering out double locations. A lot of business owners had a building that they could split into two parts and have two different addresses and try to rank twice for the same search term.
Google has gotten much better identifying that. In fact, they’re going all the way up to the business ownership information to identify facts like these.
Let’s look at an example. Maybe somebody owns two buildings on the same street. There are two different addresses but they are really the same business, even if they have completely different names. Google can identify that through the business ownership information and will now only show one result.
Your likelihood of getting two listings by naming your business two different things has gone down dramatically. Local search has gotten a little more complicated, and just managing your citations is not enough anymore.
We’ve come up with a strategy specifically for Possum to help our clients get better results with these new algorithm updates. If you’d like to learn more about our strategy and have that implemented for you, give us a call. We’d love to talk to you and come up with a strategy that fits your business needs.