November 10, 2016

Google Possum is Live… Now What?

Google Possum is Live… Now What?

Google released the biggest local search update since Pigeon in 2014. What’s it do? How do you need to react? Google’s made everyone hate cute’n’friendly animals like penguins, pandas, and pigeons. Okay, so maybe pigeons don’t belong in that category. But, you get the point. By the way, do you ever get angry at Google when you see a penguin, panda, or pigeon? Just curious. Now, you have to add possums to the category of animals Google has demonized…

What Did Possum Do?

Sometimes, with Google updates, we’re not always sure of their effects immediately. This time, that’s not the case.

The update seems to have impacted the Local 3-Pack, and Local Finder, which you might also know as the “Google Maps” results.

Now, normally you get fairly anxious when Google releases an update. Will they nail you and zap 20%, 60%, or 80% of your business overnight?

They might this time. But this update seems to be a just one that punishes spammy companies trying to manipulate their way up the search rankings. If you’ve been doing good, solid, and white-hat SEO, you might actually be rewarded.

Here’s what happened:

  1. Businesses outside of the local city they want to rank for saw a big jump in their rankings
  2. Google now filters based on address and affiliation
  3. The physical location of the searcher has increased in importance
  4. More spam results have been removed

What’s the Impact of These Changes?

For starters, Google’s getting a little fairer with where you can rank based on your own physical location. Say you had an office in Mesquite. Now, of course you’d serve customers in Mesquite and from surrounding areas too, including Dallas.

Well, in the past Google gave you a bump down in the rankings for Dallas because you were based in Mesquite. They know small and local businesses try to rank for suburbs they don’t necessarily have a physical presence in. Now, Google’s gotten fairer in how they treat this and you have a better chance of ranking in locations where you don’t have an office, but still could easily serve.

Seems a little fairer, doesn’t it?

With the address and affiliations, Google’s simply cleaning up search results in a fair way. In the past, it could give 3 partners at the same law firm separate listings in the rankings. Now, it removes 2 of the 3 and puts in place what it believes is the best one. It makes sense because searchers would only want to see one listing from a single law firm, not 3.

You know about this already, but the value of it has increased: searcher location. It makes sense too. It’s Google revising search results for mobile searchers. Now, it’s simply more important than ever before when people search for physical locations nearby.

Finally, this update has also removed spam and search manipulators from the results.

Fair is Fair, Right?

Try to deceive Google into ranking you at the top instead of doing the hard work, and eventually they bust you.

In sum, this is the most powerful update to local search results since Pigeon in 2014. And initially, Possum looks like a fair change aimed at cleaning up the search results and making competition for their rankings a little more just.

Well, at least you can have sympathy for a squished possum you see on the road instead of cursing it, right?

Keep up the hard white-hat SEO work out there, and you’ll do just fine!

Google's Algorithm Updates
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