Google has been trying rather hard to make our lives much simpler and another step forward in this direction is the Possum algorithm. Many digital marketing experts see this as a fantastic opportunity for you to revamp your SEO strategies and realign your online activities. Your business is going to be the ultimate winner in this constantly changing environment if you choose to abide by the rules that this new algorithm sets!
According to reports, Possum is a little complicated devil of an algorithm that is primarily going to affect local search listings. The change here has been quite phenomenal as Possum alters the way you see your local searches and the way they are pulled up. There is more emphasis on the IP address or location of the searcher when sorting down and listing the search results for any query. This means that an individual will be looking at a list of highly localized results.
This is going to help your business a lot if you have your specific location and all information entered into Google's listings. Doing this will increase the amount of business you get but to take the benefit of this algorithm you have to ensure that your important and only correct details are available on Google. So, to understand it better let's just say that if your business isn't physically located in the city you want to target but is close to it, competing with more centrally located or easily approachable businesses becomes difficult. This will be done away with the help of Possum.
Let's Get Down To the Specifics of It
1. Business Outside City Limits?
A problem that many businesses used to face in Local SEO was that if they fell right outside the physical limits of a particular city, they would not rank for any keywords that included that particular city name. These businesses would often end up losing potential clients as they don't fall into any city according to Google Maps. After the Possum update, many businesses like this would be able to rank for the same keywords and phrases as the listings within the city limits. So, if you are a business located on the outskirts of any city or town, you would see a massive increase in your local ranking with relation to the city closest to you.
2. What Is Your Address And Affiliation?
Before the Possum update what the users could see was a local filter applied to every local listing. This would filter out profiles that shared a phone number or domain. For instance if a local dental clinic has one listing each for every dentist practicing in the clinic and then a separate listing for the practice, then only one or two of them would show and the rest of them would be filtered out.
But since this update, a lot of businesses would be filtered out due to their address being common. So if you fall in the same category of business as another listing sharing the same address, only one would show and the rest shall be filtered out. This does not mean that they get removed but in fact you can actually see them if you just slightly zoom in on the map.
3. Where Is The Searcher Located?
Since the Possum update it has become more important for the business to make sure that the searcher location is close to them. This way the local listings that are closest to them would show higher in the results page and on much higher ranks. This is because the further the searcher gets away from the city, the more zoomed out the map appears and the listing thus goes down in the ranking.
4. Are There Any Keyword Variations?
Search results since this update would vary much more than they used to before. You can see a lot of reports of variations in keywords affecting the listings. These variations can be as slight the inclusion of the state name or even the order of keywords typed in. Since the Possum update, a lot more fluctuations between similar keywords can be seen as some results would be filtered for one query but then appear back if the state abbreviation is added to the keyword.It is thus safe to say that we will see a lot of fluctuations, and for the most part Google seems to be A/B testing these various ranking signals, but only future will tell what this algorithm holds for local businesses