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How to Identify and Recover from Google Possum Update
February 16, 2017 Rajat Tyagi
One of the massive algorithm updates in local searches has been noticed by the local SEO experts, which is popularly called as ‘Possum’.
Among the number of updates that has been witnessed in the year of 2016, many consider Possum update as one of the biggest updates. Some even declare that nobody has noticed such a major local algorithm update after Pigeon Update long back in 2014.
Which Google’s Algorithm Update Came on Local Search
An Update named ‘Possum’ appeared on Local Search. Due to this update, many business owners started thinking that their Google My Business listings are gone, whereas, the reality was something else. It was just a filter named Possum that was applied, but it strongly impacted the Local SEO. The filtered effect created a huge confusion among the business owners and marketers.
What is Google Possum Update
‘Possum’ is the name of a new update released by Google, last year. It has been nicknamed by the Search Engine Optimization community. Under Google Possum update, some behavioural changes have been noticed in the local search results. Local SEO experts have compiled their observations, listed them and shared with the rest of the world.
How to Identity Google Possum Update
Identifying Google Possum update is not easy for websites. After reviewing all the evidences, it has been identified that due to Google Possum Update some basic alterations have appeared on:
- Local Pack, especially the 3-pack
- Local Finder
- Local Results
- Google Maps Results
If you are targeting to rank in local search results on a particular keyword, but it is not a location-based result, then Possum is hardly going to left an impact on your result.
But, on the other hand, if your focus is to rank at the top of 3-Pack for a specific area, then Possum will be a matter of concern for you.
Reason Behind Google Possum Update
The prime motive of Possum update is to diversify the local results and to put a serious end to the spammy practices.
In 2017, as a marketer, if you are deliberately including your keywords and forcefully trying to get a higher rank for your website, then it will be considered as a ‘spam’. These practices in local search faced an adverse effect by Possum.
Google wants the marketers/advertisers to understand the consumer’s behaviour in local search and how Google local search works. This will help them to reduce spammy practices and perform SEO more effectively.
How to Recover from Google Possum Update
Here we’ve collected Google Possum Update recovery tips. As soon as you identify the effects of Possum Update, it is time to seek for its recovery tips. Don’t get perplexed if your website has faced a serious blow due to Possum. Fortunately, 2017 has come up with the recovery solutions.
Google Possum Update Recovery Tips:
- Associate one input with one address
- Mention the city name while providing your location
- Give value to location than search terms
- Focus on every permutation combination of your keywords
- Link a site with local business; it will appear independently in local search filter
Associate One Input with One Address
If you have multiple listings for the same site, then Google will consider it as duplicate entries. Earlier, Google used to filter the repetitive entries based on phone numbers and domain name, but with Possum update it has started filtering the local searches on the basis of the physical address of the listing.
So, it is advised that you should associate one input with one address. For example, if you have more than one doctor in one dispensary, then while creating Google My Business page focus on one doctor name with the address. If you list all doctors separately with the same address, Possum will consider it as duplicate.
You should also remember that other listings have not been eliminated completely; they have just been pushed down in the rankings.
Mention the City Name while Providing Your Location
Possum update has acted as a blessing for the small businesses because now the algorithm carries out a proximity test. This test determines whether the business qualifies to rank or not.
So, it is recommended to mention the city name while providing your location. In this way, the small businesses located at a distance (outside the city) will also get the chance to rank with the city name.
Now, local listings will no more be pushed lower in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Give Value to Location than Search Terms
Google uses the IP address of the searcher to provide an appropriate 3-pack result. So, it is guided to focus on location than search terms. It is addressed to the location-sensitive piece of the update.
Google is giving value to the location just because the popularity of the mobile search has gained manifold.
When a location is situated far away from the search address, Google Maps get zoomed out. So, these locations have fewer chances to be included in a zoomed in map.
Focus on Every Permutation Combination of Your Keywords
Possum is also going to impact on the way you test your local SEO efforts. Now, even slight variations in keywords will provide different search results every time.
So, focus on every permutation combination of your keywords and work on them. Otherwise, you are surely going to miss your position in SERP.
For example, if you are targeting for a keyword “enterprise SEO”, but not for “SEO for enterprise” or “enterprise SEO strategy”, then you may be missing out a large traffic that could have been interested in your site.
It clearly notifies Google is being finicky about the search terms, so, as a business owner or marketer, you should test a wide variety of word variations while dealing with local SEO.
Link A Site with Local Business; It Will Appear Independently in Local Search Filter
Earlier, some local listings didn’t appear in the 3-pack or local finder, if they are linked to a site. These listings used to appear in the organic results. But with the advent of Possum, the scenario has changed.
Now, even if the local business is associated with a site, it will appear independently in the local search filter. It is a great news for the local businesses, as now they may appear both in local searches and in organic searches, depending on the search variety.
Google has not verified about any update on the local search. But, from the commencement of 2017, the trend shows that Google is focusing more on local search and local SEO.
Last month only, we have noticed that Google testing new look for local inventory ads on mobile. They have started showing a mixed result of local inventory ads (LIAs) and local pack in mobile. In both LIAs and local pack, they are providing detailed information about the products/services, but LIAs are not being shown on the map.
This denotes more changes and updates can come in the near future. So, this post was all about how to identify and recover from Google Possum Update that are true in 2017 and even beyond that.