What is Google Possum and is it impacting on your business?

This time we are taking a look at Google’s Possum update which was released in September 2016. It has since changed the landscape of Google’s local finder results and ranking.

The purpose of the Possum update has been to create greater diversity among local results and to reduce spam from ranking. This update has impacted on 64% of the 1,307 businesses investigated by Moz.com. As suggested by Moz, this could have been part of Possum of an alternative update. Thankfully there are a few ways of identifying whether the Possum update has influenced your business listings.

Is your business listed?

One of the main characteristics of Possum appear when business listings have disappeared. In actual fact Google has filtered them. One quick way to identify if this has happened to your business is to do a search of your business industry, such as florist or pharmacy followed by the location. If your business isn’t showing up on the 3-pack listing simply zoom in. Hopefully Google will look at the location with more detail of local businesses and identify your businesses presence.

Let’s understand this a little bit more, Google isn’t removing, giving penalties or preventing a business from ranking. It is in fact working like a filter by picking what it believes to be better quality results. It believes that you won’t want to see results that are too similar, hence the focus on diversity.

How has Possum influenced your business?

Searcher’s location

Factors to take on board is the way a user’s location influences what results are received. The results will vary if two users search the same query but one is in London and the other in Paris. This could be another reason why you can not see your business being listed.

Shared business addresses

If you have a business in an office block or business park where your address is the same as other businesses, even with a different business name, address (room, office or suite number in this case) and different phone number (NAP) Google is likely to filter most of the businesses out simply because they are at the same address. Unfortunately, for many businesses having the addition of a block, room or suite number hasn’t had any significant impact on improving address diversity. Specialist practitioners have noticed that genuine businesses have been caught up in the negative down falls of this update by being filtered out of query responses.

Registered locations

Prior to the update, businesses which were registered in a city because its included in the address. But these businesses were technically outside of the city’s borders have been suffering with ranking. Since Possum was implemented Joy Hawkins, an SEO practitioner, has noticed that some of these businesses rankings have rocketed in position. Moz.com tells us, “it has long been observed in the Local SEO industry that companies beyond city borders have little chance of earning local rankings for queries originating in those cities”.

Working with Possum to make improvements:

The Possum update seems to be harder to work with or escape compared to some of Google’s other updates like Panda and Hummingbird. However, its key to remember that Google, all in all, wants to deliver quality and relevant responses to our queries. Improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and demonstrate to Google that you are the best answer to search queries. This is likely to support your online presence.

Say hello…

We are happy to help and guide on the you issues covered in this article, so feel free to get in touch.