Google's Surgical Strikes on Multisite Owners with Same Address (Possum)
The day was September 1, 2016 when the biggest search engine, Google once again released a new update, known as Possum following its old updates like Hummingbird, Penguin and Panda. The latest update, Possum, like most other updates, will affect local search results only. This clearly indicates if you are trying hard to give rank #1 for a particular keyword/keyphrase in organic search results, Possum will not affect your website mostly. It's for Google Map section (Local SEO). SEO experts might consider learning more about Possum directly through Google. Unluckily, Google won’t be able to provide any information because it is yet to acknowledge Possum has occurred. Thus, there arises a very important question, “How will you know about Possum?” Local SEOs have observed behavioral changes in search results, collected in a list and shared them with everyone.
The day was September 1, 2016 when the biggest search engine, Google once again released a new update, known as Possum following its old updates like Hummingbird, Penguin and Panda. The latest update, Possum, like most other updates, will affect local search results only. This clearly indicates if you are trying hard to give rank #1 for a particular keyword/keyphrase and you are not concerned about the location, Possum will not affect you. SEO experts might consider learning more about Possum directly through Google. Unluckily, Google won't be able to provide any information because it is yet to acknowledge Possum has occurred. Thus, there arises a very important question, "How will you know about Possum?" Local SEOs have observed behavioral changes in search results, collected in a list and shared them with everyone.
Possum - What's the Update?
It has been confirmed that this update has impacted ranking only in Local Finder and 3-pack. The main objective of the update was to modify local results and ultimately prevent spam from getting good ranking in the search results. Read more to know about this latest update and its effect on local search results.
Give a Boost to Businesses that Missed the Mark Earlier:- Previously, local SEO experts had faced trouble in ranking various clients for a particular place in case their business address was outside the city. For example, if a dentist had his clinic near to London but not in proper London, then he would find difficulty ranking in the local 3-pack for search term such as "dentist London". This did not work out for many business owners as businesses near to city will usually have clients that reside in the city. Thus, they should reach them through local search results. Businesses could not rank in local search results if the addresses were not within the city. Great thanks to Possum that has changed the concept completely. This algorithm will use proximity test to find out if the business is eligible to rank better in the search results. Now, if any business is near to a city, chances are it will rank with its city name.
Google is filtering based on affiliation and address:- Google does not want to show users the same listing every time in the search results though some businesses have multiple listings. Earlier, we had found a local filter applied to local search results that filtered out profiles with similar phone number or domain address. For example, you may have a dental clinic with three individual listings for dental practitioners and one listing for the practice. These separate profiles will be linked to same website and use same phone number. Usually, one or two amongst them will appear in local results and others would get filtered. Well, this actually makes great sense as Google makes it a point to filter copied/duplicate content on a regular basis and showing users innumerable results from the same company which is not at all needed. When searching for a new dentist, you will obviously not want to see the same clinic listed several times? This update is filtering out lots of businesses with same addresses in the similar category.
Physical location is very important than it had been before:- Possum makes local search results to depend on the location of the searcher. Earlier, search results were considered based on the search terms. But now, Google considers the IP address of the searcher conducting the search for more accurate results in the 3-pack. Thus, it has become very important to understand the new update particularly, when doing local SEO for another business. The more a user moves from a particular location, the more the Google Map will zoom out. As such, business listings in zoomed-in area of map will probably drop down. So, why is location becoming a matter of concern now? That’s because more number of users are browsing the Internet through mobiles and thus, the need of making websites responsive is becoming more and more important every day.
Search results differ based on slight keyword change:- Even a slight change in keywords may show different search results with this latest update. For example, if you Google "dental surgeon in London", it may show different results than search terms such as best dental clinic in London or dental specialists in London. It is still not clear what Google's new algorithm is trying to achieve by being so particular about search terms. However, it is essential to know that you will have to test several keywords, though they appear similar while testing local SEO
Local filter is ignoring organic filter:- Some local listings did not appear in search results as they were linked to a filtered site in organic results. Now, this is no more the case. Google is trying its best to remove duplicities in search results. Thus, it is applicable for local search results as well as organic results. The major problem before Possum was that certain local listings were linked to a filtered site from organic results. Due to this, Google will filter out the listing from its local results.
In a nutshell, Google still has not confessed about Possum update and as such, it is quite possible that it is yet unfinished. This means we can expect more changes in future. It is also possible that certain things that changed in the past may revert back. As of now, it is important that SEO professionals know how Possum can affect local SEO marketing efforts.