From Penguin to Possum, Google knows just how to rock the boat when it comes to search engine optimisation and those all-important rankings, and the latest algorithm update is all set to level the playing field with local listings. If you have noticed a change with your local search rankings lately, then chances are Google’s Possum has affected you already, but what can you expect from the local update, whether you’ve been hit yet or not? Our search engine optimisation boffins take a closer look at Possum and provide you with everything you need to know.
Diverse results on Google Maps and local search
For a while SEO experts like ourselves have found it challenging to improve rankings for businesses that geographically sit outside of city limits, with companies like this finding it particularly difficult to rank for keywords and phrases that use the city name as hypothetically there aren’t based in the city. The Possum update however has seen an increase in local ranking for businesses outside city limits, which is great news for those previously struggling to rank as they should do.
New filtering system for local listings
Duplicate content is obviously a huge no-no when it comes to SEO – everyone knows that! – but there are some instances where locally a number of businesses would use the same office address, results that were previously filtered by their phone number or domain, i.e. only one to two listing profiles with the same number and web address would be shown to users. However, under the new update, filtering factors have changed and now local results are filtered using address and affiliation. It is important to note however that businesses at the same address and of a different business category or type won’t be filtered using this method, that’s where the affiliation factor comes in.
With Possum the local filter is also working more independently from its organic filters, which means duplicated pages that have been filtered out organically may not have the same status locally.
Your location is more important than ever
The use of IP address locations is another major change under the new update, and the searcher’s location will determine the results, with the same results not available for those searching in another locale. As well as your own location needing to be accurate, the searcher location must also be set correctly to the target town or city.
Not another update!
It’s still early days for Possum and you are likely to witness some variation in results in the coming weeks or months as Google continues its testing of the new algorithm, however in the meantime it is worth monitoring your ranking signals for local results.