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Sep 22 2016

5 Top things that you need to know about Google’s Possum Update

September 22, 2016 in Search Engine Optimization | No Comments

Have you been witnessing any changes with the local search rankings lately?

Chill! It’s because of Google’s Possum update!

So, now what is Possum update?

It is the colloquial term assigned to the massive local algorithm update that has happened recently.

The name “Possum” originated from the idea that since the update happened many business owners think that their Google My Business listings have vanished into thin air when actually it has just been filtered. Relax, your listings are playing possum with you.


If sources are to be believed, the update was made to broaden the local results and also, prevent spam from ranking.

A visible change could be witnessed in the ranking across the local results or Google Map results.

Search Engine Land reports this as the biggest update witnessed in Local since Pigeon happened back in the year 2014.

Google’s filter has been updated, and this applies to the local results.

So, what will be the impact of Possum?

#1. Does your business fall within or outside the city limits?

If it falls outside the city limits, then you must experience a hike in your ranking.

Businesses that fall outside the physical limits of any specific city in fact struggle really hard to rank for keywords that contain the name of their city.

Google Maps do not consider these businesses technically within the city limits for which they are trying to rank.

But, once this possum update was rolled out businesses that follow the above-discussed strata experienced a hike in their keyword rankings.

#2. Filtering strategy is now changed:

A local filter was being applied to local filters that have been filtering profiles that share the same domain or even contact numbers. This was the previous strategy.

But, the possum is set to change it!

If you have separate listings for each service department that your business owns and a single listing for the business as a whole, undoubtedly all the separate listings would link to your website and share the same contact number.

Here, what happens is either one or two of these service sections will be visible in the local results and the rest will be filtered, which is depressing.

With the new update, this kind of listings is being switched back and forth depending on the relevance of the keywords. Google is not preventing it from ranking rather stops showing what is irrelevant or something that looks too much alike.

#3. The location of the searcher gets more priority:

Now this is something that sounds cool!

Finally, looks like the searcher will be finding local searches that are more relevant to the location from where they are making the search.

So, now users would be finding businesses that are in proximity to from where they are located.

Set the searcher location to the right city when you track the rankings.

#4. Search results will vary based on variations in the keywords that are being searched:

As you know, the 3-pack would fetch similar results whenever a keyword query is entered.

But, now things are changing.

So, what’s the new change?

You can find fluctuations between similar keywords and Possum is responsible for the same.

Sometimes, the listings that get filtered for a particular query can be found in the local results. Try adding the state abbreviation of the keyword and search. You can witness the change for yourself.

#5. This local filter is capable of running independently when compared to the organic one:

Google has been in the habit of filtering your websites organically that have a negative impact on your rankings.

But, with this new update, the excitement is that many of the businesses that have been previously ranking low for competitive terms that are linking to pages being filtered organically are now ranking high.

So, there are a lot of positive fluctuations that is rolling out with the new Possum update.

Published by

Vipin Nayar

Vipin Nayar is the Inbound Marketing Manager at Acodez IT Solutions. A social media, SEO and SEM expert with over 4 years' experience in online marketing, helps clients enhance their online presence and open up new business avenues. Keeping in step with social media trends, he uses his keen insight into customer behaviour to formulate innovative strategies that succeed.

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