For many business owners, Google algorithm updates may be overwhelming and confusing. At times, these updates have hurt website rankings and even turned SEO professionals’ best search engine optimization tactics on their head. But the Google Possum update was a bit different in that instead of hurting small businesses, it actually helped many gain more visibility.
That’s because the Google Possum update was mainly focused on local results. It’s good news for consumers, too: 50% of all web searches conducted on mobile devices were done in hopes of finding local results, specifically. If you’re still unsure about how the Google Possum update may have impacted your business, here are three things you should know:
- Businesses outside of city limits are no longer shut out
With prior updates, businesses situated just outside city limits didn’t fare well in local rankings, especially the all-important map pack. Even if your company’s mailing address was located in a major city, if your business didn’t fall within the city lines, you wouldn’t easily be able to rank on keywords that contained that city name. For awhile, it seemed pointless to even try. But with the newest update, Google got a lot more advanced in being able to recognize proximity. Local businesses that were technically outside city limits showed a major increase in local rankings. For the huge number of companies who have struggled with this problem, the update was a welcome change.
- Your business may be filtered for confusing reasons
Although local businesses have better overall visibility in search rankings due to Possum, there are also certain situations that caused results to be filtered. If you’re a law firm who shares a building with several other law firms, it’s possible that only one of those firms will show up in search results; the others will be filtered. Google was surprisingly sophisticated in this aspect: some businesses that didn’t share addresses but were technically in the same building also experienced this filtering. And if someone owns two businesses with nothing in common except the parent company or the name of the owner, one of these companies may be filtered. While Google was trying to ensure that search results were not duplicated, Possum definitely needs a bit more tweaking before it can recognize the difference between two listings for the same business and two unique but similar listings.
- The location of the searcher matters
With the Google Possum update, it’s all about local — even from the standpoint of the person conducting the search. The further away you are from the location you’re trying to target with your search, the lower a certain business might be in rankings. In other words, if you’re currently in Texas but are trying to search for your plumbing business in Florida, your business won’t show up as high on the rankings list as it would were you in Florida doing the same search. Since people conducting these searches are often specifically looking for local results, the update is trying to address this by giving them the relevant results it thinks they want. This can be helpful for residents who want a fast result close by, rather than those who are hunting for a specific business name. To make sure you have an accurate idea of where your business falls in the rankings, check to see that your searcher location is correct.
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