What Is The New Possum Google Algorithm Update? - Website Design and Marketing
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08 Nov What Is The New Possum Google Algorithm Update?

On September 1, 2016, Google updated its algorithm in a big way which has greatly changed how search engine results are displayed. This update has been termed Possum since despite many businesses believing that their websites have been removed instead, these websites have just been filtered differently. Below are a few of the major changes that come with this update.

Filtering is Now Based on Address and Affiliation
Google’s new way of filtering shows the most relevant listings by filtering out other listings that are too similar. This means that in addition to businesses that share a similar domain or phone number being filtered out, businesses that share the same address as other businesses in the same category are also being filtered out.

Listings are not being prevented from ranking or being removed but instead, Google chooses one business to rank higher and pushes other business with the same address further down the results page.

Good for Businesses Outside of the City Limits
Businesses that are technically outside a physical city limit and depend on keyword searches involving that city name should see a boost in ranking. In the past, businesses that do not have an address inside the city limits find it extremely difficult to rank high in a city keyword search. The new Possum update seems to have fixed any of these issues since city limits are playing less of a role.

Small Keyword Variations Change Search Results More
With this update, keyword order has become more important. Similar keyword searches produce a different results page than before the update. Simply switching around the order of words in a phrase can greatly impact search results. Consequently, it may be best to utilize multiple iterations of a keyword in order to obtain a high ranking across many different keyword search variations.

Searcher Location is More Important Than Before
Making sure the searcher’s location is set to the correct city is more important than before. Depending on where the searcher is located greatly effects where a particular business ranks on a search page. Even including the city name in the search bar may still result in a lower ranking if the searcher is not located in that same city.

For instance, if a searcher is farther from the city in which they are searching for a business, the Google Search map appears more zoomed out.

Organic and Local Filters Run More Independently
Since the Possum update, the local filter and the organic filter are less synchronized, resulting in completely different behavior. Before the update, websites filtered organically by Google often resulted in a lower ranking. In contrast, the update allows most websites to enjoy a higher ranking when filtered organically. An example of this would be that companies now have two opportunities to rank in the 3-pack, with a www version and a version that does not use www.

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