Here is what SEOs Know About “Possum” Local Search Engine Algorithm Update:
From Search Engine Land:
- All the evidence seems to indicate this particular update only impacted ranking in the 3-pack and Local Finder (AKA the local results or Google Maps results).
- The main purpose of the update was to diversify the local results and also prevent spam from ranking as well.
- Based on the dozens of ranking reports I’ve analyzed, this is the biggest update we have seen in Local since Pigeon in 2014.
This update occurred around the weekend of September 1st. So you might be seeing some ranking fluctuations around that specific date range.
For example, below is a screenshot in Google Analytics comparing Sept 1 -14th to August 1-14th for one of my clients at Studio Brand Collective. Part of a loss of traffic may be due to two things:
A) Lower traffic on the weekends
B) But most likely due to Google’s local search update.
Now, just to be sure it was the Google Possum update, I ran the client site using the Panguin tool and got this:
*Note: If you want to use this tool you need to login using your Google Analytics account. I highly recommend using this tool.
This chart confirms the GA data and my suspicion that it was indeed the Possum update . This client got hit around Sept 2-3rd and didn’t start recovering until the 11th.
Each time an update is released you may see a sudden loss in rankings but traffic tends to go back to normal eventually assuming you didn’t do anything wrong.
Due to these fluctuations in traffic this is probably why Google releases their updates over the weekend.
Anyway, we were not too alarmed but it did let us know that we will have to ramp up this client’s SEO and optimize any pages that were hit and do an audit of their local search profiles
What You Need to Do to Optimize for Possum
1.) Complete a Local search profile audit especially your businesses’ address. Google is now filtering based on address. So make sure your address is accurate and true. Do Not Spam the local search pages with fake address. Possum will ding you!
2.) Keep Your Local and Organic Search strategies separate. It will make it a lot easier when optimizing or implementing your SEO strategies.
3.) Check out this article to learn more about the update and this one to learn what happens when you rank well organically but not locally.
4.) Finally, go where the pros go and get involved in the Local Search Forum, the place where most Local SEOs gather and share the latest info.
Let us know if you noticed any loss in rankings due to this Google algorithm update or just share your feedback in the comments.