According to photionary, the Google Possum Update was released in September 2016. As part of this update, Google focused on ensuring that geographic information is processed more precisely by the crawler.
Google Updates in general
For years, Google has been bringing out major updates on a regular basis, thereby adapting its algorithms for evaluating websites in the context of search rankings. These updates can have a huge impact on your ranking on Google. Online marketing experts therefore always have an eye on the latest updates. The changes that accompany an update are different and can be shown through analyzes. The last major Google update with a focus on “local search” before the Possum update was the Pigeon update in 2014.
In the past, some Google Updates received animal names, such as the Panda Update, the Kolibri Update or the Penguin Update. The SEO community gave the Possum Update its name because many companies could no longer find themselves in the local search results after the update and no longer ranked for certain keywords, although the entries have not actually disappeared. They have more or less “played dead”, in English one also says “playing possum”.
What’s new after the Google Possum update?
Experts have noticed some changes that can be attributed to the Google Possum Update. These changes mainly affect local search results.
After the Google Possum update, the search results are heavily influenced by the location of the user who entered the search term. Accordingly, a searcher receives different results with the same mobile device in Berlin than in Munich for a local search term. For example, if the user is looking for “Dentist Berlin” and is also in Berlin, the search results are much more precise than if the user were searching in Munich.
Small local companies in particular benefit from the fact that Google has relaxed the consideration of city limits and instead takes more into account the actual local proximity to the user. Previously, Google’s rigid city limits mainly affected companies that were just beyond a city limit and were therefore not taken into account due to their postcode or telephone area code.
Until the Possum update, Google only ever delivered exactly one result for an address. The problem: If several providers of the same services shared an address, as is the case, for example, in a medical center, only one provider appeared in the Google results. After the update, competitors or partners with the same address appear equally in the search results. The Google My Business entries are decisive here.
While similar keywords were very likely to have returned the same search results before the update, small changes to the keyword can now result in different search results. Exact keywords and the associated search volume gain significantly in importance.
Local and organic filter
Google has made local search more independent of organic search. In a local, location-based search, Google attaches more importance to local results than to global results. The location and address are treated with higher priority by the Google Bot.
The Google Possum Update and Local SEO
The relevance of well-maintained Google My Business entries was once again made clear by the Google Possum update. The Google Possum Update mainly affects the position in the local packs and on Google Maps. A position in the local packs ensures more traffic on the site. Local companies in particular should adapt to the new requirements and invest in local SEO. In general, with the update, Google has increased user-friendliness and focused more on user intention. With regard to search engine optimization, the effects on keyword variations play a role.