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The After Effects of Google’s Possum Update and Local Search


All local businesses have felt the effects of the Possum update. Tandem delved deeper to find out just how much of an impact It map on Local.

A few months ago, local search experts at Tandem wrote a piece regarding the very quiet, but strong update to Google’s local search results. Now that the update to the algorithm has had some time to work its magic, many digital marketers are wondering how significantly the Possum update impacted local search results in Google.

The local search team at our Fort Lauderdale digital marketing agency wanted to find out just how significant this change was. In our research, we discovered that Columnist Joy Hawkins partnered with BrightLocal, as they shared their findings regarding the impact of the update.

There has not been a substantial amount of talk surrounding the update, and any noticed changes were kept relatively quiet. Hawkins and her team contributed this to the fact that the Possum update only affected local search, the three pack, and maps. The update did not have an impact on organic search.

If you are trying to rank organically for specific keywords, you will not be exposed to the effects of the update. However, if you are a local business trying to get noticed in your community, you would undoubtedly experience the changes.

Since Google has not officially announced the update, it is hard to accurately quantify the way in which the Possum update has impacted local search. A few components to the update that we can be sure of are:

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      • It is now easier for businesses to rank locally, even if they are just outside of the area that they are geo-targeting.
      • Google now filters results based on address since they do not want to display duplicate listings.
      • Now, location is more important than the key search term. Mobile is the one key component for the emphasis on location and finding local businesses in the SERP.
      • Google search is now more in tune with slight variations of keywords.
      • Local search is now filtered independently from organic rankings.