Yet another update, this one is named the “Google Possum Update”. I’m not too sure who comes up with the names of these updates but they are there and well known within the industry. Over the last month, there has been the Penguin 4.0 Update as well as this Possum Update.
Penguin 4.0 is obviously out to tackle spammy links and was always due to be rolled out. This update was well known to most people within the SEO Industry however, the Possum update was more of a secret and was rolled out in September alongside the Penguin 4.0 update.
The Possum Update is having an impact on Local SEO and many people have seen things moving around in recent weeks with their local rankings. The update was rolled out at the start of September 2016 and I’m going to go through some of the changes that would appear to be in place.
Local SEO In a City
Previously it was very difficult to rank for keywords within your local city if you were actually on the outskirts of the city. Now Google has changed and updated that so that even those businesses on the outskirts or just outside the city now have a chance of being found locally in their nearest big city.
Previously if you had the same phone number or address Google would filter out some of your map listings as a direct result. It’s now looking at similar addresses within the same business category so that it will be much harder for you to get multiple business listings for the same type of business.
This is potentially a problem for those people who share office space with other businesses as you could be subject to the filter.
Location of the Customer/Searcher
Technology is becoming more advanced all the time and the location of the person doing the search is now coming into play for the Local SEO results. With IP addresses and locations now being used, if you Google a specific search, you are likely to see the person that is closest to your business first – this makes perfect sense and gives everyone a chance of winning local business, people like to use local businesses.
Users in different locations are now likely to see different results and those businesses who have multiple local map listings who use the same address and phone number are now likely to see a negative impact as some of your local rankings are likely to drop as a result of being filtered out.
It is now going to probably make using a virtual office problematic as many people use a virtual office to get the Google postcard that is sent out to verify your business listing.
To be fair this update won’t really have a negative impact on your Local SEO if you are an independent business who is genuine and has their own office space and not running with multiple websites to force their competitors further down the rankings.