What does Google Possum mean for Digital Advertising and SEO?

As you open up your main web page and begin your daily searches, you’ll find a collection of information. Whether you’re looking for the most convenient place to get some food or a new clothing store, this information is found using Google’s algorithms. These algorithms are created from more than 200 original signals that optimize your search to find relevant answers, keywords from websites, PageRank or the relevance of content to the consumer.

What’s New on Google Search?

The Possum update that took effect on Sept. 1 focuses on local results honing in on location. Google has refined its optimization to benefit the potential consumer trying to find the closest store related to their search terms. It was intended to prevent spam results and diversify the local results that come up on a Google search. But why? Mobile, mobile, mobile. If you’re on the go, the results closest to you and the most relatable to your search will be the first to appear.

Why is it called Possum?

Google’s previous updates have been named after animals — Hummingbird, Penguin, Panda, Pigeon -— you get the idea. Possums are infamous for “playing dead” when faced with an unanticipated situation. As a real life example, “playing possum” could be when someone rings your doorbell and you pretend you’re not home, turn off the television, duck under a window and/or retreat to your room.

The Possum update is founded on the idea that multiple business listings have the same address (such as dentists, physical therapists, etc.) These listings will be filtered and hidden to prevent multiple listings from appearing. The listing hasn’t disappeared, it’s just “playing possum” in the Google abyss.

What does this mean for businesses?

After this update, there is an opportunity to see increases in their local ranking and relevance ranking. Google has filtered the corporate giants out of the situation, not allowing them to clutter the rankings. Before, Google search results were more tailored to an individual’s search terms, but now, it’s based off of the person’s location while performing the search, called proximity testing. This identifies deserving businesses around the local area and allows them to move full speed ahead.

Key things you should take away from this update:

  • Local business rankings are increasing.
  • Google will filter duplicates (addresses, phone numbers, etc.) to only show one listing.
  • Google is focusing more on the user and location rather than the general search terms.

So, what’s next?

The update does benefit small businesses, but all businesses need to prioritize releasing relevant, fresh content that would focus on reaching all target audiences in a region, area or neighborhood. Specifically, optimizing the variations of SEO keywords and location can have a significant effect on increasing traffic to your website. Using these techniques ensures that any business is getting the best results out of this locally-beneficial update.

Christina Newcomb
Christina is a charismatic, free spirit, and loves the strategy behind social media. She considers coffee and chocolate a main food category, but she also loves to be pushed outside her comfort zone to meet new people and explore new experiences. She enjoys corny jokes, writing about herself in third person and creating funny things on photoshop.