You thought you have understood how Panda, Penguin and Panda work? Now behold(what SEO guys are calling) the POSSUM algorithm! It is a local algorithm update that happened this September.
There are indications that this update impacted ranking in the 3-pack and Local Finder. Another update followed, which impacted organic results. The update may have been aimed to diversify local results and prevent spam from ranking.
Here are a few patterns that have emerged so far….
The Local Filter Has a Mind of Its Own
Earlier, if Google filtered out your website organically, it affected your ranking adversely.Since the update, many businesses that link to pages, filtered organically, are ranking high. For instance, a business was using a certain URL on the Google My Business listing. That page was getting filtered organically. Now the same business is experiencing a great spike in ranking. That is the power of the local filter now.
Good old Google is smarter than you thought!
A local filter applied to the local results andsieved out sites that shared phone numbers or domains. So a doctor with two separate listings as apractitioner and one listing for the practice itself would only appear once in the local results. This happened since duplicate content is filtered out by Google.
So if searched for a workers compensation lawyer in Phoenix, you get some results in the Local Finder. Out of these, some are using the same address and are all workers compensation lawyers. One would show and others would be filtered. But now you can see the most of the filtered ones if you zoom in on the map in the Local Finder.
At the same time, a business with two different listings (different names, phone numbers, websites and different addresses) would show up only once if they are in the same building (even though they have different addresses due to different suite numbers).
That means Google is not just filtering by looking at your address you enter in Google My Business, it is filtering based on affiliation as well as address.
Outside city limits?
Businesses that are located just outside the city limits have been finding it challenging to rank for any keywords that include that city name. Come Possum and such businesses rose in the ranks magically.
The Game Changes with the Searcher’s Location
The physical location of the searcher is more important than it was before. If you make the same search from two different locations, you may see different results and rankings. The farther you go from a city,the business is in, when searching, the more zoomed out the map gets, and the more a listing from the city may drop.
There’s everything in the Name
So far you were seeing similar results for “digital marketing agencyAustin”, “Austin digital marketing agency” or “digital marketing agency Austin TX”. The update changes that. Now you would see different results for even similar looking keywords searched.
A listing that gets filtered for one query can appear back in the local results when the state abbreviation is added.
Rankings are seeing a lot of changes these days. Google may still be testing the waters. The changes may stay or revert back.
The team at OgreLogic is looking for more changes and trends. If you find any, do share with us OgreLogic. We are a team of brand specialists, marketing gurus, thought leaders and development masterminds who spend every waking hour devising mechanisms and techniques for businesses to grow upon, around the world.