Google’s latest algorithm update, known as “Possum,” includes substantial changes to the way local searches are processed. How this will impact your business depends largely on your internet marketing strategies. However, Possum has the potential to dramatically increase local search rankings for your business. Here are five important factors you should consider.
1. Prior to the Possum update, businesses located outside city limits were often omitted from local map listings. Searches for your city name and business type were unlikely to return your practice and or even show your location on the map itself. Possum has corrected this oversight. Today, local searches consider the address, as well as physical location. In many cases, practices whose local listings were several pages deep are now in the first two or three pages of results. By capitalizing on this algorithm-generated boost, a business may achieve higher local rankings than were previously possible.
2. Greater weight is being placed on the physical location of the person making the search. Since the update, the closer a person is to a business, the more likely it will appear in their local results. Before, a practice could rank locally in areas that were further away due to the use of keywords like “dentist near me.” Now, results are more strongly skewed in favor of the actual location of the person searching.
3. Google now shows even less favor to duplicate content. Multiple listings for different business branches or practice locations that are hosted on the same website are now unlikely to rank with more than one listing. While the other listings are not removed, Google displays only the most relevant unique results based on the search terms. Be aware that if you are practicing in a building where another dentist has an office, it is possible that only one of the listings will appear in a search.
4. Search phrases are making a greater impact since the Possum update. The top 3 in the local section is now more likely to return exact phrase combinations. Word choice and order are more sensitive than before the update, and minor variation may provide completely different results.
5. Local and organic listings now operate independently. Prior to the update, local and organic rankings often contained a large amount of overlap. With Possum, this is no longer the case. The same business may now find that they are ranked number 2 locally, but on page 20 organically. New marketing strategies may be necessary to provide your desired results.
If you haven’t done so already, take a few minutes to see how you are ranking with Google today. Consider your marketing plan and whether it may be time for a change.