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The latest Google Algorithm Update

A Google Algorithm Update, as I’ve written about before is an important part of improving the user experience when it comes to search.  This is based on helping find relevant and quality results to a search query. In recent months there have been updates including Panda 4.0 and “Phantom 2”.

Another google algorithm update which was released at a similar time called Possum slipped under the radar. A lot of industry experts wondered whether numerous updates would be rolled out in a short space of time however there is form for this. In April of 2012, when Google rolled out Panda, then Penguin 1.0, and then Panda again, all within 10 days. (Search Engine Land)

So what is Google Possum?

In early September 2016 SEO professionals and webmasters began to notice a range of changes. There was the roll out of Penguin 4.0, but also a notable change when it came to local SEO. This is due to what has become known as the Possum Google Algorithm Update. The update is called Possum due to SEO expert Phil Rozek of Local Visibility System He suggested users thought their business was dead in terms of search, but with the update is just ‘playing possum’

What are the key elements of possum?

  • Location – in the past a business that was not within a town or city centre would get less prominence on a SERP than those in a central location. Since the Possum update these businesses have seen a spike in traffic. According to Joy Hawkins at Search Engine Land:

“For instance, Direct Inspections, located just outside Sarasota, FL, jumped from 31 to 10 for its keywords “Home Inspector Sarasota,” a substantial increase. That’s essentially moving from page 3 of organic search results to page 1.”


  • Better Filtering? – research and testing has shown that the filtering of results for a query is better. For example two dentists operating from the same practise would get a listing each previously before, whereas now only one result will be served each time (this does vary) which gives the user more variety of results. This local filtering appears to run as a separate entity to the organic algorithm, so businesses with poor SEO may still have a shot at appearing in local results.

Other features of the Possum Google Algorithm Update

The location of the user is important – different people will see different things in different locations. Alongside this slight variations of the same keyword phrases can produce different results – for example “digital marketing Harrogate” “Harrogate digital marketing” “digital marketing agency Harrogate” can all show you different results.

The Impact of The Possum Algorithm Update

From an SEO perspective the Possum update can be seen as a welcome addition. It gives more business chance to be found in a local search, and helps those that have struggled previously, get a foot on the ladder. From the user’s point of view then better more relevant search results should be the outcome of this as they get a broader spectrum of results.

Local SEO is something we know a lot about at Zelst. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business be found in local searches and more – and for any other digital marketing needs!