For those of you wondering what “Possum” is, it’s the name we in the local search community decided to give the massive Local algorithm update that happened September 1, 2016.
Phil Rozek suggested the name, pointing out that it is fitting since many business owners think their Google My Business listings are gone, when in fact they are not. They have just been filtered — they’re playing possum.
What was the update?
All the evidence seems to indicate this particular update only impacted ranking in the 3-pack and Local Finder (AKA the local results or Google Maps results). There is talk of another update that happened right after, which impacted organic results.
I believe the main purpose of the update was to diversify the local results and also prevent spam from ranking as well.
Based on the dozens of ranking reports I’ve analyzed, I would say this is the biggest update we have seen in Local since Pigeon in 2014. One of the main things that updated was Google’s filter that applies to the local results.
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