In the local SEO community, Google’s recent Possum update was a very big deal.
To those of us who regularly track the search results for local businesses, it was obvious there were massive changes on September 1. The SEO community as a whole has been relatively quiet about this huge update, and I believe this is because this update primarily impacted the Local/Maps search results and not organic.
SERP trackers like MozCast and Algoroo do a fabulous job of tracking changes in the search results, but this algorithm update didn’t seem to make any massive impact in the charts. I believe that is because local queries that trigger a 3-pack are only a fraction of what these programs track. In all likelihood, the majority of the SERPs they track would not contain a 3-pack — and therefore, big changes in the 3-pack wouldn’t necessarily show on the radar.
I wanted to know exactly how much of a shake-up this algorithm was when it came to just Local/Map results, so I reached out to Bright Local to track ranking for our clients. They track both organic ranking and ranking in the Local Finder (the list of local results you get when you click “more places” under the 3-pack). And our ranking reports scan daily, so it would be able to pick up any major changes, regardless of the day when it happened.
I asked them to look at the ranking trackers for 1,307 different businesses, which were tracking 14,242 keywords. Then we compared the difference between September 7 and August 31 (the date before Possum).