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Google’s recent update positively impacts local businesses

In mid-September 2016 Google updated their local search algorithm. The update, nicknamed “Possum”, updates the algorithm’s ranking signals to improve results for local businesses. With the Possum algorithm change, Google is rewarding both local small businesses and the searchers who search for those local businesses.

Google is now applying filters to reward certain businesses that are physically closest to the searchers as well as optimizing their location data and content for local search. The physical location of the searcher is more important than ever before; it determines which businesses will be shown in the results. In addition, the size of the business will not impact the ranking; large businesses will not overshadow smaller businesses just because they are bigger and have a larger website/domain.

Here is an example:

Before the Possum Update: If a person who lives in Austin, Texas searches for dermatologists in Austin, he will probably be shown the listing of a local large hospital (including all the dermatologists that are employed there) because it has enough domain strength to be at the top of the listings. But what if the searcher wants to find a local dermatologist instead of a hospital?

After the Possum Update: The searcher, when shown listings from the search, would not be shown the hospital dominating the results. Instead, the searcher would be shown listings of smaller independent dermatologists that are closer to the searcher’s residence.

Google is making it easier for small businesses to display to their local customers by making it harder for giant brands such as Amazon or giant businesses such as shopping malls to dominate search results simply because of their size, prominence or quantity of similar businesses contained within. This is very important for brick-and-mortar businesses that rely on local traffic for business. At this point research into the update indicates that this particular update only impacts the ranking in the ads at the top of the listings (the “3-pack”) and Local Finder results (meaning: the local results or Google Maps results).

For a business to take advantage of this change, they must update their location and other information on their website, their listing on Google and with other third-parties that list their businesses. KEO Marketing has a group of search engine marketing (SEM) experts who can help you update your listings and thereby benefit from this update. For more information, contact KEO Marketing or call us at 888-702-0679.

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.