What is Google Possum

In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), Google’s algorithm updates can significantly impact the visibility and ranking of websites. One such update that gained attention in the SEO community is called Google Possum. In this article, we will explore what Google Possum is, how it works, and its implications for local SEO.


Search engine result pages (SERPs) play a crucial role in connecting users with relevant information or local businesses. To ensure the best user experience, Google frequently updates its search algorithms. Google Possum, released in September 2016, brought several changes to how local businesses are ranked in Google’s local search results.

What is Google Possum?

Google Possum is an algorithmic update that aimed to provide more diverse and accurate search results for local queries. The primary focus of Google Possum was to filter out spam and improve the quality of local search results. This update affected the rankings and visibility of businesses primarily in the local pack and the local finder.

How does Google Possum work?

Google Possum introduced changes to how Google’s algorithm handles location-based queries and local search results. Before the update, businesses located outside the physical city limits often struggled to rank in local search results. However, with Google Possum, businesses located just outside the city limits experienced improved visibility and rankings.

Impact of Google Possum on Local SEO

Increased importance of proximity

Google Possum gave increased importance to proximity when determining local search results. Businesses closer to the location specified in the search query often received higher rankings. This change aimed to provide users with more relevant results based on their geographical proximity.

Filtering of similar businesses

Google Possum also implemented filtering mechanisms to ensure diversity in search results. Previously, similar businesses in close proximity might have been grouped together in the local pack, resulting in reduced visibility. After the update, Google filtered out businesses that offered similar services or were located in the same building.

Expanded reach for businesses outside city limits

With Google Possum, businesses located outside the city limits had an improved chance to rank in local search results. The update expanded the reach of businesses in nearby areas, benefiting both users looking for local services and businesses trying to increase their visibility.

Strategies to adapt to Google Possum

To adapt to the changes brought by Google Possum and optimize local SEO efforts, businesses can implement the following strategies:

Optimize Google My Business listing

A well-optimized Google My Business (GMB) listing is essential for local SEO success. Ensure that your GMB listing is accurate, complete, and up to date with relevant information, such as business hours, contact details, and service offerings. Regularly monitor and respond to customer reviews to build trust and credibility.

Local content optimization

Create locally-focused content on your website that incorporates relevant keywords and location-specific information. This can help improve your website’s visibility in local search results. Consider creating blog posts, landing pages, or FAQs that address local concerns, events, or specific services related to your business.

Focus on positive reviews

Google values positive reviews from customers. Encourage your satisfied customers to leave reviews on your GMB listing. Respond to reviews promptly and professionally, addressing any concerns or issues raised by customers. Positive reviews not only improve your online reputation but also contribute to better rankings in local search results.

The role of citations in Google Possum

Citations, which are mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP), play a vital role in local SEO and were further emphasized by Google Possum. Ensure that your NAP information is consistent across all online platforms, including your website, GMB listing, local directories, and social media profiles. Inaccurate or inconsistent citations can negatively impact your visibility in local search results.

Avoiding common pitfalls with Google Possum

To ensure your local SEO efforts align with Google Possum’s guidelines, avoid the following common pitfalls:

Avoiding spammy techniques

Engaging in spammy techniques, such as keyword stuffing, duplicate listings, or creating fake reviews, can result in penalties from Google. It is crucial to adopt ethical SEO practices that focus on providing value to users and complying with Google’s guidelines.

Consistency across online platforms

Maintain consistency in your business’s information across different online platforms. Inconsistencies in business name, address, or phone number can confuse search engines and negatively impact your local rankings. Regularly audit and update your online profiles to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Accurate categorization

Select the most appropriate category for your business when creating or updating your GMB listing. Accurate categorization helps Google understand your business better and ensures your listing appears in relevant search results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQ 1: How can I optimize my Google My Business listing?

To optimize your Google My Business listing, ensure that you provide complete and accurate information, including your business name, address, phone number, website URL, and business hours. Regularly update your listing with fresh photos, respond to customer reviews, and use relevant keywords in your business description.

FAQ 2: Does Google Possum affect organic search results?

No, Google Possum primarily impacts local search results, specifically the local pack and local finder. Organic search results are influenced by a different set of ranking factors.

FAQ 3: Can Google Possum impact my website’s ranking?

While Google Possum’s primary focus is on local search results, it indirectly affects website rankings as well. Improved visibility in local search results can drive more traffic to your website and potentially boost its organic rankings.

FAQ 4: Is proximity the only factor that matters for local SEO?

Proximity is an important factor for local SEO, but it is not the only one. Other factors, such as relevance, prominence, and the quality of your GMB listing and online reviews, also influence your local rankings.

FAQ 5: Are there any penalties associated with Google Possum?

Google Possum itself does not impose penalties. However, engaging in spammy or unethical SEO practices can lead to penalties from Google, affecting your local search rankings.


Google Possum has brought significant changes to local SEO, emphasizing proximity, filtering similar businesses, and expanding the reach of businesses outside city limits. To succeed in local search rankings, it is crucial to optimize your Google My Business listing, create locally-focused content, focus on positive reviews, maintain consistent citations, and avoid spammy techniques. By adapting to these strategies and staying within Google’s guidelines, businesses can enhance their visibility and attract more local customers.

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