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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Possum Update Analysis - Biggest Google Local Update Since Pigeon via Joy Hawkins

    One of the people I respect in Local Search these days and I'd say the one that's done the most dissecting of the new Google Local "Possum" update, is Joy Hawkins.

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    She shares her findings after evaluating dozens of listings that had major ranking shifts.
    (Some up, some down.)

    She also explains that much of what we are seeing is not listing penalties but just Google filtering out results for various reasons, which she explains.

    Additionally, Joy says that with this new update it's more important than ever to use a tool that let's you pretend you are searching from the query city.


    Everything you need to know about Google's 'Possum' algorithm 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.

    What do you think about Joy's Search Engine Land post?

    Are you seeing similar results?

    Have any other theories?
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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  3. #2
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    Re: Possum Update Analysis - Biggest Google Local Update Since Pigeon via Joy Hawkins

    Also be sure to read up on our original thread, which has 85 comments from pros, discussing what they are seeing/suspect so far & what they recommend focusing on:

    A lot of movement in the 3-pack / Local Finder
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  4. #3
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    Re: Possum Update Analysis - Biggest Google Local Update Since Pigeon via Joy Hawkins

    Great article Joy (as usual ). Thanks for sharing your findings.
    Scott Rawlins - Find Local Company in Atlanta GA
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    Re: Possum Update Analysis - Biggest Google Local Update Since Pigeon via Joy Hawkins

    Very nice article Joy. I think you summed up what both you and others have reported in threads here on the forum quite nicely.

    Thanks for the share Linda!
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    Re: Possum Update Analysis - Biggest Google Local Update Since Pigeon via Joy Hawkins

    Thanks everyone! Hopefully I will learn more and get some success stories of getting unfiltered. It will be interesting to see if the filter runs in real time or on cycles. Based on what I have seen in the last 6-months, it's not real time. I believe the last one ran in July. It feels kind of Penguin-like.

    Joy Hawkins
    Owner of Sterling Sky
    Author of The Expert's Guide to Local SEO, a 270+ page training manual that is updated monthly and contains advanced tips and tactics for Local SEO that actually work and drive results.

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    Re: Possum Update Analysis - Biggest Google Local Update Since Pigeon via Joy Hawkins

    Nice summary Joy, thanks.

    I'm surprised about your "not within city limits" observation. I have an auto repair client in a similar situation but he's actually dropped for most of his kw's + city, though he did jump in searches without "city". He ranks really well organically (that hasn't changed, sometimes he's the 1st or 2nd local biz) but he's just cursed with that location outside the city. Have you seen any others that didn't spike?

  8. #7
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    Re: Possum Update Analysis - Biggest Google Local Update Since Pigeon via Joy Hawkins

    Tony,

    Is he actually in another city? The ones I saw jump a lot were not technically "in" any city and also had a postal address in the city they rose in ranking for. One was in Miami, another in Tampa etc (all major metro cities).

    Joy Hawkins
    Owner of Sterling Sky
    Author of The Expert's Guide to Local SEO, a 270+ page training manual that is updated monthly and contains advanced tips and tactics for Local SEO that actually work and drive results.

  9. #8
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    Re: Possum Update Analysis - Biggest Google Local Update Since Pigeon via Joy Hawkins

    His postal address is Allen, TX (a decent sized suburb of north Dallas) but Maps shows him just inside of Parker, TX, a tiny city of mostly farmland and some houses.

    He told me both cities (and maybe even the county, don't remember) bounced him around for a permit (or something) when he first located there, everyone said that location belonged to someone else.

  10. #9
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    Re: Possum Update Analysis - Biggest Google Local Update Since Pigeon via Joy Hawkins

    Tony,

    That's probably different than the cases I was referring to since both are cities. I'm assuming they would rank okay for Parker then? All my examples were businesses that didn't have another city they fit into (most were in Census-Designated Places).
    Joy Hawkins
    Owner of Sterling Sky
    Author of The Expert's Guide to Local SEO, a 270+ page training manual that is updated monthly and contains advanced tips and tactics for Local SEO that actually work and drive results.

  11. #10
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    Re: Possum Update Analysis - Biggest Google Local Update Since Pigeon via Joy Hawkins

    Yeah, looks like you're right. No one actually searches for his city because it's so small with almost no business, so I guess he's just in a tough spot, although he used to rank in the top 7 :-(

    Also, if he were located 30 ft away he'd be in unincorprated land (Mapmaker give just street name and state, no city).

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