At the start of September (2016) SEOs and webmasters everywhere saw big fluctuations, the initial thoughts pointed towards it being the long anticipated Penguin update, but it was a different beast brewing entirely.

Dubbed “Possum” the unconfirmed Google update has undoubtedly had the biggest impact on local search and local SEO since the 2014 Pigeon update, and the Venice update before that.

But what does Possum mean for businesses based in Virginia who primarily target a local audience?

Businesses that are not in the center of the city got a boost

For a long time it was important that you had an address near the center of the city, now that seems to have loosened up a bit. This means that businesses who are based outside of the city limits, but serve the city the same as any business geographically in the heart of the city are now more competitive on the SERPs.

Filtering of local results that share the same address

If you share an office with other people, you may be subject to filtering. This may also be a way to prevent false local business verifications. This means that if you rent an office or a ‘virtual office’ you could see it’s effectiveness begin to diminish.

Searcher location / IP is more important

Different results are being served up based on locations. If you’re tracking your rankings in any kind of rank tracker, you’ll want to use the localized feature. This means that it’s now harder to fake being in areas of Virginia that you’re not or that you’re unable to serve.

Long tails provide more variation in results

Different results are being served up for variations of keywords, city and state combinations. This may also just be shuffling of the SERPs, but it’s a good idea to have all these variations in your link building and on your site.

Local and organic became more disconnected

Google seems to be going back and forth on this. We’ve seen previous updates where if you rank well organically, you would rank well locally in maps, but with this update it seems to regress a little bit back.

Have you been affected by the Possum update, or any other Google algorithm update? Or would you like to talk about increasing your local visibility on Google, contact us today.