Sydney SEO Consultant’s Study shows Google’s Possum update altered Local SERPs by 64%

Google Possum Update

Sydney SEO Consultant’s Study shows Google’s Possum update altered Local SERPs by 64%

The information in this article has been taken from “Hawkins insights and data gleaned from a study by BrightLocal, comparing local results from before and after Google’s update” with Business Pages.

Google’s latest Possum update was a major concern to local SEO. To those who keep track of local business search results, September 1 brought on some incredible changes. Despite this, the SEO community in general has remained somewhat quiet regarding these changes – most likely due to the fact the main changes concerned Local/Map search results rather than organic results.

Curious as to precisely how much the overhaul of this algorithm impacted SEO regarding only Local & Map results, I contacted our Sydney SEO consultant with the intention to find out if they do a ranking check for our customers. They specialise in tracking organic and local listings. As our own reports are done weekly any major fluctuations would be spotted easily.

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When investigated, we found that across all reports:

  • 9% of keywords put the business in the Local Finder – when they weren’t previously there.
  • 11% of keywords indicated the business increased by at least three positions.
  • 15% of keywords showed the business increased by one or two positions.
  • 35% of keywords had no position change for the business.
  • 15% of keywords indicated the business had decreased one or two positions.
  • 14% of keywords showed the business decreased more than three positions.
  • Essentially, 64% of keywords displayed a change of some description after the Possum update.
  • We already know SERPs can alter daily without any algorithm updates, but the significant point found was the enormity of the change. For instance, 34% of the keywords had some sort of substantial change – a ‘substantial change’ expressed as a business moving at least three positions, or a business appearing in in the Local Finder when they hadn’t previously.
  • What now then?
  • The last month or so have been spent analysing lots of specific circumstances for companies to establish patterns for what had changed.

Currently, it’s essential for local SEO specialists to take time to analyse changes to help distinguish which Local Ranking Factors changed due to the Possum update. Up to now, I’ve been recognising that answers are starting to become increasingly difficult to find, as Google’s algorithm gets more complex. It is no longer a game of keyword-stuffing or getting as many reviews as possible – methods that worked wonders once upon a time.

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