Googles Possum update changed 64% of local SERPs!

An interesting study carried out by the columnist Joy Hawkins highlighted how Google's Possum could affect your (SERP) Search Engine Results Page. We share some of Joy's data and insights below from a study she carried with BrightLocal, which compared local results before and after the update.

In the local SEO community, Google’s recent Possum update was certainly an eye opener if not a game changer. Here is what Joy had to say.

"To those of us who regularly track the search results for local businesses, it was obvious there were massive changes on September 1. The SEO community as a whole has been relatively quiet about this huge update, and I believe this is because this update primarily impacted the Local/Maps search results and not organic..

SERP trackers like MozCast and Algoroo do a fabulous job of tracking changes in the search results, but this algorithm update didn’t seem to make any massive impact in the charts. I believe that is because local queries that trigger a 3-pack are only a fraction of what these programs track. In all likelihood, the majority of the SERPs they track would not contain a 3-pack — and therefore, big changes in the 3-pack wouldn’t necessarily show on the radar.I wanted to know exactly how much of a shake-up this algorithm was when it came to just Local/Map results, so I reached out to Bright Local to track ranking for our clients. They track both organic ranking and ranking in the Local Finder (the list of local results you get when you click “more places” under the 3-pack). And our ranking reports scan daily, so it would be able to pick up any major changes, regardless of the day when it happened

I wanted to know exactly how much of a shake-up this algorithm was when it came to just Local/Map results, so I reached out to Bright Local to track ranking for our clients. They track both organic ranking and ranking in the Local Finder (the list of local results you get when you click “more places” under the 3-pack). And our ranking reports scan daily, so it would be able to pick up any major changes, regardless of the day when it happened..

What they ended up finding was that, across all the reports:

  • 9% of the keywords had the business pop into the Local Finder when they weren’t there previously.

  • 11% of the keywords showed the business had increased in position by three or more positions.

  • 15% of the keywords showed the business had increased in position by one to two positions.

  • 35% of the keywords showed no change in position for the business.

  • 15% of the keywords showed the business had decreased by one to two positions.

  • 14% of the keywords showed the business had decreased by more than three positions

In other words, 64% of keywords saw some type of change.

As we know, SERPs can change daily without an algorithm update, but the important thing to note here is the vastness of the change. For example, 34 percent of the keywords saw some type of significant change, with a “significant change” being defined as a business shifting three or more positions or a business appearing in results when previously they weren’t even listed in the top three pages (60 positions) in the Local Finder."

Although the above was collated in the US, the Possum algorithm will give hope to those businesses with listings further on down the SERP chain. We will continue monitoring the updates for you and keep you in the loop.

If you would like to hear more about our services and find out how to increase your SERP please contact the SEO Flatrate team you call or email the office we are here Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm

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