7 October 2016 | Team Tamar

Zoogle: Google’s Algorithm Menagerie #1 Possum

Welcome to Zoogle, your five part guide designed to help you navigate Google’s algorithm. We’re going to be taking you through the details of a few of Google’s major algorithm updates; from their purpose and use to their impact on SEO practices.

First in the zoo of Google’s algorithm updates is Possum. We’ll be telling you everything you need to know about the use and objective of the update to how it affects local businesses.

What is Possum?


Possum, the Google algorithm update, was introduced on the  1st September 2016 and focused on local search rankings. It’s the second most significant update for local SEO after Pigeon, which came out in 2014.

As with any algorithm update from Google, Possum’s objective is to improve accuracy, add diversity and prevent spam.

What is the Possum update?

Google map

Possum’s impact is mostly visible in the 3-pack local results and Google Maps Local Finder.

The significant changes are:

  1. Businesses that are not physically based within a city can now rank for keywords that include that particular city’s name.
  2. Multiple listings of the same business are now being collated into one. Google’s filters take into consideration the company address and the category of business the company falls into.
  3. The location of the ‘searcher’ is playing a much more significant role than before. Essentially, the further away a searcher is from the city the more zoomed out the results will be on the map.
  4. Search results in the local pack are more prominent when using keyword variations.
  5. Possum made the local filter more independent from the organic filter.

How will the Possum update impact local businesses?


Possum benefits businesses as they can now rank for the specific cities they service. It gives businesses from a  greater geographical area the chance to make it into the 3-pack and Google Map’s Local Finder.

This will in turn help to boost organic rankings for these local businesses. If you own more than one business under the same category, keep in mind that having the same address on your website will force Possum to collect and merge your listings and show only one of them in the search results.

How to boost your local rankings

If you want to target a local search ranking and you’re unsure how to proceed after the Possum update here are a few tips that we suggest you follow.

  • Make sure you have your business’s name, address and phone number matching exactly on your Google My Business page and your local landing pages.
  • Chase local reviews and build local links and citations.
  • It’s essential that you insert your city and region in your local landing page’s title tag, H1 tag, content, URL, and image ALT text
  • It’s also very important to ensure that the location of the person who is doing the search is set to the right city before you track your rankings.

If you would like any help with your local SEO following the Possum update, email talk@tamar.com and one of our team will be in touch.


Team Tamar