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When you own a local business, your survival depends on people knowing you’re there. That’s why nearly everyone has a website and desires to be more competitive online. But what happens if someone in your town Google’s for your services, but your name doesn’t pop up? These days, this is becoming quite common.

The reason why is the Google algorithm itself. Back in September 2016, it’s been reported, but not confirmed, that Google put in a new function for local packs. The fact that the update hasn’t been confirmed only leads SEO writers to speculate its existence due to the impact the change has made itself.

The Google Possum Update

The update is called Google Possum and it began with a noble cause. Google simply wanted to diversify the type of results a person gets. For example, if you own a pizza restaurant, you’d want people to be able to find you if they looked up “pizza places near me.” With the Possum update, a lot of businesses are finding themselves out of luck.

According to a survey, the update has affected as much as 64% of all local results found on Google. That’s astounding! It’s because the filter used only list relevant listings and blocks everything else. Meaning that your ‘authentic Italian pizza’ restaurant might show up in the ‘Italian food’ listing instead of the ‘pizza’ one.

This means numerous relevant search options are being filtered out, as Possum deems them irrelevant. There are a few reasons why this happens and there’s a way you can fix the issue on your own. First, let’s start with the reasons.

Personal Location: This idea is quite simple to understand. As society becomes more mobile oriented, Google is going to use your location to determine which establishment is closer to your physical location. That means if your business isn’t as close to their physical location as your competitor, you might not be a part of the local pack results.

Establishment Location: Many locations have multiple businesses sharing a single building. This might be more common with medical centers that host a variety of different services and doctors. If the ear guy is trying to rank using the same keywords as the oncologist (just an example), then only one of them will be presented. Not both.

Choosing Your Categories: Another big issue is a lot of smaller businesses aren’t as savvy as they should be when trying to market online. They often choose the wrong category, and because they don’t know much about SEO or online marketing, they don’t know what’s causing them not to rank where they obviously should. Be specific!

Beating Google Possum

There are several ways to correct the issues caused by Google Possum. They include:

  • Get more 5-star reviews than your competitor. Google will favor you!
  • Update all your listings.
  • Check your categories to make sure they match and are up to date.
  • Gain Google’s trust by being featured on quality sites. If you’re a BBB standout or belong to a local business association, that will weigh heavily in your favor if competitors don’t have it.
  • Go through and make sure you’re listed in as many directories as possible. Get your name out there, location, pictures (if possible), and keep it up to date.
  • Engage with your customers! They love it and so does Google.

Contact us today for your free Google Possum analysis.

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