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Magic Pixel Dust for Possum: Boosting Google’s Local Search Results

Jon Haslett

Jon Haslett

Managing Director at Dash
Jon Haslett

Jon Haslett

Managing Director at Dash

Did you know that 87 percent of people who own smartphones will use their phone’s browser to search for a local service? Most phones feature technologies that allow Google to identify where the user is, which points them towards the business closest to them. Because of this, if you don’t optimise your business’s website for local search results, you could miss out on potential new clients and customers. If you aren’t sure where to begin, don’t worry – just keep reading to learn much more.

Understanding Google Possum

Google often changes its algorithms, but rarely confirms when such algorithms change. As such, small business owners rely on SEO experts to identify when changes happen so that they can optimise their website accordingly.

One change the SEO world is sure of is Possum. After beginning in September 2016, Possum started to emphasise local search engine optimisation. Google realised that customers searching for hairdressers from their phones in Brisbane were reaching sites in the wrong area of the city. This wasn’t conducive to their web experience. This is why Possum aims to help web users find the right services quickly.

When presenting results to users, Google’s Possum algorithm used two factors: the site’s relevance to the user’s search terms and where the business is located. Unfortunately, this made life difficult for business owners who shared the same building or those who were close together. Some companies found they were receiving less traffic because similar businesses were climbing the search results while they were falling.

Using Possum to Enhance Your Local SERPs

Although Google never confirms its algorithm updates, those businesses experiencing problems with Possum found their rankings recovered in August of 2017. Some theories suggest that Google toned down its approach to local SEO, making it easier for businesses to benefit from the changes without losing potential customers.

Now that Possum is less problematic, it’s important to investigate ways to maximise your local SEO. How you achieve this depends on your website’s design, as well as using the best off-site tools.
The end goal is to make sure your site is mobile user-friendly.

Today, most Google users search for services using a phone or tablet. If they’re doing this while on the move, they need to access a site that works on a variety of mobile devices. Approximately 47 per cent of users expect a website to load in less than two seconds. As such, impatient web users may head to another competitor if your site takes a while to load. Other ways to make sure your site is mobile user-friendly include:

  • Make sure your site is easy to navigate. Consider how comfortable you would feel browsing your website as a customer and how annoying it would be to make adjustments if it’s difficult.
  • Make sure your approach to SEO includes target keywords. Smart SEO involves including keywords in your onsite content, meta descriptions and title tags.
  • Fill your site with helpful and engaging content. While you want to promote your business and its services, users are more likely to engage with you if your content is useful. At the same time, you can earn higher rankings through organic SEO.

Other Sites and Tools to Boost Your Ranking

Google provides a service called “Google My Business.” In simple terms, this tool allows you to claim your business location on Google maps. When users search for your business niche in your area, it’s more likely to appear on their screens. Here are some other useful tips:

  • Add your site to local business directories. Such directories may include Yelp, the Better Business Bureau and Facebook. When you use these directories, you earn quality backlinks, which then encourage Google to rank your business higher than your competitors.
  • Don’t shy away from adding your business to review sites. Google loves reviews, so if you generate lots of positive ones, you’ll benefit from a higher ranking and an increased chance of customers using you.

Overall, maximising Possum’s latest changes and using its benefits requires some calculated approaches. From onsite SEO to offsite linking, each ingredient convinces Google your site is worth placing above your competitors. The result: you attract more customers and clients, leading to better revenue and growth for your business.


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