Google’s Local Search & Maps Update

Orlando Local SEO

On September 1st 2016, Google Included an update to its local algorithm in its Google search and map results. The local SEO community has dubbed this update “Possum” because many business owners, as well as some of our clients, thought that their businesses listings had been removed. Don’t worry this is not the case. They are however being filtered out.

This update seems to only affect the local 3 pack results that shows up at the top of Google Search and Maps. There was an additional update that followed that impacted the quality of the search results. The total affect of both of these updates was to improve the quality of local searches and try to filter out spam listings that have been a problem for a while now.

At this point Google has not commented on the update leading people to believe that they are still tweaking the system and more changes could be on the way.

Below we have put together the best information we know right now to give you some idea of what is going on. When Google comes forward with more information, we will make sure to keep you informed.

1. Location, Location, Location

Now with the update, location is more important than ever whether that is the physical address of the company or the location of the individual performing a search.

Since the update several SEO companies have reported that their clients’ listings on Google Maps change drastically depending on where the search is performed. This indicates that Google is filtering the results and trying to match to the person performing the search. We will have to wait for Google to give the specifics but other businesses just outside of cities have reported that they are getting much better rankings.

2. Google Now Takes Into Account Address and Affiliation

With this update even businesses that have different names, addresses, and phone numbers but are owned by the same person are not showing up either. It appears that this is happening to businesses of the same industry that share a building as well. It should be noted that these listings are not suspended. They still showing up however you will have to zoom in on the location on Google maps.

3. Slight Variations on Search Terms Might Have A Bigger Impact

SEO experts have reported that slight changes in a particular search terms are having very different results. Searching “Home Inspector Orlando” will have a different result than “Orlando Home Inspector” in the 3-pack in search and maps.

4. Activity Matters

Something that we have seen personally as well as other SEO companies, is that the visibility of a listing is at least partially based on the given activity of that account. So if that account is not posting articles, videos, etc. Their visibility in Google Maps and Google search will be affected.

5. The New Local Filter Is Independent from The Local Rankings

It has always been the case that the amount of activity of business’s on Google+ page affected ranking a little bit but now this factor is taken into account with this new local filter. This new filter will now be a consideration when doing local SEO in the future. Once the dust settles the SEO industry will be able to take this into account for its clients.


So what should you do with your business’s website with all these new changes? At the moment Google has not commented on this new local filter, which leads many SEO experts to agree that it is still being tested and worked on. It’s hard to say how a lot of these details will shake out in the end but here are two things that you can do in the mean time.

Be More Active On Your Businesses Google+ account.
The purpose of this update is to separate spammy listings from the real ones. Set yourself a part by being active. When you log into Google My Business you can follow a link to its Google+ account. Use this to post an update of some kind. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Maybe take a picture of the job you are doing that day or just a few words on what you have to offer customers. Once or twice a month will do it.

Keep An Eye On Your Rankings
Search for your business using relevant keywords and see how you are placing. Remember to try this at home or anywhere else you can. Just notice the changes from location to location. As more is learned about this update you will know how to maintain your visibility.

Orlando SEO Agency

Do you need help updating your Google My Business page? Would you like to improve your website’s SEO? We can help you rank higher in Google results. Contact us for a free quote!


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