Google’s New Local Pack Display

Written by: Jason Bayless | October 21, 2017

“Google’s new update called Google Possum is an algorithm that aims to thoroughly modify the local results of the search engine. Possum represents a strong evolution of the management of the “local pack” of Google. In this article, we will explain how this new algorithm functions. We will also explain changes in the local rankings and what it implies when searching for a local enterprise.

As the latest modification of Google’s local search algorithm, Possum modifies the rules for the ranking of businesses. Possum has passed largely unnoticed except in the world of SEO specialists. It is therefore necessary to count on the work of the SEO specialists to know what happens at the heart of the most used search engine on the planet.

As is often the case with Google, modifications to its algorithm are neither announced nor commented upon. Google has not released any communication about this change in its local ranking criteria. However, you still need to know about these changes to optimize your positioning. In summary, here is what changes in the local positioning criteria.

Since last September, a set of changes has come to impact the local pack. The local pack is the results window allowing Google to place on a map a selection of providers. These providers may be companies and public services that are displayed according to their location.

Not surprisingly, one of the keys to SEO is Google My Business. Businesses are invited to create one or, if they already exist as they are frequently automatically created by Google, to own it by clicking on the appropriate link. Then it should be updated frequently so that it has the best chance of attracting internet users and thus climbing up the rankings.

As a reminder, in order to define the ranking Google specifies that it takes into account the traffic generated on the site and the location and the compatibility between the search that was initiated and the category to which the business belongs. The click rate of the form could also be taken into account, although this hasn’t been confirmed by Google.

This algorithm mainly affects map results in search results, that is to say the display of the “”local pack”” in the engine. The local pack now shows three local results in a map, as well as the set of results displayed on the Google Maps interface. Google Possum is a new algorithm applied to the local search engine results, set up in the United States at the beginning of September, 2016 then quickly applied worldwide.

The name of this algorithm is not official. It has been given by the community and refers to the opossum, an animal that kills when it is in danger. As explained above, it was mainly the Google “local pack” that was modified by Google Possum. It was modified so that Google would be able to reduce the number of results that show up on a map when searching for a user.

What we now call the “local pack” is therefore the display of three results on a map for certain queries. Some SEO specialists have concentrated on testing and discovering the new criteria of this algorithm and the criteria modified by the algorithm. Since the Pigeon algorithm dating from 2014, the local ranking criteria had not really changed until the introduction of Google Possum in September 2016.”