Have you heard of Possum? No, not the tree-dwelling Australasian marsupial. I’m referring to Google’s significant local search algorithm update early last month.
Google’s new Possum Update directly impacts how home improvement businesses rank in Google’s Local Pack. Google’s Local Pack is the map that displays following a search, accompanied by three (free) listings from local companies. See example at right on a search for “gutter cleaning.”
With its Possum Update, Google (rightly) moves away from displaying businesses in its Local Pack based just based on a homeowner’s location.
In this way, the Possum Update helps to ensure the most appropriate businesses are displayed in response to a homeowner’s search.
The Possum Update is good news for home improvement companies. That’s because it places more emphasis on companies’ relevance to homeowners’ searches, rather than proximity. It promotes home improvement companies with more accurate territory coverage, versus those that are simply located nearby to the homeowner.
In short, listings for home improvement companies displayed in Google’s Local Pack will now better reflect those that are “the best” for a homeowner’s needs, rather than just “the closest.” The update also helps to eliminate spam from displaying, freeing up additional space for more relevant companies.
Let’s say you’re a gutter repair company. While your office may be in Newton, Massachusetts, you likely serve several additional surrounding towns. Before the Possum Update, Google would not display your company in the Local Pack when a homeowner in the neighboring town of Dedham conducted a Google search for “gutter repair company Dedham.”
Now with the Possum Update, your chances are much better for being included in the valuable Local Pack space. The Possum update goes hand-in-hand with Google’s Local Pack Ads (see my blog, “More Leads Through Google’s New Local Pack Ads”) coming later this year. Local Pack Ads enable home improvement companies to buy paid search ads across the entire territory they serve, and be featured at the top of Google’s Local Pack.
Google’s Possum Update, along with its upcoming Local Pack Ads, is another step forward for Google as the search engine seeks to better serve buyers of local services.
So how do you get your business a prime listing in Google’s updated Local Pack? If you have a strong Web site and Google Business listing, your chances are better.
Here’s my advice: don’t play possum on this. Ensure your Google Business listing includes your territory, as Google’s algorithms draws on this material more and more.
Careful care and feeding of your website’s SEO strategy – including your keywords and a good amount of inbound links – will also provide a solid opportunity to be found by the homeowners you’re targeting.
This will in turn drive more sales leads and result in more business for your home improvement company.