The most critical factor and the latest mantra in the domain of SEO is ‘change’ and the search engine that works as a game changer for the same is Google. It has been recently reported that Google has changed its search algorithm 500-600 times every year. These changes can be categorised as major and minor updates. While there have been minor updates are not being picked up on daily basis by users and SEO, there were also nine major updates to algorithms that have been reported in the past two years.

The two major updates done recently to the algorithms were witnessed in September for the year 2016 are Possum and Penguin 4.0. These updates agitated the whole community of SEO.

The name ‘Possum’ was suggested by Phil Rozek as many business owners thought that their business listing on Google is ruined, however, it’s not. The listings were only filtered. Hence it was inferred that they are playing ‘possum’. However, the major impact of these updates were seen over 3-pack and local finder. Right after this, another major impact hit organic results.

The main motive behind such major hiccups in algorithms might be the need of diversification in local results or avoiding spam from ranking. After going through dozens of ranking reports, it can be concluded that this is the biggest major update after Pigeon in 2014. This major change includes the change in Google’s filter applying to local results.

The first factor that played a major role in spiking the rank of businesses is based on the location such that if the enterprises falling on the external city limits witnessed a sharp rise in the ranking. Filtration also happened on the basis of address and affiliation. Initially, this filtering was happening for similar phone numbers as well as domains. All this can be easily understood by a simple example that if any business has segregated listings for individual practitioners and the practice itself. Profiles might be different but they will be linking to the same website and same phone number. Out of these plenty, only one or two will show up in the SERPs and rest would be filtered.


This is a sensible action as the duplicate content is organically filtered by Google automatically as the duplicacy tend to show tons of results to its users instead of only showing what is good for them for best SEO services. Due to the alteration in the basis of filtration the Google rankings got topsy turvy.

This update has also given importance to the physical location of the searcher. The search results should show the listing of the businesses which are closeby such that the keyword ranking will prove worthwhile both for the enterprise and the user. Hence it is very much critical that the searcher location is set on the right city while tracking the ranking.

Earlier Google used to filter out the websites organically that had a negative impact on the ranking but in case if the company has multiple sites, one or the other site might get filtered in the search results. If that site is filtered which included the local listing it may have a negative impact on the business. This is historically termed as ‘Tank ranking’.

Hence if there are two sites with a slight difference in the different versions of the website ten Google will not index both versions making the local filter and organic filter less connected with each other.


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