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MARCH 17, 2022



There is nothing more gratifying for a business than to see your company listed at the top of a search engine results page (SERP). This is especially true if you have a solid number of positive reviews with star ratings displayed. So how does a business get to this coveted position? The key lies in two factors: Your business’ effective optimization and Google Possum.

That’s right. It is called “Possum” and it is the name for the algorithm Google uses to sort, sift, and determine who gets to display at the top of the search engine results. Possum came to life in 2016 and is continually under refinement by Google since.

Google caters to two types of search parties – those on a mobile device and those seeking a business “near me,” “closest,” “nearby,” “closest to me” and “open.” Of all these search terms, “near me” is by far the leader of the pack. Combine that term with those using voice recognition on a mobile phone to submit the search and you have the most popular user for Google. Hence, Google tailors its algorithms to that which represents the most common user of their data.

So how does a business keep ahead of “The Possum”? Here are some recommendations.

  1. Tailor your site content to match more closely what you think users might ask before they get to your business. Remember that Google is just a patchwork of servers, so your site content should be something written that machines can easily assimilate, store and match. For instance, if you are an automotive repair shop, you might have educational content about when to replace brake linings.
  2. Look at your FAQ page content and determine if the content is written to match search strings users would ask in the Google search bar.
  3. Add structured data to your pages. If you are unfamiliar with this code snippet practice and its importance to search engine optimization health and functionality, consult with your web developer or contact FIVE for assistance.
  4. Have great content on your site. Product or service promotion is one factor, but what keeps readers engaged is finding content that somehow connects your products, services, or food menu to their needs or aspirations. As an example, if you are a bakery, you might talk about the relative merits of gluten-free flour in baked goods for those who have this type of food intolerance.
  5. Optimize your website for speedy mobile device rendering. This cannot be stressed enough. Google looks to favor websites with top search engine results display when users are engaged by what they see. If the mobile version of your site is long to load, difficult to navigate, and hard to assimilate the text content, your chances of getting to the top of search engine results may not be as expected.
  6. Set up your company’s Google Business Profile. Previously, this Google product was named “Google My Business.” Verify that all company information is accurate. It is vital that your website and Google Business Profile have EXACT matching data as far as the name, address, phone number, product pricing (as applicable), and operating hours information. If your company name has a suffix such as LLC, Inc, Ltd., or other such incarnations, verify every occurrence on both site and Google Business Profile match character for character.
  7. Positive and numerous reviews are key when it comes to harvesting new customers. The first thing users do when perusing your Google Business Profile is whether previous customers have left glowing reviews. It is a strong barometer of a business that values its customers by providing great service, food, or products. Potential customers use reviews as their final affirmation that their decision to patronize your business was a wise choice.

Changing your Google business presence typically takes about 24-72 hours to recognize, so be patient if the changes are not immediately displayed. However, patience does pay off and the results are worthwhile.

If you are short of time or in-house talent to process these recommendations, contact FIVE. The studio loves to help businesses be found and prosper.