Google confirm Local SEO update
A few days ago, Google confirmed that the multiple reports of a local search update were true. We noticed changes from around the start of November and after the confirmation by Google on the 2nd December, we can now confirm that our suspicions are correct.
Google posted the details on the @searchliason Twitter account, stating “In early November, we began making use of neural matching as part of the process of generating local search results. Neural matching allows us to better understand how words are related to concepts”
What is Neural Matching?
It’s great that Google confirmed the update for us all, as this sometimes isn’t the case. They also provided some further information on Neural Matching too, tweeting “Neural matching is an AI-based system Google began using in 2018 primarily to understand how words are related to concepts. It’s like a super-synonym system. Synonyms are words that are closely related to other words”.
This is really advanced stuff which essentially confirms that Google is getting even smarter when it comes to figuring out what you’re searching for. One example which Google gave regarding Neural Matching was if you search ‘Why does my TV look strange’, it’s related to something known as the ‘soap opera’ effect. Google would now show pages about the ‘soap opera’ effect.
What this is doing is understanding what the user is searching for and returning the answer, even if the user isn’t using the exact words. Previously, the search engine might have shown a blog post about your television looking strange. Then you might have a few answers to Google and work out which is correct. With this new update, it is now it is getting more to the root of the search, almost like cutting out the middle search.
What does this mean for my business?
Well according to Google, it means absolutely nothing. They have stated that there are no required changes a business owner needs to make. However, Danny Sullivan, who manages the @searchliason account stated that neural matching was impacting 30% of queries! So what can you do to ensure your business listings improve?
Google have said that relevance, prominence and distance are the keys to having good local search ranking. So the first port of call is to review your local SEO strategy and make sure that you’re relevant to your audience. With the Neural Matching update, Google are understanding relevance more and more – this means that your business needs to have the correct content to help Google understand your business more.
Another thing to do is ensure that your Google My Business profile is in line with your website. What I mean by this is making sure that all the details in GMB, such as opening hours, address and phone number all match up with the same details on your website. This has to be right to the exact character, if your GMB listing says +44 instead of 0, make sure it is +44 on your website too.
If you don’t quite understand this process or you’d like some help implementing this, give us a call on 0113 251 504