Google Confirms the November 2019 Local Search Update

Google Confirms the November 2019 Local Search Update

In November there were some rumours that Google was about to introduce changes in local search. Now, everything is cut and dried – the November update was mainly about local search results and it resulted from the implementation of neural matching.

On December 2 @SearchLiason confirmed on Twitter that Google introduced neural matching in the process of generating local search results. This change to the algorithm was officially named “Nov. 2019 Local Search Update”.

The update was implemented globally, which means that it works for all Google versions around the world.

Neural matching – what is it?

Neural matching was introduced to support searching in 2018 and initially worked for about 30% of all searches. As you can see, Google is still working on expanding its reach and this time it focused on local search. It’s a system based on AI (artificial intelligence) which helps to better match the search queries to their real meanings. It can be compared to searching the net with the use of synonyms.

Users searching for information in Google, very often use different phrases or words than the keywords used on websites providing answers to the search queries. Neural matching is supposed to solve the issue and ensure a better match of the search queries and search results, even if the used keywords are different.

Examples of differences in search queries and search results:

What phrase is used by users when searching The synonym on the website providing answer to the search query
How to change the PC’s screen brightness? adjust
How to change PDF to word? convert
How to change the memory on my laptop? upgrade
How to change the display monitor? switch

Danny Sullivan gave an example that clearly demonstrates the use of neural matching. After entering the phrase “why does my TV look strange?”, thanks to the use of neural matching Google is able to provide users with search results corresponding to the “soap opera effect” phrase (soap opera effect is caused by motion interpolation).

Dopasowanie neuronowe

How is neural matching different from RankBrain?

Aren’t they the same? After all, RankBrain is also a system based on artificial intelligence and it’s supposed to better match the results to the search queries.

Well, RankBrain was designed to better match the websites provided in the search results to the concepts users look for. On the other hand, neural matching is supposed to adjust the keywords entered by users to the relevant search results.

How does neural matching affect SEO?

Is there anything you can do about the update? Well, not really. You should definitely continue creating unique and quality content as neural matching is a perfect proof that the context of the content is something you should put great emphasis on. Google is becoming smarter and smarter search engine which analyzes the words naturally used on a website and then matches them to appropriate search results. Who knows, maybe in the future the whole SEO will be more about the context, not about individual keywords. But this is something we’ll have to wait for a bit longer 😉

Marketing Team Leader - Kasia

Marketing Team Leader

Marketing and employer branding responsible since 2017. She wants Delante to be heard! Her experience has made her love design and analytical thinking, and that's how she approaches every task. A lover of travel and music, discovers new series in her free time or grabs the saxophone.

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