Google makes significant, broad changes to their search algorithms and systems several times a year, which are often referred to as “core updates.” In early November, Google added neural matching in local search, which led to several local ranking changes in the past month. Google recently confirmed this “Nov. 2019 Local Search Update” through its Twitter account. Also referred to as “Bedlam update,” this update is quite different from the last major local SEO update. Professional Long Island website marketing agencies will be up to date with such algorithms and core updates.
Neural matching is an AI-based super-synonym system Google began using in 2018 mainly to understand how words are related to concepts. It improves the ability to understand synonyms. The search engine giant has announced that this is a global launch covering countries and languages worldwide. According to Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan, neural matching was being used for 30% of search queries in 2018.
Just like BERT and RankBrain algorithms, neural matching allows Google to improve search results. It helps to better understand the concepts of the words in users’ queries and the search intent even when the business name or description isn’t included.
The use of neural matching in local search doesn’t require businesses to make any changes, except keeping their Google My Business profile up to date.
To improve their local rankings, businesses are recommended to complete the following tasks in Google My Business –
- Enter their complete and accurate information
- Verify business locations
- Manage and respond to reviews, and
- Add accurate and appealing photos to local listings
Google determines local ranking by combining three major factors such as relevance, distance, and prominence.
How Neural Matching Differs from RankBrain
While RankBrain helps Google better relate pages to concepts, neural matching helps Google better relate words to searches. Both are part of Google’s core systems designed to naturally increase understanding.
RankBrain is also an AI-based system that Google began using in 2016. This assists Google to better return relevant pages even if they don’t contain the exact words used in a search, by understanding the relation of the page to other words & concepts.
The major benefit with the latest update is that Google will be understanding queries and content on a page better than it does right now. Google’s final recommendations around neural matching and RankBrain are just to “create useful, high quality content.” Earlier too, Google had emphasized on providing strong content. SEO content writing packages offered by reliable firms will be of great support for businesses to meet their content requirements.
Also, read our blog on the benefits of optimizing the Google My Business Q&A feature.
Along with Google’s recommendations, a blog from Search Engine Journal provides other tips you can follow to boost your Google My Business profile such as –
- Avoid spammy tricks – Methods such as keyword stuffing, automating content, paying for leaving positive reviews, and creating doorway pages all may lead to penalty. Remember that potential customers will trust only real, honest reviews. Spammy reviews will also cause your site to be flagged as dishonest.
- Encourage customer reviews – Reviews are crucial to grow your profile and it can raise you up in local searches. Research and reach your happy customers and request them to leave reviews. Certain review-management tools such as BirdEye, ReviewPush, and Pozative help to organize reviews, send request for reviews and even respond to reviews.
- Respond even to negative reviews – Pay attention to your customers at all times, and in case of any negative situation, be understanding and address their concerns then and there, and make sure customers leave happy.
- Take advantage of new GMB tools – GMB (Google My Business) tools like Google Marketing Kit will allow businesses to create free stickers, posters, and social media posts for advertising business promotions and events. You can also follow your business’ local profile and stay updated.
It is a fact that constant algorithmic updates make it difficult to keep up with the latest SEO requirements. However, you need to be prepared for regular changes and thus continue to meet your marketing goals.