Google Improves Local Search With AI Neural Matching

Google Improves Local Search With AI Neural Matching featured image
4 Feb 2020
Nirlep Patel
Local SEO

It was in early November 2019 that Google starts the use of neural matching Artificial Intelligence to generate local search results. A month later it has now confirmed that the update has been rolled out at its fullest.

The term neural matching can be called a system based on AI (artificial intelligence) that was started in 2018. It was created to understand the relationship between concepts and words. It is like a system of super synonyms.

November 2019 Local Search Update

The update is being called November 2019 Local Search Update. As has been explained above, this system allows Google to get a better understanding of the meaning and intent behind various queries.

This allows it to match them to the local businesses that are most relevant in such cases. In some of these, the keywords of the query may not specifically be included in the name and description of the business in question.

Why is neural matching useful?

By using neural matching Google can do a better job. It does so by looking beyond the exact words that have been mentioned in the name and description of the business. It uses such techniques to conceptually understand the relation between the words being used by searchers and their actual intent in doing so.

An example should explain things better in this regard. Let us say that you are searching with the query why does my TV look strange? Thanks to neural matching Google would understand that this is related to the soap opera effect.

That means that it would show pages that contain such content. This would happen even when you have not specifically looked for the same.

What does this mean?

This means that there is a chance now that some business listings would be shown in the results pages. This is different from earlier when this did not happen. One can hope and expect that this would be a good thing in the end.

What is Google saying?

Google has however noted that the search results that are being shown now may not be there later on. Nothing is set in stone as such. This is even though the update has finished rolling out. It is just like the normal web search in the sense that the results can always change with time. This is also expected to do away with spam to a significant extent.

The extent of changes

Google has not stated the extent to which these changes would be effective. There is not much information on the extent to which the changes would create an impact. However, it has been said that this is a global launch that would be applicable in all languages and countries.

How does Google work?

Google is one company that does not take its place in the hierarchy for granted. It is focused only on one thing – giving you the best results possible. This is the reason why it is always changing and tweaking its search algorithms. It wants to make the results as accurate as it can get.

What do businesses need to do?

It could be that you were affected by the update. Google advises businesses that they need not worry. All they have to do is keep doing what has made them successful so far. This is an AI-based system, which means that things would change with time.

So, who knows, you can be back at the top of relevant search engine results pages in no time with the help of Local SEO. Google has itself stated that these results would change as well as happens with all other kinds of web content searches.

Fundamental advice from Google

If you want to improve your local ranking you need to follow the fundamental advice that Google has provided in this particular context. The major points may be enumerated as below:

  • provide complete data
  • verify your location
  • provide accurate information on your working hours
  • respond to reviews and manage them
  • add photos

As you would know, the local search results of Google always favour the most relevant results for each query. This means that as a business you have to provide accurate and complete information. That would make it a lot easier for Google to match you with relevant queries and searches.

You need to ensure that you have provided all your business data – and correctly so – in Google My Business. This would make sure that customers would have a greater knowledge of the products and services that you offer. This way they would know your location and the right time to visit your business.

Some of the most critical information, in this case, maybe enumerated as below:

  • physical address
  • phone number
  • category
  • attributes

You need to make sure that you are updating such information as and when there is any change in this regard.

How does Google determine local ranking?

There are several factors that Google uses to determine local rankings such as the following:

  • Relevance
  • Distance
  • Prominence

These are the three factors on which such ranking is determined. They are combined so that the best possible results can be displayed for a particular search. This means it could be that your business is located a significant distance from a searcher’s location.

However, you have a greater chance of having what she or he is looking for. In that case, Google would show your results on the top over other businesses that may be located close by.

1] Relevance –

The term relevance refers to the extent to which a local listing matches what a searcher is looking for. When you provide detailed and complete business information Google would be able to better understand your business. This way it would be easier for it to match it to relevant searches.

2] Distance –

The real-time distance from the business location. How far is your business from the location of the online searcher that has been used in the search is matter a lot while local search results appear in Google SERP

3] Prominence –

The term prominence refers to the extent to which the business is known. Some businesses are more prominent offline. Google tries to reflect that in the rankings as well.