Google has confirmed that an update affecting local search results has been rolled out.
Called the “November 2019 Local Search Update”, Google is now applying neural matching to local search results.
What is “neural matching”?
Google defines neural matching as a way to help it “better relate words to searches.”, “primarily to understand how words are related to concepts.”
In other words, neural matching allows Google to go beyond the exact words in a business name or description. Some business listings may now appear for queries even when the business name or description is not included in a search.
What does the change mean for me?
Although the local search results you see may change, you won’t need to make any changes as a result of the neural matching update; Google have confirmed this via their @SearchLiason Twitter account.
Google has also said that this was a global update, across all countries and languages.
Should I be worried?
With Google now using neural matching to better understand local queries, it is likely that Google will show different local search results because of this update. Hopefully this proves to be a good thing!
The advice Google has given remains the same; relevance, prominence and distance are the keys to successful local rankings.