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The November 2019 local search update is real, Google confirms

December 16, 2019 0 comments

Did you see changes in the search engine rankings for local websites last month? Many SEOs, content marketers, and local website owners experienced the shift in local search engine result pages in November, but the reason for that was not confirmed — until now.

Google has officially confirmed the November 2019 local search update. Here is what Google announced:

“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.”

As far as neural matching goes, Google defines it as a “super-synonym system.” 

Just like synonyms — which are words that are closely related to other words in terms of meaning and context — this particular system helps Google understand search engine user queries with potential local search intent. This super-synonymous method works even when the name or description of the business is missing.

According to the announcement, the search engine giant has been using this system since 2018.

How big was the update?

We do not yet have the exact numbers of how many websites that update affected. However, it was a global update, which, according to Google, has now fully rolled out.

Google’s Danny Sullivan did confirm that neural matching impacted about 30 percent of search queries last year. After this update, the number must have gone up.

Is there more?

There might be a few smaller updates, changes, and tweaks in the coming weeks, but nothing substantial is lined up as of yet.

What do you have to do?

Not much. Updates like these are now an integral part of Google’s roadmap and the natural evaluation of its core algorithm. Just make sure to focus on providing the best possible content and user experience to your website visitors.

In addition, pay attention to the following three factors that help Google determine local search engine ranking:

  • Relevance
  • Distance
  • Prominence


Learn more information on how to improve your local ranking on Google.