No, it’s not your imagination. Google has now confirmed that it rolled out a global local search update in early November that is likely affecting your local SEO rankings.
Google recently tweeted from its @SearchLiason account that “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.”
Local SEOs started seeing volatility in their rankings in November.
Google said the use of neural matching in local search doesn’t require any changes on behalf of businesses. Google has said it started using neural matching in search as far back as 2018 to better understand search queries, but now it’s even more of an emphasis.
Here’s another tweet from Google:
“The use of neural matching means that Google can do a better job going beyond the exact words in business name or description to understand conceptually how it might be related to the words searchers use and their intents.”
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Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on SEOblog.com, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make SEOblog.com a one-stop shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.