On the 2nd December 2019, Google announced that they had updated the Local search update. These are the links to local businesses that often appear at the top of the search engine results pages.
For some businesses these are absolutely crucial. If someone is searching for a locksmith, barber or car servicing for example, then they are very likely to only be interested in local services near their location.
Google does some generate some of this content itself but proactive business owners should take control over their entry through the Google My Business website – https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/business/
The new announcement mentions ‘neural matching’. This is part of Google’s continuous project to understand users’ search intent and the meaning behind the keywords used.
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…
Neural matching allows Google to better understand when users’ queries have local search intent even when the business name or description aren’t included.
What does it means for business owners?
You might have noticed some fluctuations in your ranking in local search results.
Whether you benefited or were disadvantaged, the best advice is to keep working and improving your Google My Business entry:
Enter complete data
Local results favour the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches. Learn how to edit your business information
Verify your location(s)
Verify your business locations to give them the best opportunity to appear for users across Google products, such as Maps and Search. Learn more about verification
Keep your hours accurate
Entering and updating your opening hours, including special hours for holidays and special events, lets potential customers know when you’re available and gives them confidence that when they travel to your location, it will be open. Learn how to edit your hours
Manage and respond to reviews
Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. Learn more
Adding photos to your listings shows people your goods and services, and can help you to tell the story of your business. Learn more
If your services are locally delivered or you have a location that customers visit then local search results are very important. Stay on top of updates and accuracy.
Get more information here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091