If you’ve been doing SEO for your business, then you’re at least a bit desensitized to the panic many feel about Google algorithm updates. Just recently, Google confirmed that it has rolled out its November 2019 update worldwide. This is the neural matching update, which is set to affect the rankings of local businesses on the web.
How the neural matching works
The November 2019 update is composed of the worldwide roll-out of the neural matching algorithm. This is somewhat similar to BERT, which was also released in November.
What it does is interpret search queries with local intent. So even if the search query entered doesn’t have any location or business name in it, Google can interpret and associate it to a specific business or area. This is the reason why the search engine giant calls this update the “super synonym system”.
Actually, neural matching isn’t really new. It was already in use on some searches since 2018. But after a period of testing, Google has decided to make it effective in all countries where their search engine is in use. Take note that this works not only for English searches but to all languages that use Google.
Why you have to be aware?
There are two main reasons why businesses have to be aware of this update: traffic and rankings. The neural matching algorithm will cause a change in rankings and a noticeable decline in traffic.
This is due to Google’s new appreciation of a website’s relevance. This way, you can re-align your strategy so you can rank better and reach your target audience in your locality.
What should I do about it?
Well, according to Google, there’s nothing that businesses have to do with this update. It’s like a maintenance update to make search results more accurate. It benefits both the internet users and website users in the sense that the former gets accurate results and the latter gets high-quality traffic.
If you noticed a decline in traffic in the past month, you shouldn’t panic. Unless the decline has been massive, you might need to check other ranking factors that potentially caused your losses.
Also, it’s quite normal for local businesses to experience a change in rankings. This is due to the effect of neural matching in interpreting search queries and the relevance of business websites.
The November 2019 shouldn’t be a cause of panic. It might be as a big deal as BERT, but there’s nothing you can do to circumvent it. Google advises website owners to continue optimizing according to their guidelines, which was published long ago.
Anyway, if you want to have peace of mind, you can consult with an SEO expert. This way, you’ll have professional advice about you can improve on your website to regain your rankings.
November 2019 is one of the biggest strides of Google in terms of search query interpretation. It will surely shake newbie website owners, but the upside is that it will make Google a better platform. You, the website owner, and your visitors will benefit from this change.