Google confirmed an update affecting local search results has now fully rolled out, a process which began in early November.
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 explained more here: https://t.co/ShQm7g9CvN
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) December 2, 2019
That means neural matching allows Google to better understand the meaning behind queries and match them to the most relevant local businesses – even if the keywords in the query are not specifically included in the business name and description.
“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.”
In other words, some business listings might now be surfaced for queries they wouldn’t have shown up for prior to this update. Hopefully that proves to be a good thing.
Google notes that, although the update has finished rolling out, local search results as they are displayed now are not set in stone by any means. Like regular web search, results can change over time.
Google has not stated to what extent local search results will be impacted by this update, though it was confirmed this is a global launch across all countries and languages.