The State of Search: Local Search Volatility

Volatility in the local search results in early November and fluctuations in the organic results mid-month led the search community to believe that an unconfirmed Google algorithm update took place.

On November 12, 2019, Google confirmed that several algorithm updates were released the week prior and reminded users that they continuously roll out updates every week. In this announcement, Google stated that they only publicly share algorithm updates when there is “actionable guidance to follow”—i.e. the Speed Update and broad core updates.

At the beginning of December, Google officially confirmed that it began using neural matching in early November to produce local search results across the world and in all languages. With this update, named the “November 2019 Local Search Update,” Google can now better understand when searchers’ queries have local search intent and in turn, display more relevant, local results.

What does this mean for you?

There is nothing sites should change in order to rank better locally as this update had to do with Google’s ability to better comprehend users’ queries. According to Google, relevance, prominence, and distance continue to be the most important factors when it comes to local search and sites should continue to focus on building content that offers actual value to users and potential customers.