Google announced “Neural Matching” update to their local results

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Issue #155
December 3rd, 2019

Hey, lunch buddies. I hope everyone that celebrated Thanksgiving had a great holiday. I know I ate my share of food. I’m definitely thankful for my family, friends, my job (shout out to my team at ICF Next!) and for each and every subscriber to the #SEOForLunch newsletter.

Two quick shout outs before we get to this week’s newsletter.

First, if you leverage WordPress we now have a serious competitor to the SEO Yoast plugin.  It’s called RankMath. No, this is not a paid endorsement and I too was skeptical when I was told to check it out by some SEOs that I respect. I was so impressed that I’m now in the process of switching every single website. Adoption of this WordPress plugin is growing like crazy and I’m looking forward to what Bhanu and his RankMath team have in store for plugins future.

Finally, I participated in a podcast sharing SEO tips for small businesses in 2020+ right before the holiday. If you’re interested in listening (or watching) you can check out the full podcast episode over at the official Hook Agency website.

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What you need to know

Article: Google announced “Neural Matching” update to their local results

What’s Important: Google states that neural matching allows them to better relate words to search concepts. This update was rolled out (globally) in late November.

Nick’s Take: Google Search Laison, Danny Sullivan best explained it when he states “It’s like a super-synonym system.” He also goes on to state that no additional updates need to be made by local listing owners so at this point it’s important to be aware and track your local rankings. Additional details about this update can be read on

Interesting Reads in Your Spare Time

App store optimization – how to diagnose a drop in traffic – moz
About 5 years ago I spent a ton of time learning about ASO or app store optimization. It’s a very intriguing process that fortunately hasn’t changed all that much. However, what’s really interesting in this post by Joel Mesherghi is the process taken to diagnose drops in traffic. If you own an app or your client offers an app then this is your top read for this week.

Google automated assistant search results – gofishdigital
Bill Slawski regularly reviews new patents that Google is rewarded. This time, he covers a recent patent that outlines “resource and/or interface constraints.” If that seems confusing then I recommend you read the full post where he outlines great examples. 

Official Google Search Console Training [VIDEO] – Google 
Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate at Google kicks off a new series of official training videos for the popular Google Search Console. If you’re new to GSC then this is a great intro to the platform. 

Twitter to remove inactive accounts making usernames available – theverge
OK, not exactly an SEO specific blog post. However, the SEO industry is very close and Twitter is one of the largest mediums that we use to communicate. If you’ve been coveting a username that someone has been squatting on, you might just be able to obtain it sooner than later. Also, if your already on Twitter, make sure you follow me.

Robots.txt [blank] vs “allow” command – seroundtable
Barry captures a conversation between a webmaster and Google’s John Muller on Reddit. The question was asking how Google treats a blank robots.txt file vs implicitly setting one up to include the “allow” command. John’s response might not surprise you but its great to validate.

Nick LeRoy
Nick LeRoy
Nick has 10+ years of SEO consulting experience building and executing strategies for clients ranging from multi-billion dollar consumer packaged goods to fashion entities with hundreds of physical store locations. He also writes the weekly SEO newsletter #SEOForLunch that allows you to stay up to date with industry updates in the amount of time it takes you to eat your lunch.

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