Google Confirms "Bedlum" Update

Google has provided details of the November 2019 GMB Algorithm Update

Throughout November 2019 many business owners have seen dramatic fluctuations in the ranking of their Google My Business listing.  Google has now given some explanation as to why.

GMB Belam UpdateIt all started on November 3 when SEO professionals and their clients started seeing sharp and severe changes in Google My Business page ranking positions.  To make matters worse there seemed to be no logic to the changes and those positions continued to fluctuate throughout the month of Novmeber and beyond.  Google, always reticent to make any comment of algorithm changes finally made the unprecedented statement on December 2, confirming what has become known as the "Bedlum" update.

For the first time ever (according to Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz) Google confirmed once and for all what was going on in local search:

"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:...   Neural matching is an AI system Google began using in 2018 primarily to understand better how words are related to concepts.  Its like a super-synonym system"

The theory is that the algorithm is now less dependent on keywords in text and is better able to "feel the vibe" (thats for Aussie readers) of a page and match it to the needs of users.  In particular, business names now have less importance than content and keyword loaded content is less important than well written balanced content.  How successful this has been to date is debateable as we are still seeing much more spammy pages poppig up in searches than prior to the update. 

The nature of Neural matching is that it the system is constantly learning so quality pages should recover their rankings in time.  In theory this should be a big advantage to legitimate business posts and spammy keyword loaded content will be penalised.  We are yet to see if the theory can deliver in reality.

What do you need to do about your Google My Business page now?

The obvious question now is, how should you respond to these changes?  The answer is simply, keep doing what you have been doing but do it better.

When creating content for your Google My Business posts, the quality of that content needs to be better and should be more like a blog post than a tweet.  Think writing articles rather than ad copy.  Content needs to be relevent to your business and useful to your customers.  The content on your website needs to be aligned with the content in your GMB posts and images should whenever possible be geo-tagged to the location.  Remember also that Google loves offers so make sure you have a current offer at all times.


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