If you thought you saw a rise or drop in your local SEO ranking, you are not just imagining things. There is yet another change to Google’s algorithm. This time impacts local search rankings.
Named the Bedlam Update by Joy Hawkins, this update started being rolled out in November 2019 and businesses have already experienced its effects.
Learn about what the update entails and how it may impact your business.
In a surprising move, Google is now implementing neural matching to its local search. With neural matching, the meaning behind queries will now be considered instead of just the keywords entered. This is significant because it changes the way results will be displayed to users.
When someone searches for your business, the user intent will now be factored in. It is no longer a matter of searching for a business name and then finding the business. Now, users can type in their query (example: my air conditioner is not working) and be matched with repair businesses near them.
As always, updates are always being tweaked. Therefore, rankings are not set in stone. While it is too early to tell how businesses are being impacted, the update could make local SEO easier for businesses as the focus shifts from keywords to user intent.
If your business does not contain a keyword, the Bedlam Update may make it easier for local users to find it. This is particularly useful for older businesses that were named before SEO optimization was a factor or those that valued branding more than a keyword-heavy name.
While the full impact of this update is not yet known, it is possible that practices like keyword stuffing Google My Business listings or setting up multiple keyword-heavy business names under different phone numbers will be penalized.
According to Google’s official word on the Bedlam Update, businesses do not have to change anything in response to the update. However, there are ways to take action if you are seeing a decrease in local rankings. Here are a few local SEO tips you can use to work with the algorithm change:
It is possible that efforts to properly optimize your local search will be rewarded (while blackhat techniques result in punishment) with this new update.
Although it might sound a bit menacing, the Bedlam Update is not something to worry about. Stick to tried and true SEO techniques and avoid shortcuts.
At Running SEO, we stay informed on the latest changes with Google. You can rely on us to optimize accordingly whenever a new update rolls out. Get in touch for a free SEO quote over at Key Medium (our parent company) now.