Google released a big list of 65 changes it has made to its algorithms over the course of August and September, and some of those changes are specifically geared towards making Google better for finding local information.
Google has been working on improving its local experience for years (though businesses aren't always happy with the directions the search engine decides to take), and that continues to be the case.
With recent changes, Google says it has improved the precision and coverage of its system, which helps users find more relevant local web results. "Now we’re better able to identify web results that are local to the user, and rank them appropriately," Google says.
Google has also improved its ability so show relevant "universal" results for local, among other categories.
Here are the local-related changes Google listed:
- #83659. [project “Answers”] We made improvements to display of the local time search feature.
- nearby. [project “User Context”] We improved the precision and coverage of our system to help you find more relevant local web results. Now we’re better able to identify web results that are local to the user, and rank them appropriately.
- #83377. [project “User Context”] We made improvements to show more relevant local results.
- #83406. [project “Query Understanding”] We improved our ability to show relevant Universal Search results by better understanding when a search has strong image intent, local intent, video intent, etc.
- #81360. [project “Translation and Internationalization”] With this launch, we began showing local URLs to users instead of general homepages where applicable (e.g. blogspot.ch instead of blogspot.com for users in Switzerland). That’s relevant, for example, for global companies where the product pages are the same, but the links for finding the nearest store are country-dependent.
It looks like they still have some work to do in the natural language meets local department:
This would be especially helpful in voice search scenarios. The results for the above query were no better via voice search from Android.
Google has been working on improving its natural language understanding capabilities, but clearly this is no easy feat to master.