What Is Google's Neural Matching?

Mar 20, 2019 - 8:19 am 2 by

Google Neural Matching

Yesterday I covered that Google said that their neural matching AI has nothing at all to do with the March 2019 core update, nor any previous updates. But this concept of neural matching seems to confuse not just SEOs but also Googlers - so I thought I'd bring it up again.

Update: Here is a more detailed article on Neural matching vs RankBrain after we received more details from Google on the topic.

Neural matching was first mentioned by Google at their 20th birthday press event in September 2018. Danny Sullivan tweeted about it:

He said Google has been using it for the past few months in about 30% of the queries. He said "Last few months, Google has been using neural matching, --AI method to better connect words to concepts. Super synonyms, in a way, and impacting 30% of queries. Don't know what "soap opera effect" is to search for it? We can better figure it out."

It sounds a lot like RankBrain to me. It isn't about ranking but more about understanding the query better to provide a better set of results.

Right before that tweet, he tweeted this:

Again, it seems more query specific than ranking. It sounds a lot like RankBrain related concepts, which again, it not about ranking but understanding queries.

Yea, a query is needed for ranking but the two are separated for a reason.

It was funny to hear John Mueller from Google respond to a question about that on the last hangout at the 19:07 mark. He said "I have no idea what what you mean with neural matching updates. It sounds like something machine learning that we're trying to pull out and separate. We use machine learning and lots of our parts of our infrastructure so pulling that out as like something specific is sometimes more artificial than really useful."

Here is the video embed at the start time:

Here is the transcript:

Since Google confirmed that none of the core updates lined up with any of the neural matching updates, is it safe to say that sites should really look to improve quality and relevance over the long-term when it comes to these broad core updates?

I think that's safe to say regardless of any updates right? Like it's always worth improving things.

I have no idea what what you mean with neural matching updates. It sounds like something machine learning that we're trying to pull out and separate. We use machine learning and lots of our parts of our infrastructure so pulling that out as like something specific is sometimes more artificial than really useful.

Forum discussion at YouTube.

Update: Here is a more detailed article on Neural matching vs RankBrain after we received more details from Google on the topic.

 

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