How Google Maps has used AI to update its local business search functionality. LLMs in AI development.

How Google Maps has used AI? SEO Impact

At the heart of recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are Large Language Models (LLMs), sophisticated algorithms capable of understanding and generating human-like text based on the vast amounts of data they’ve been trained on. These models represent a significant step forward in AI’s ability to interact with users, understand complex queries, and offer relevant responses. 

Google Maps‘ recent innovation offers a prime example of how we can apply such advanced AI technology in everyday tools: by integrating AI to enhance local business searches. This integration makes searches more intuitive, accurate, and tailored to individual user needs by leveraging the power of LLMs to understand and process local search queries in unprecedented ways.

How Google Maps has used AI to update its local business search functionality

Google Maps has enhanced its local business search functionality with AI, providing users with more dynamic and personalised search results. This AI-powered update allows for more intuitive interactions, offering suggestions and results that adapt to the user’s preferences and search history. The move marks a significant improvement in how users discover local businesses, making the search experience more efficient and user-friendly by connecting them with the services and products they need more effectively.

Google Maps’ AI allows you to explore unique local businesses by describing what you’re looking for – search for ‘vintage spots in San Francisco’, for example, and it will suggest places like thrift stores or retro cafes. It also presents options with images and reviews, to show why they match your search. You can even refine your search with more specific requests, like looking for a place to eat with a specific vibe. The tool is great for adapting plans on the go, like finding outdoor activities on a sunny day and giving you tailored suggestions based on current weather and location.


Understanding Large Language Models (LLMs)

Large Language Models (LLMs) have revolutionised search technologies by moving beyond simple keyword recognition to understanding the context and intent behind user queries. This shift allows for more nuanced and accurate search results, as LLMs can process and interpret the subtleties of human language, recognising the meaning and relevance of search terms within their broader context. This advancement has made searches feel more natural and conversational, significantly improving the user experience by delivering results that more closely match what the user is seeking.

Large Language Models (LLMs) like the ones Google uses have made AI much smarter, helping it understand and talk more like us. This tech means Google Maps can now find local places you’ll love, based on what you like. For example, if you search for ‘cosy coffee spots in Boston’ on Google Maps, it uses AI to find places that match that vibe, showing you cafes that other people have described as cosy. You can also ask follow-up questions, like, “Which one has the best pastries?” to narrow down your choices.

What is the future of AI in local searches?

The future of AI-powered search technologies, especially in local and hyper-local searches, promises even more personalised and precise results. As AI becomes more advanced, we can expect Google Maps and similar tools to integrate features that predict our needs based on past behaviour, location, time of day, and even current events, making every search highly tailored.

These advancements could lead to search tools that not only understand complex queries but also anticipate needs before a user explicitly states them, blurring the lines between search and personal assistant technologies. This, in turn, could revolutionise the way users interact with local businesses and services, making it easier to discover hidden gems and essential services nearby.

For SEO, this shift means businesses will need to optimise their online presence for more than just keywords. They’ll need to consider user behaviour, context, and intent more deeply, ensuring their content and online information is structured in a way that AI can easily interpret and match with user queries. This could involve more focus on local SEO, detailed metadata, and user-generated content like reviews and Q&As to provide a richer context for AI algorithms.

Some key factors for local businesses to consider include:

  • Optimising for voice search: Tailor content to natural language queries.
  • Using local keywords: Incorporate location-specific phrases into content.
  • Leveraging Google My Business: Ensure up-to-date, accurate business information.
  • Gathering quality reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews.
  • Creating locally relevant content: Publish content that addresses local issues, events, or interests.

As LLMs and generative AI continue to transform the search landscape, it’s crucial for both marketers of global brands with physical locations, as well as entrepreneurs of local SMEs, to stay up-to-date with the latest developments. How people search and discover local services and products is fundamentally changing. By embracing these advancements, quickly reacting to any changes and reshaping SEO strategies accordingly, businesses can stay ahead of the curve. 

Are you ready to optimise your online presence and stay ahead of the competition? Contact us today to learn how our SEO strategy and content creation services can help your business thrive.



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