BERT – Most significant development in Google Search ranking system in last Five years to help computers understand language a bit more like humans do. This will impact approximately 10% of overall search queries on Google search, with a major impact on Search Snippets, aka Featured Snippets. With this update, Google will pay more attention to the search context and each word in your search query. However this massive update was not noticed by many of the SEOs and tracking tools. How does this affect your website and your SEO efforts? Let’s understand this update in a better way.
What is The Google BERT Update?
BERT stands for (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) which is a deep machine learning algorithm related to natural language processing (NLP). Google BERT is a neural network concept-based natural language processing technique mainly used for the machines and it is a part of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Sometimes simple modifications in a search query can drastically change the search intent.
BERT is more about understanding longer tail, natural language queries. BERT can better decipher the context of the words used in search queries. Rather than looking at the user’s search query on a word by word basis, BERT allows Google to interpret the entire phrase better to give the searcher more accurate results, just like humans interpret a sentence. As of now this update will be used on 1 in 10 search results in the US in English.
Google’s explanation of the update:
“These improvements are oriented around improving language understanding, particularly for more natural language/conversational queries, as BERT is able to help Search better understand the nuance and context of words in Searches and better match those queries with helpful results.
Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like “for” and “to” matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query. You can search in a way that feels natural for you.”
How BERT works?
You search for “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa”.
Before this huge BERT update, the top result you get would be how US citizens can travel to Brazil without a visa. Was this your query? No, your query wasn’t about US people going to Brazil, rather it was about people from Brazil traveling to the US.
After this BERT update you will get a more relevant search result. Hereafter Google will take into consideration the prepositions including “for” or “to” which adds actual meaning to the search query.
Impact of BERT update on SEO
BERT can radically change what pages it shows for a query and how it ranks them. Google itself has said this is a massive change.
This update will have an impact on SEO, but since it’s all about how Google reads and interprets languages, it’s extremely difficult to optimize for.
BERT mainly impacts top-of-the-funnel keywords, which are informational related keywords. It won’t help websites that are poorly written. If you are looking forward to maintain your rankings you will have to get very specific with your content. Focus on quality of your content rather than focusing on your word count!
As said in the tweet by Danny Sullivan (Google’s search liaison) for better SEO, focus on creating content that is fundamentally great, unique, useful, and compelling.
Stop focusing on Keyword density as it will be less important in the future as Google better understands the context of the content written. Super specific content which answers a searchers query as quick as possible providing more value compared to the competition.
Understand your audience and curate your content accordingly:
- How do they search for information on Google? How do they phrase their questions and queries?
- Create content that provides that information and answers their questions.
- Write your content in a clear and understandable way using natural language.
Want to improve your rankings! Let Sweans help.
Hey there! We are sure you might be thinking on how to improve your site now that BERT is out. Don’t panic. Be special for your users. Focus on writing great content — for real people.
If you are writing for people, you are already “optimizing” for Google’s BERT algorithm. Contact Sweans Technologies, digital marketing agency in India, if you need help on your queries.
Well done. Congratulations. And all the best.
Thanks for sharing. It was very interesting and useful.