Well, finally! Google has announced one of the most important updates in the history of the Search Algorithm – BERT.
The Google BERT update was announced on October 24, 2019, but reported that it has already been rolling out for a few days. According to Google, this new update will affect 10% of overall search queries, across all languages.
In the world of search updates, where algorithm changes are often far more subtle, an update that affects 10% of searches is a pretty big deal and will surely keep the world’s SEO experts up at night.
However, there is no need to panic folks, we’re going to ease down exactly what BERT is and how it will affect searches and ranking. So let’s get started!
What is The Google BERT Update?
BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is a machine learning advancement made by Google involving its Artificial Intelligence innovation efforts. Instead of 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. This gives more impetus to the intent and context of the search query and delivers results that the user seeks.
It’s a new search algorithm update that uses neural networking techniques to understand the intentions behind queries better. That means Google is now significantly better at matching questions with context.
This new update makes Google one step closer to achieving perfection in understanding the natural language. Slight modifications or even simple words in a search query can dramatically alter the search intent. This also means that the voice search results will see significant improvement.
BERT will affect organic search results as well as featured snippets.
Google laid out a few examples in its announcement:
As you can see, the results change based on a better interpretation of what the searcher is looking for.
How Does Google BERT Algorithm Affect SEO?
The good news is that the algorithm update is not supposed to penalize any site. It just improves how the search engine understands search intent and queries. BERT analyzes search queries and not web pages, which indicates that on-page SEO is now more important in terms of using words in precise ways. Sloppy content may not be helped by the Google BERT update.
Websites with tons of good content in the form of well-written guides will benefit from this update.
So, double-down on your efforts to create relevant and quality content. Focus on creating content geared towards the actual questions your audience is asking.
Keep in mind that because featured snippets are picked up quite often in voice search results, the introduction of BERT will likely have a big effect on voice search as well.
How Important The Google BERT Update Is To Us.
Simply put, BERT is a big deal. We see this as an opportunity to bring more traffic with content that is more focused and well organized.
Google itself is calling BERT “the biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search.”
As BERT is intending to benefit searchers, it seems inevitable that BERT will affect how sites are ranked in the search results.
Our suggestion for you is to closely monitor your rankings over the next few weeks. If you notice any drop in ranking, be sure to evaluate the on-page content and make sure it matches your searcher intent.
If you need any further help on this, please feel free to get in touch with one of our Search Engine Experts now!