Google recently rolled out their newest update, which they say is the biggest update in the last 5 years. Google Search is designed to provide the most relevant, helpful results for users and this update is a significant step toward improving these results. BERT is an update that will change the way Google handles queries to provide more useful information. Google’s blog post about BERT lists several before and after examples describing how BERT has ultimately made the search engine results more effective and applicable. If you haven’t yet heard about BERT, now is the time to learn what BERT is and how it might impact your business, as well as your search results.
What is BERT?
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It is a form of AI that helps Google to provide better search results by analyzing the relationship between words and their overall context. This is likely one of the most impactful forms of NLP (natural language processing) and is designed to provide more accurate results for more complex search terms. This comes from the idea that users aren’t turning to search engines to find keywords and are more likely to perform searches using a more natural form of language. In most cases, people use search engines to answer a specific question. Before BERT, the search would focus primarily on the keywords, which may bring up results that don’t necessarily pertain to the question. Google says that BERT will improve 1 in every 10 English-language searches, providing better results for 10% of all English queries.
If a Google user wants to answer a specific question, they are likely to enter that question into the search engine, particularly when using a voice-to-text approach. Users will ask their smart devices the question, rather than simply stating keywords. Prior to BERT, the complexities of some questions would often be ignored, as the search engine didn’t have the tools to analyze the context. Google cites an example where asking for visa information from Brazil to USA would bring up information for US citizens traveling to Brazil. In this example, the “to” is important, but the search engine disregarded the context. BERT is designed to reduce this problem, as it examines the words before and after the main word to more accurately find results. Therefore, in this example, the search results after BERT was implemented brought up information about the Brazilian Embassy in the United States.
In addition to disregarding words that change the meaning of the phrase, Google searches also had difficulty differentiating between words with multiple meanings. There are many words in the English language that have multiple meanings that were previously not differentiated between in Google searches. For example, “rose” can mean a flower or can be a physical movement. “Right” may refer to a direction, a correct answer, or a moral opinion. By analyzing all of the words of the search phrase, BERT brings up results that more effectively answer the original question and pertain to the intended meaning of the word. It can also use synonyms of words to provide effective, accurate results. BERT has currently been released primarily for English searches, as well as a few other languages and locales that use snippets, but will be released for other languages over time.
What Does BERT Mean for SEO?
Ultimately, BERT probably won’t impact SEO a huge amount. It is designed to provide effective search results for more complex phrases, so it likely won’t disrupt keyword rankings in any significant manner. Websites that contain vast amounts of useful information will be found more often than they were previously, while their counterparts with poorly explained or written information will come up in searches less frequently. Text that is mainly keyword stuffing and doesn’t contain any particularly beneficial information will be hurt by this update, but keyword stuffing is already rather heavily penalized by Google’s algorithms. Due to the short time that BERT has been out, it is difficult to gauge just how much of an impact it will have on Google searches, so it may be particularly beneficial to keep an eye on your website’s analytics for the next short while.
Can you Optimize your Website for BERT?
There’s not really any way to optimize a website for BERT. BERT is designed to provide better results for unique phrases that are based on the way an individual would speak naturally. These phrases can’t really be predicted, which means that you can’t use these phrases to optimize your website. Adding regular, useful content for readers is really the only way to take advantage of BERT’s algorithms. This is also a basic component of good SEO practices, so it shouldn’t impact your website too severely. It is important to note that this content needs to be written in natural language to maximize its benefits.
Consult with a Professional
Google is constantly improving and evolving to best meet the demands of their users. For this reason, it can be difficult to keep your website up to date with all of the newest SEO strategies. Not only will you have to invest the time in learning about the new strategies, but you will then have to implement the changes to your website. Hiring a professional SEO specialist can go a long way toward optimizing your website without sacrificing significant amounts of your time. There are many components of a website that help it to be found by relevant consumers. It is important to maintain a blog with frequently added content to provide useful information to your customers. Other things may also impact your website’s SEO ranking, like your website’s responsiveness or mobile functionality.
If you’re struggling with your company’s website, it might be time to consult with an expert. Here at Performance Driven Marketing, we strive to provide you with the tools you need to thrive and obtain success for your business. To learn more about how our internet marketing solutions can benefit your business, contact our experts at 801-326-0582.