Google released an important update to its algorithm. The Google BERT update has been termed as the biggest change to the search engine’s algorithm in the last five years. This update went live on the 24th of October, 2019. So, what exactly does BERT do and what precisely does this mean for you? Here’s what you need to know about the Google BERT update:

What Is BERT?

BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, has the ability to assess the relationship between words in a search query. This enables Google to better comprehend the intent of a searcher. For instance, phrases such as “a quarter to six” and “nine to six” gave search engines problems to comprehend. Search engines did not obviously tell the difference in the word “to” within these phrases. With this update, Google is now able to distinguish between search terms to provide more relevant results.

In November 2018, BERT was opened sourced by Google. This gives any party permission to use BERT. This implies that parties can train their language system to perform tasks using BERT.

What Does BERT Come With?

  • There’s an improvement in Google’s comprehension of natural language through the BERT update.
  • The identification of nuances became better through this update. This also applies to the context in search results. Google got better at reaching for the most relevant results.
  • Longtail searches have a higher likelihood of being affected by BERT.
  • One in ten searches (10%) is expected to be impacted by BERT after its worldwide rollout. Featured snippets will also be impacted by this update. This impact applies across multiple languages.
  • RankBrain isn’t being replaced by BERT. Also, other search algorithm elements centered on languages won’t be replaced.

How Does BERT Function?

The training of language models can be done through BERT. This bidirectional training is based on a query’s entire word set. This ensures that Google moves away from the traditional method of training that is based on the ordered word sequences.

Learning is facilitated by BERT. This update aids the language model to grasp the context of words based on surrounding words as opposed to immediately the preceding or the following word.

BERT has been termed by Google as “deeply bidirectional”. This is because of the way words are contextually represented. They start from the bottom of a deep neural network.

Where Has The Roll Out Of BERT Been Experienced?

  • Organic search results

The BERT update on Google has been rolled out thereby affecting 10% of the search results. This rollout affects search results with the US. BERT is not yet being used for organic results in other countries. Gradually, the update will take effect in other countries. Nonetheless, no fixed timeline has been set for the update’s release in other country indexes.

  • Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are experiencing the rollout of BERT differently. Featured snippets appear at position zero within search engines. This is the point above organic search results. BERT is already starred in all 25 languages that contain featured snippets.

Which Search Queries Will BERT Affect?

Longtail search queries will be impacted by BERT. The interpretation of longer queries is improved through the use of BERT. This affects a group of words or a question that is typed into the search bar. BERT also has an impact on content searched through Voice Search.

What Is BERT’s Impact On SEO?

The content on a page isn’t analyzed by BERT. This update helps in the analysis of search queries.

Efforts need to be put in the creation of quality content that’s relevant. Google is getting better in the comprehension of natural language. The search engine can now understand the context behind its users’ search queries. BERT will enable Google to better find pages that its deems fitting to search queries.

Poorly written content will not be favored with the rollout of this update. For you to take advantage of this update, you need to focus on answering your audience’s questions through the content that you create. A dedicated FAQ section can give you an edge with BERT. This section should focus on quality answers as well as incorporating relevant keyword density.

When it comes to BERT, not much can be done in regards to optimization. Concentration needs to be put on better content as well as satisfying your searchers’ motivation. Stress should be put on the creation of amazing experiences for your audience.

You have a higher likelihood of your page being discovered by BERT by embracing How-to, featured snippets, FAQ, and Q&A sections. Also, a big impact will likely be seen on voice search since featured snippets are frequently found within voice search results.

What Does This Update Mean For You?

BERT is certainly a huge deal. Google has termed this update its biggest leap in the last five years. The ranking of sites will inevitably be affected by BERT. Content now needs to be matched with the intent of the searcher. This increases the likelihood of BERT picking up your page. If you still have questions or comments on Google BERT, make sure you get in touch with the SEO Team at EverConvert!