BERT: What is Google’s Latest Algorithm Update?

25 October 2019 | | Blog, Search Engine Optimisation

“The biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search.” – Pandu Nayak (Google’s Vice President of Search)

Only a minor update then…

What is B.E.R.T Google update?

This algorithm update is to improve what results are returned to a user based on the context of the keywords they input. This also tackles the common way of searching using “keyword-ese”, typing strings of words they think the search engine understands but isn’t actually how they would naturally ask a question.

An example of how the update will effect search results:

Here’s a search for “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa.” The word “to” and its relationship to the other words in the query are particularly important to understanding the meaning. It’s about a Brazilian traveling to the U.S., and not the other way around. Previously, our algorithms wouldn’t understand the importance of this connection, and we returned results about U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil. With BERT, Search is able to grasp this nuance and know that the very common word “to” actually matters a lot here, and we can provide a much more relevant result for this query.

How will B.E.R.T affect my website?

The official Google post mentioned that when it comes to SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings the update will effect 1-in-10 searches. This is massive when you comprehend the volume of search terms. Your site’s ranking terms will very likely be analysed by the updated algorithm and ranked accordingly based on how the page’s content matches the searcher’s intent.

For example, a page with information about “Dental Implants” will rank better for the term “What are Dental Implants?” than a page discussing costs of dental implants. The search engine will now also place much more weight on words such as “to”, “from”, “do”, etc to associate context alongside intent.

Where your focus should lie

As with most algorithm updates the advice is always “continue building great content”. Unsurprisingly the advice is the same with B.E.R.T, however this time with much more important – As content is a detrimental indicator to Google when understanding intent, which is exactly what this update revolves around. Alongside great content should be spot on search engine optimisation, ensuring title tags (link text that shows within search results) are targeting these terms and matching the style of intent.

If you’re concerned your website won’t hold up in the search rankings against your competitors feel free to give us a call on 01202 677 277 We’ll be happy to talk through your website and SEO.

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