Google continues to lead the way with the best algorithm and search experience. As a company, Google’s mission is “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” which they are always striving to improve.
The aim of the hugely significant BERT update, released in October 2019, is to improve Google’s understanding of your website content and match it more closely to the intent of the searcher.
Bert stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.
From the definition provided by Google in “https://www.blog.google/products/search/search-language-understanding-bert/“
“Transformers are models that process words in relation to all the other words in a sentence, rather than one-by-one in order”
“BERT models can, therefore, consider the full context of a word by looking at the words that come before and after it” hence the “Bidirectional” in BERT
And in English…
“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 now search in a way that feels natural for you.”
Unless you’re tracking long-tail search terms, you’ll probably have seen very little movement in your search rankings. The BERT update has improved question type searches; “how, where, why, who, when,” but not the transactional type searches that website owners normally target and track.
One-third of all Google searches, one billion per day, are now made by voice assistants like Alexa, Siri and Cortana and use more conversational search terms as a result. It is safe to conclude that the BERT update is focused at improving this type of voice search.
What BERT has done is further emphasise the importance of providing useful and informative content.
You should focus on evergreen content that is relevant to your visitors’ needs, by providing comprehensive and detailed information across a range of meaningful topics.
By utilising keyword tools such as; ubersuggest, KWFinder, or Google Search Console, you can quickly identify question type searches and include a Q&A section on your website.
Repeating the old-style elbowing of key phrases into your existing content simply does not work. It is now essential that your content reads well and makes sense.
Making a diary note to regularly check that your web pages are up to date is highly recommended. Website owners often focus on creating new and interesting content to add to their blog but often miss reviewing key pages on the site, which can lead to a drop in search ranking.
It is also important to maximise dwell time, which is the time visitors spend on your pages, as Google favours engaging websites. Infographics and videos enhance dwell time, increasing your chances of being ranked higher in a Google search.
The most important tip I can give you is to research and understand your audience when building your SEO strategy. Use Google’s analytical tools to try to predict and then answer their questions through engaging and topical website content.
We will be happy to explain more about the impact of Bert and offer you advice about an effective SEO strategy for your business.