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How Google BERT Affects SEO

How Google BERT Affects SEO

Google, the world’s leading search engine, tirelessly works to give users a better online experience. This is very true in the world of search where the tech company regularly makes adjustments to its algorithm.

In November 2019, Google released BERT – considered as one of the biggest search algorithm changes since RankBrain which was released in 2014.

What is BERT? How does it affect search engine optimisation strategies? Read on to find out why this change to Google’s search system is expected to have a huge impact in the world of SEO.

What Is Google BERT?

BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. This algorithm adjustment is geared towards having a better understanding of natural language processing.

To be more precise, BERT enables Google to comprehend language just like the way humans do. It tries to decipher the context behind the search terms.

With BERT, the process shifts from simply matching words to understanding these words based on how they are being used in a sentence or query.

Understanding how Google BERT works is a bit easier than comprehending what it is. So, how does it work?

Let’s start with prepositions. Before BERT, Google delivers results without considering or putting emphasis on preposition used in the queries.

For example, in the phrase “travel time from Dublin to Cork”, the prepositions from and to play important roles. Based on the old algorithm, top search results would be anything related to travelling to Dublin or Cork. Obviously, these results aren’t what the searcher is looking for.

With the help of BERT, Google is now able to understand that “from” and “to” denote a point of origin and a destination. This means results now yield precise information that answers the query.

Aside from recognising and understanding prepositions, BERT also knows that some words have multiple meanings. More importantly, it is able to comprehend what the searcher means when keying in the word based on how it is used in the search term.

Let’s take the case of the word feet which can either be the parts of the body or units of measurement.

If the search term is “possible causes of swollen feet”, then it can be recognised by BERT as pertaining to the part of the body. Prior to this algorithm, search results may include things related to feet as in the unit of measurement.

How Does Google BERT Affect SEO?

Now, let’s go to the real deal – the impact of BERT on SEO.

It is expected that this algorithm is going to impact 10% of search queries, specifically the complicated ones. Here, complicated queries pertain to those that rely on context.

What does this mean for your SEO strategies? For one, you need to prioritise the creation of quality content, especially for the informative ones.

Based on reports, those affected so far by the introduction of BERT are informational keywords. As the name suggests, these are queries which are meant to gather helpful data. People who use this kind of keywords are on the so-called research phase. They are trying to learn about the subject for them to make an informed choice.

What does quality content mean? With the arrival of BERT, you should focus on creating super-specific content for a given query. It should be something that answers the question correctly and does so quickly. Furthermore, the content should offer more value than those of your competitors.

Simply put, you need to optimise your content for users or searchers. You need to understand the intent behind their query for you to be able to deliver content that has the answers they want.

The arrival of BERT is also another reminder that keyword density should no longer be your focus. The process is now about understanding search queries and NOT about matching keywords with web pages.

In summary, if you’ve been optimising for user intent, then BERT is not something you should worry about. What you can do is to continue monitoring your pages. In case you noticed a drop for certain pages, make adjustments such as creating new content or editing the existing ones and ensure that they answer the questions of searchers.

Meanwhile, if you are still into the old practice of keyword matching or stuffing, it is best to consult an SEO specialist. This is to make sure that you take the right steps so that your website won’t be left behind.

Make sure your site is ready for Google BERT. Let our experienced SEO specialists create and implement an effective SEO strategy. Call us now on 019609023!

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