Google’s BERT Update: Everything you need to know

Google has recently announced and introduced yet another algorithm to their search engine, but will it help your website or hinder it? And being that BERT is the biggest update since Rankbrain, it surely will have some effect on your search engine optimisation in the future.

 Here is every is everything you need to know about the new Google BERT Update.


What is BERT?

The BERT Algorithm is a very intelligent algorithm and is the first step of many in improving Google’s search results. It stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers – which sounds complicated!

In simple terms, BERT is an algorithm that analyses natural language processing. What this means is that Google now has a much better understanding of search queries and can analyse the context of your query more accurately according to the way we communicate.

For example, the image below shows the search results before and after the BERT update.

You can see that before the update, Google did not have an understanding of the context of the search query and provided general results on prescriptions. Now, there is a clearer understanding of the query and Google has provided more relevant results in relation to its context.

Language and words such as ‘for’ and ‘to’ are really important for search queries. Additionally, a single word such as ‘rose’ which can have several meanings is contextualised by the surrounding words and content. Now with the BERT algorithm, Google is able to provide better results, accurately answer search queries and understand the context of content.

This update is estimate to effect 1 in 10 search results, but this is only the beginning and further improvements are sure to be introduced.

What Does This mean for your Website?

The Bert update does not directly effect your website as its focus is on understanding search queries and generating the best search results. However, it is your content that matters and how it will be found by search queries. 

As language is such a huge part of this algorithm, the language and context used within your website content is going to be ever more important. Websites with poor quality content will suffer, as search results will no longer be entirely based on keywords and keyword stuffing. LSI Keywords may be more of a focus as these are relative to the topic and provide further context.

Content that is more specific and well written will perform much better in search results. Therefore, the content needs to answer the query and provide valuable information for the readers.

How can you Benefit from the BERT Update?

Although this update may seem subtle, it has a huge impact on the results generated by search queries and can affect how you rank in SERPs in a beneficial way.

If you already have a very specific niche and specific content, you may begin to see a rise in organic traffic as BERT is generating much more accurate results to the queries. It also means that your content strategy will include much more specific content with longer key phrases.

Additionally, you can focus on high quality, valuable and targeted content which is Google’s main focus too. With a boost in traffic, your website can benefit hugely including and increase in sales, leads and email subscriptions, however, there is no clear way to optimise specifically for BERT and you can only focus on the quality of your content to see benefits.