Google's BERT Update And What It Means For Your Website

If you have noticed changes to your search engine rankings with Google then we might have an answer for you. Google released a significant update, in the USA, in October 2019 called the BERT algorithm. It is now being rolled out worldwide in 70 languages.

What Is It?

This update enabled Google’s search engine to better understand the semantics of more long-tail and conversational search queries and so provide users with better search results. It is particularly relevant for longer, more conversational search queries, or searches where prepositions like “for” and “to” matter a lot to the meaning. Google will be able to better understand the context of the words in your query and you can search in a way that feels more natural for you.

What Does It Mean?

There will be more focus on creating website content/pages specifically towards long-tail keywords. There will be more focus on giving content extra relevance and a shift to "optimising" web sites for more long-tail terms.

What Should I Do?

There are no associated actions as a direct implication of this update. You cannot optimise for BERT. It is important for you to understand that if your content is positioned within the correct context, it will help more potential visitors find your website. What it does do however, is reinforce that you should create the best possible content, in all its forms, that your target audience will find useful and valuable.

1. Create content that answers questions relevant to your business in as much depth as possible.

2. Ensure a potential customer or user doesn’t need to go somewhere else to find information on what you sell or provide.

A Search Example

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, Google’s algorithms wouldn't understand the importance of that connection, and we returned results about U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil. With BERT, Google 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.Once you have verified your listing, log-in to Google My Business and you’re presented with a dashboard with a large range of options.

For more information take a look at the Google Blog.

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