Google recently announced a new Google algorithm called BERT and they’ve already started rolling out the changes. What does this mean for your business? Should I be worried?

In this article we’re going to cover:

  • What BERT is
  • What effect will the algorithm have on search engine results pages (SERP)
  • How the Google update will affect your business
  • The changes you can make now to ensure your website stays relevant

What is BERT?

BERT is an acronym that stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transforms. We know what you’re thinking. So what does that even mean? In the most basic terms BERT has been developed to help computers understand the way humans speak and our language patterns.

Will Google’s new algorithm affect search engine results?

Definitely. In fact, Google has already started to introduce changes, starting with English and then being updated globally. It is the biggest change since the introduction of RankBrain (part of Google’s core algorithm that uses machine learning for computers to get smarter) and it will affect 1 in 10 search queries. In the most basic terms, there is no doubt that it will affect the traffic to your website.

Using Natural Language Processing (NLP), it allows Google to predict what you’re trying to search for before you even finish typing. You may have noticed when you type into the search engine bar, Google will try to anticipate your next words, this is called Natural Language Processing.  Try this out for yourself. Open Google Chrome and start typing: What does the...Google will try to predict what you are searching for and provide you with a selection to choose from. As you keep typing, if it hasn’t already figured out what your are searching for, it will keep throwing up suggestions. Google was already using this before the introduction of it’s new algorithm, but let's take a closer look at the effect Bert will have on search results.

One of the examples of Bert in action that Google provided was a search that included the phrase ‘2019 brazil traveller to usa need a visa. In this search, the word to is exceptionally important to understanding the correct context of the phrase. Before Bert, Google would have struggled to comprehend that sentence structure and the relevance of preposition and would have included search results about travellers from the USA travelling to Brazil. Now that Bert is on the scene, Google now knows that the word ‘to’ is very pertinent to the search results. Going forward, Google will be able to take into consideration words like ‘for’ and ‘to’.

There are also changes to featured snippets. For example, if you searched how to parallel park on a hill, Google would put the emphasis on the parallel parking part of the search query and ignore the hill aspect of the question, so the Google update is going to make your search requests much more relevant.

What does the new Google Algorithm mean for my business?

If you haven’t paid much attention to your SEO, it would be a very good idea to get an SEO or marketing expert audit your website. People are getting more specific in their search queries and with the update, it means your website and SEO need to be very specific too.

What changes can I make to my website to ensure it says relevant?

Any SEO expert will tell you to create extra long educational content is the answer, but BERT doesn’t count words. It doesn’t care whether you have a 500 word page or 900 words, because it’s quality that counts. Does it answer the questions your customers would be typing into a search field? Is your content informative and educational? Are you using the specific words in your page titles? It’s time to get ultra-specific.

Check out where you rank on the search results, if you notice you’re not ranking as highly or you’re not getting the traffic you used to, at XDesigns Advertising we can help you get back on track. Remember, it’s not about ensuring you just rank for certain keywords, it’s a holistic approach that’s required. For an SEO health check to ensure your website is ready for the BERT Google Algorithm updates, contact us today.