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What is Google BERT and How Will it Affect Your Site

Nick Fischer

By Nick Fischer | November 2019

What is Google BERT?

BERT is the latest search algorithm release from Google. It is focused on a better understanding of natural language to provide you with more relevant search results.

This is the largest change to Google’s search system since RankBrain and is said to impact about 1 in 10 search queries. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers! Yeah, we don’t know what that means either.

Actually, we kind of do, so we’ll try to explain it.

Basically, BERT allows AI to understand the full context of a word by looking at the words that come before and after it. This is particularly helpful for longer search queries where prepositions like “for” and “to” determine the meaning of the query. This lets users search in a way that feels more natural to them like in the form of a question.

How will this affect your site? 

Since this is one of the largest recorded updates to Google’s search system, it could certainly have an impact on your site’s rankings. You may see search traffic to certain pages on your site go up or down. It all depends on the quality of content on those pages. If your content is written for your users, the page will likely rank well. If your content is stuffed with keywords and reads poorly, the page likely won’t rank very well.

The best way to optimize your pages is to focus on content. Write clean, quality content that is easy for your users to understand. Make sure the information your users want to see is on the page and prioritized in a way that makes sense. Also, make sure your pages load super-fast so you can get the content to them as quickly as possible.

If you’re finding that your search rankings have fallen after the BERT update, it may be a good time to look at your content. If you have any questions or need an expert opinion, contact us and we’d be more than happy to help!

Nick Fischer

Written by

Nick Fischer

Nick is a front-end developer at Element5. Day to day he helps support Element5’s clients' needs and assists with any web projects that come our way.

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