It’s been over a month since Google launched their new search algorithm update. So, what does it do and what has changed since its release?
Meet BERT, Google’s latest search algorithm update launched back in November. BERT is a big deal in the SEO world and is considered Google’s most important update in the past five years, affecting around 10% of all search queries. The big deal about BERT is that it can better understand the context of how users search for information and products.
That’s great… So, what does that actually mean?
Understanding you better
The focus behind the BERT update was to improve how Google understands the context of what you are searching for in order to provide the exact information/product/service search result. BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is an algorithm that incorporates unique functions such as question answering, speech tagging and entity recognition.
This is to better understand the context of what you are trying to search for, rather than providing search results solely based on matching keywords.
How to catch a cow fishing
If reading that confused you, don’t be – it’s all about context. A cow is also another name for a large striped fish that lives in saltwater on the Atlantic Coast. So, what has this got to do with search algorithms? Everything.
A few months ago, you would see a lot of websites and images relating to cows and livestock if you searched ‘how to catch a cow fishing’ into Google. That wasn’t very helpful, especially when millions of fishing enthusiasts would have to think of different ways they could re-word their search phrase.
Since BERT has been released, Google picks up on the word ‘fishing’ and understands the context of what you are searching for, allowing it to provide much better search results due to understanding the context of the search phrase.
What does this mean for you?
The BERT algorithm update will most likely affect every business – but there’s no reason to panic. In fact, it’s most likely for the better. It means more users will be able to find exactly what they are searching for, including your business.
However, BERT is not something you can simply outsmart or ‘change tactics’ for. You can’t optimise any content to be ‘BERT friendly’. Dawn Anderson, a search algorithm expert stated that BERT is “thousands of algorithms layered together”. If your content is well-written and informative, then BERT will be able to direct more relative traffic to your website.
The main thing to take away is that you don’t need to change a thing. The BERT update is all about making it easier for users to better find the information they are searching for. If your website content is informative and relative to your business and industry, then it’s business as usual.