What is the BERT update?
On October 25, 2019, Google’s Pandu Nayak (Google Fellow and Vice President, Search) announced that BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) was live and affecting 10% of all Google searches.
“These improvements are oriented around improving language understanding, particularly for more natural language/conversational queries, as BERT is able to help Search better understand the nuance and context of words in Searches and better match those queries with helpful results.
Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like “for” and “to” matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query. You can search in a way that feels natural for you.”
Think of BERT as Google’s context expert. It handles tasks that require analyzing long-chain queries with multiple parts of speech when the context of the words is critical to the point of the question.
Example 1: 2019 Brazil Traveler to USA Need a Visa
Prior to the update, Google would have interpreted the question without the “to” and spliced the statement for the interpretation: “US traveller needs visa for Brazil trip.” With the BERT update, Google can now understand the context of “to” in relation to the other words and answer how a “Brazilian can get a visa to travel to the US.” See Google’s diagram below:
Example 2: Do Estheticians Stand a lot at Work
Again, prior to the update, Google would not have understood the meaning of “stand” in relation to “work” and would have returned results on the general work of an esthetician. With the BERT update, Google understands the context of “stand” to mean “how much physical standing does an esthetician do at work.” As seen in the Google diagram below the results are impressive.
How does the BERT update affect your on-page SEO?
The Google BERT update improves the contextual analysis of search queries, not web pages. However, the quality of on-page SEO is now more important than ever. Google Search engines will laser direct each query from long-tail keywords to exact contextual matched website articles optimized in a similar way. So, websites with poor English and weak grammar beware. An algorithm has beaten you down. The winners of this update are the long-form 500 word plus articles with excellent English that can capitalize on the context of the search query.
5 Important Take-Away Points:
- Google’s BERT Update improves the Search understanding of context.
- Sloppy content with poor grammar and bad English will be negatively impacted by the update.
- High-quality on-page SEO is particularly important for sustaining high SERPs.
- Make sure your articles and blogs are grammatically great and properly punctuated.
- Always remember to be natural. Google likes authentic, clear, and concise language that helps build the world up not backwards.
For more information on the Google BERT update or how you can improve your on-page SEO in light of the new update please feel free to reach out to us at any time.
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