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Google BERT Update — All You Need To Know

Search intent has been one of the greatest puzzles in the world of search engines. To get a good grasp of what search intent is all about, Google has released its latest update — the Google BERT update.

The Google BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) update is primarily focused on search intent, and why users make search queries.

The concept is quite simple — the open-source algorithm is designed to process each word in the search box query relative to other words in the query.

The BERT update has already been rolled out, and even though the changes may not be visible at first, it would affect one in every ten searches.

All these may be hard to swallow, and if you’re new in the search engine world, it would be pretty tricky to get a good grasp of this concept.

To get you rolling, let’s go over the Google BERT update one more time.

What is the BERT algorithm update in simple terms?

Google has a natural language processing system that matches a search query with the page’s content. To get the most out of this system, Google has to understand search intent fully — and that’s where the BERT algorithm comes into play.

Therefore, the BERT algorithm would help Google achieve one of its primary goals — accurately matching the search results to the searcher’s intent.

Before the emergence of the BERT algorithm, Google has a system of matching a page’s content with synonyms. Now, with the BERT system, the Google search match processes would become even better.

The BERT algorithm will affect both the featured snippets and organic search results. Also, the BERT system won’t come into play for every search query.

With the introduction of the BERT algorithm, you may be wondering how the new Google algorithm relates to natural language processing and RankBrain.

BERT, Natural Language Processing, and RankBrain

Everyone knows that RankBrain is Google’s AI for search queries.

The good news is, the RankBrain system is not going anywhere — BERT adds more juice to the system, and folks across the world would get more tasty results for their searches.

Around five years ago, Google launched the public into the world of RankBrain, a machine-learning artificial intelligence that processes search results.

Although RankBrain is pretty much active, a little push (with the BERT algorithm) would help boost the user experience.

The introduction of RankBrain shows how Google is adjusting its search result process. Instead of focusing primarily on keywords, search results are determined by natural language processing techniques.

For instance, when a user searches for “how to wear brown shoes,” the search result won’t just display a list of ecommerce websites with brown shoes, it would provide a comprehensive list of content containing tips and tricks on wearing brown shoes for various functions.

Moving on, BERT modifies this system to provide a more extensive result to the user — it’s more like the 2.0 evolution of RankBrain.

The primary focus of the BERT technology is to help Google understand the search intent of the user.

Here’s the thing; RankBrain and BERT are separate systems. Any of the two systems can be used to process a search request, but it would largely depend on the complexity of the request.

If you’re like most folks, you’d love to have a firsthand experience on how the BERT algorithm works, and how it is affecting search ranking.

How Google BERT is affecting search results

Simply put, BERT helps Google understand the context of words in the search query. If the words are fully understood, the queries would be easily matched with relevant content.

Here is an illustration that demonstrates the importance of BERT.

Before BERT, when a user searches for “2019 brazil travelers to the USA needs a visa”, the users would most likely get results that are focused on United States travelers going to brazil. But with BERT, Google recognizes the importance of the word “to,” and uses it to provide results that are more tailored to the search intent.

Therefore, when a user searches for “2019 brazil travelers to the USA need a visa,” the search intent would be adequately understood, which leads to a more tailored search result.


2019 brazil travelers to the USA need a visa

It sounds all fine and cool!

Before making lots of changes, you’ve got to understand how the Google BERT algorithm affects Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Google BERT algorithm and SEO

First things first, you must understand that the BERT algorithm is focusing on search queries, not on the page’s content.

Google is getting better at understanding natural language. To get the most of it, you’ve got to optimize your content to fit search queries.

Here’s the thing; you pretty much don’t have much control over the system, but if you’re serious about making the top page, you’ve got to focus on a couple of things.

First on the list is your web content. Focus on creating relevant content that provides value to your audience.

That is, poor quality won’t make the cut.

If you’re a marketer, you can up your game by adding FAQ, Q&A, and How-to sections. These sections would likely increase the possibility of maintaining a juicy position on the search engine result pages (SERPs).

search engine result pages

What’s more, the BERT algorithm would likely affect the way voice searches rank on search engines. And to get the most out of voice searches, you’ve got to optimize your featured snippets adequately.

Conclusion — What Google BERT means for you

Google BERT is a great deal!

Whether you’re an internet marketer, an SEO specialist, or merely a consumer, Google BERT will likely affect the results you get from web searches.

According to Google, BERT is one of the biggest leaps forward — and to take advantage of the system, you’ve got to create more relevant content.

Yes, the BERT algorithm is designed to benefit the searcher, but it doesn’t mean that site ranking won’t be affected by the system.

A sure proof way of getting the most out of the BERT algorithm is to monitor your ranking in the coming months. If you notice any drop in search ranking, then you’ve got to reevaluate your content and make sure it matches the search content.

Have you observed any recent changes? And have your web ranking been affected by the Google BERT update?

Please share in the comments.

Avatar for Akash Srivastava

I'm Akash Srivastava, an AI-powered Freelance SEO Expert & Website Designer. I help businesses and agencies with complete SEO & Web Design services. I regularly write about SEO & Web Design. I have been in this since 2011. I read books in my spare time. You can hire me for complete SEO & Web Design services. Contact me today!