This is something big. Google just announced one of the most important updates in 5 years. I’m talking about the BERT update and it influences up to 10% of the search queries in the US. This will surely have an effect on the SEO and other marketing domains.
What is BERT?
This is probably the biggest change ever since google introduced Rankbrain in 2015. BERT means Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It’s google’s technique for NLP (Natural Language Processing)pretraining. This change will help google understand search queries just like humans do. This is surely a great jump from the current algorithm.
I’m sure you must have faced this. You search for a particular thing and google shows you something completely different. Well, this is set to change forever. BERT will match the queries with relevant search results. Now, Google will be able to understand the context in which a particular word is used.
Earlier Google couldn’t understand how the word ‘to’ is used in the context of a particular sentence. For instance, if you search “Spain traveler to the US passport and visa requirements, Google will show results of US passengers traveling to Spain. This is surely a mismatch. With BERT, Google will be able to understand the nuance of the word ‘to’ in the sentence.
Well, you can imagine the kind of change this is about to bring. Presently, BERT is mainly aimed at English queries and will cater to more languages in the future. Now, talking about the snippets, the search engine giant mentions that it will have an impact on that too. So, basically, the whole scene is about to change for good.
BERT and its impact on SEO
Whenever Google updates its algorithm, it’s bound to have an effect on the ranking algorithms too. Since the focus is on the way a particular word is used, BERT will not impact poorly written content. If the content of your page is weak, BERT won’t be of much help for the SEO.
Historically, pronouns have been a source of problem in the search queries. BERT has made managing this easier. Now, this is possible due to the bidirectional nature of the latest algorithm. This essentially means that on-page SEO will directly depend on how you structure the key sentences in the query. If the content is bad, BERT will be of no use.
Furthermore, the BERT model will impact both the featured snippets and search rankings. Well, presently BERT caters to just 1 in 10 English searches in the US. The new algorithm has an impact on Google’s hardware. That’s why it’s just being tested for limited searches at the moment.
What it means for the marketing agencies?
BERT is currently in the testing phase. So, we are yet to decipher how the algorithm actually works in the marketing domain. With most companies aiming at an influential presence online, BERT will surely have an impact.
We’re saying this because the quality of content has always been an important ranking factor for Google. With the introduction of this latest algorithm, website owners need to pay attention to the quality of content.
Right now, we’re waiting for the full implementation of the algorithm. Understanding language is pretty complex. Google also admits the same and is committed to understanding human queries in a better way.
The marketing agencies should come up with strategies that can adapt to this latest change. With a well-sketched strategy, enhancing online presence will surely be easier. Presently, Google is working on enhancing the usability of the new algorithm. When the full-update is available, planning a strategy will be much easier.
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