The BERT update and industries most affected

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dev
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2020-01-22

In late October 2019, Google rolled out its BERT update to its Search ranking system. Here is why SEO agency in Melbourne recommends the latest algorithm of Google. BERT is the most significant update to Google’s search platform since Rankbrain was introduced in 2015 and it is predicted to affect around 10% of all search queries.

What is BERT?

If the words Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers don’t mean very much to you, you are far from alone. In short, Google’s new custom-built super computers are using machine learning technology to look at the words surrounding each search query to better understand its context and deliver more accurate results.

As BERT is a language model, businesses across a range of industries and sectors should pay close attention to how Google plans to deliver results to its users moving forward.

What queries will be affected by BERT?

Featured snippets and organic results will be affected. As Google utilises its new capabilities to better understand the intent behind each search, BERT might also impact the type of featured snippet that is used and when it is displayed.

It is important to note that Google has openly stated that because its function is to enhance understanding of searcher intent, there isn’t really a way for site owners to optimise for BERT. It is not so much about ensuring that your website is long-tail keyword search friendly, but is instead about helping Google to understand what searchers mean and connecting that knowledge to some of the more specific information and content already sitting on your site.

Excitingly, there is a distinct upside for content writers and SEOs here as they should feel more encouraged to focus on writing excellent content for real people than attempting to write with machines and algorithms in mind.

Can I see if I have been impacted by BERT?

BERT mostly deals with complicated, long-tail search queries. As these searches will often be unique, it can be difficult to measure the impact of this update in the ways we have become accustomed to in recent years. Many tracking tools primarily monitor shorter search queries, which will mean that the impact of BERT will be less visible here.

What does BERT mean for on-page SEO?

Poorly written websites will struggle to perform well in search results. Web pages will need to have a strong focus moving forwards and those that are light on content must utilise cues including internal linking to deliver results.

For site owners who are unsure about best on-page optimisation practices, engaging the services of our professional SEO agency in Melbourne will help to shape a strong optimisation strategy that will translate to a solid performance in search engine results pages (SERPs).

As BERT will affect ten per cent of all English language search queries, this update is significant and should not be ignored. Keeping users in mind will help you to drive long-term results from your search strategy.

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