What You Should Know about Google’s BERT Algorithm

Posted on
November 15, 2019
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If you’re a business manager, you’ve likely been hearing a lot lately about Google BERT.

That’s because Google has stated that BERT will impact “1 in 10” searches.

Why is this, if there’s no conclusive evidence to support the statement?

The SEO community seems rather unfazed, and there hasn’t been any news of it impacting local businesses. Besides, it’s only 10% of searches that are predicted to be affected, and that’s only a tiny portion of what’s contributed by people using the internet.

However, if Google BERT eventually does take over search engine usage, then businesses may need to include new changes to the search engine optimization of their websites to compensate. 

Before you make any significant changes to your SEO game plan, there’s a lot more to learn about Google BERT.

The Background of Google’s BERT Algorithm

On October 21st, 2019,BERT was integrated into Google’s search system. It included featured snippets along with support for any English-language questions. Eventually, Google BERT will include support for all languages, but there is no expected date for this to occur.

As of now, there is no sure way of telling how it affects websites with existing search engine optimized content. However, it might make changes to the way featured snippets appear in search results.

What is a featured snippet? 

Whenever you search on Google, there are only a few feature results that show up on the top of the page. Generally, if you’re browsing the web, you’ll find these results to be the most relevant to your question. But remember, Google BERT only uses 10% of these terms.

If your business appears in the featured snippets or you want it to, then you may want to stay on top of the developments of Google BERT.

What Is Google BERT?

By now, you may not know what Google BERT does, or you may have only heard some things about it.

The “BERT” in Google stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Essentially, it is a network-developed technology that tries to understand the natural language of people typing in complex search terms. Instead of Google using a few keywords to generate relevant snippets, BERT also includes or improves upon the usage of complex search terms.

For example, when someone types in two different phrases with the same meaning, the same results will occur. Before BERT, a Google search would only come up with results of precise and defined definitions.

Now people will be able to type their inquiries into a search without having to refine or cut out naturally used words.

Is Google BERT Utilized for Every Search?

Not all searches will use the Google BERT algorithm.

Google said that BERT would only impact around 10% of all searches. With that in mind, we can say that most searches are not conversational in nature or use prepositions such as ‘to’ and ‘for.’ Google BERT algorithm is only improving the search results for queries that do. 

If anything, new content you put on your business website can include these natural keywords to help improve the search engine optimization of your site.

How to Use Google BERT

Google BERT algorithm may change which snippets appear in the top results. If your business’s content already appears here, you might need to reoptimize your content to include long-tail keywords.

Let’s say you have a piece of content on your site that appears in a featured snippet. The main keyword or idea for the content is “Ant removal.” Google BERT may choose a featured snippet article to replace your content with a phrase that includes “How do I remove ants from a house” if the phrase ranks higher than “Ant removal.”

If your content ends up coming down from a featured snippet, you can rewrite your existing content to include some of the more natural keyword phrases.

Changing Content to Include Google BERT Algorithm

Businesses with high-ranking search results and featured snippets need to make minor adjustments to their existing content, so it continues to lead in results. Most likely, you have tons of content with high-ranking short-tail keywords.

You don’t have to create fresh content from scratch – you could choose to spruce up your content with high-ranking organic phrases.

Since before we’ve noted that the conversational keyword phrases will only impact a small portion of overall search results, you won’t need to include a ton of them in your content. Consider how many words per page you have and add the phrases as they seem fit.

If your existing business content read as well with the new phrases added in, then don’t be afraid to recreate your content from scratch. 

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