BERT Alert: How the new Google update improves search results for users

Written on 03 November, 2019 by Julia Hammond
Categories News

Google recently announced a brand new update to their search algorithms, known as BERT. BERT has been in testing since last year and was officially rolled out at the end of October for English language queries. Google intends to expand this update into other languages in the future.

What’s so special about BERT? For the first time, Google will be analysing search queries rather than webpages and using context to bring the most relevant results to its users.

The lowdown on BERT

As search users, we’ve become used to speaking in keywords. If we want to know “Who won the AFL Grand Final in 2011?” we don’t necessarily search the whole question; we may just punch in “AFL final 2011 winner”. In most cases, keyword searches return the results we’re seeking. But some questions are not easy to phrase in keywords. And until now search engines struggled to answer our natural language questions with the most relevant results.

BERT is designed to change all that. It’s a form of AI that will analyse search queries to improve Google’s ability to answer our natural language questions. An example from Google’s announcement blog can be seen below:

Image source

By placing more emphasis on the ‘for someone’ portion of the query, BERT is able to understand the context of your question. It shows results related to getting medicine for a third party, where previously the results were simply about getting medicine from a pharmacy.

What do most Google updates have in common?

Google rolls out updates often enough. You may recall another important Google update earlier this year; the June 2019 Core Update. If you follow along with most Google updates, you should notice a common theme. Google is continuously placing a high priority on user experience. When they make updates it’s almost always with the search user in mind.

Just like your business is always seeking to provide better customer service, Google wants to do the same. So, if you run your SEO with user experience in mind – you’re likely to maintain solid rankings with the search engine.

Will your SEO be affected?

As usual, Google insists that you can’t optimise your website specifically for BERT. Its impacts will be unpredictable as the AI tracks user interactions – something none of us can reasonably predict. The secrets to running a successful SEO campaign remain the same; with quality content, user experience features and a clean web design being important.

Seamless SEO is our specialty

No matter how many times Google chooses to update its algorithms and technology – Webcentral’s experts will be here to help you. We have years of experience running seamless SEO campaigns and we’ll continue to update our services to provide the best results to your business. Call our team on 1300 663 995 or enquire online to get started.


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