In the past five years, Google BERT Update is the most significant change to Google’s algorithm, which affects around 10% of the search queries, featured snippets, and organic rankings. With this update, Google is looking forward to improving and enhancing the interpretation of complicated long-tail search queries along with displaying way more relevant search results. By using and implementing Natural Language Processing (NLP), Google has improved its ability to understand the semantic context of a search term query to a great extent. Initially, BERT used only Google’s organic search results; however, since December 2019, BERT has rolled out to more than 70 languages across the globe. When it comes to featured snippets (displayed over the organic search results at position 0 with list, text, or table), BERT has already extended its use in all the 25 languages, for which Google displays the featured snippets.
Understanding the BERT Update
The term BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, which refers to an algorithm model based on neural networks. The machine focuses on interpreting the complexity of human language with the help of NLP. To be specific, Google uses the BERT update for having a better understanding of the context of a search query and for interpreting the true meaning of individual words more accurately. The BERT update is a complete breakthrough built on mathematical models known as transformers, which analyze a word corresponding to all the other words in a particular sentence and doesn’t only pay attention to the meaning of words in isolation. It is specifically useful in interpreting the meaning of prepositions along with the position of individual words within a search query.
The Importance of Google BERT Update
As per Google, somewhere around 15% of the entire search queries are fresh and new, which implies the fact that they are being searched for the very first time. Additionally, the phrasing or formation of words in search queries is becoming increasingly closer to real-time human communication – to some extent and not entirely under the influence of technological advancements like voice search. As claimed by reports and surveys conducted, the proportion of voice search will hit 50% within the next two years. Another crucial factor is the increasingly complex length of search queries, due to which – 70% of the present-day searches can be considered long-tail. What people do is, turn up to Google with fully formulated queries and questions, and then expect concise and relevant answers, that too, within a few seconds – now, the BERT update constitutes a crucial part of the technology and makes this possible.
Is there a need to optimize your Marketing Strategy Accordingly?
Google strongly believes that it is its responsibility to figure out what the users are searching for and then provide helpful and relevant information from the web, irrespective of how they spell or combine the words in their search query. The BERT update is only an effort by Google to understand the searcher’s query and offer relevant results, with no intention of penalizing any website. Therefore, all the business owners and Digital Marketing specialists should focus on writing content for their target audience, keeping a check on search traffic, and optimizing as per the search trends. Concerning the BERT update, here are a few tips for you to improve your SEO Strategy and grab the opportunity of ranking on the top.
1- Ensure Using Long Tail Words
The BERT update is Google’s initiative of better understanding the searchers’ queries. Hence, using long-tail keywords related to the topics that shall match with any related phrase entered by the enquirer is what deserves your utmost attention. If you face any issue generating long-tail keywords, then you can effectively use tools like Ubbersuggest, SEMrush, to name a few, and decide the keywords you have to focus on in your overall SEO strategy.
2- Don’t Focus on the Length of your Articles or Blogs
Writing lengthy articles and blog posts used to be an age-old tradition in digital marketing and Content Marketing. But, in Google’s BERT update, the length of an article is not as relevant as it used to be – though it doesn’t imply that Google shall not consider lengthy articles. What matters is that relevant, useful, informative, and engaging articles shall appear on the top of the search results. Therefore, you should pay due attention to readability, human understanding, and content relation. You can also make use of tools like Grammarly and Hemingway for the same.
Pros and Cons of the BERT Update
It is a matter of fact that yes – the way every coin has two sides, every update has both pros and cons as well. Although the revisions correspond to making the search results better with an adequate understanding of a user’s natural language, they are still going to affect one in ten searches – implying the update shall affect 10% of the total searches (as mentioned above).
Google shall not pay attention to Keyword Density (percentage of times a particular phrase or keyword appears on a page as compared to the total number of words present on the page) anymore, and try to understand the content of the text. However, what shall continue to remain as a challenge for the search engine giant is the concept of language understanding.
Without the second thoughts, Google BERT Update shall make websites lose some traffic. However, there is no need to worry even if you see a downfall in your traffic generated or conversion rates as you need to make the most of this opportunity and come up with compelling content that is super-specific to the user persona. You should efficiently address the user concerns and answer their questions in your articles or blog posts. If you are not aware of the questions you should answer, then you can use tools like Quora.
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