The Google Bert update is here! Where’s Ernie? But seriously, what is BERT and what does it matter for your business. This blog will give you a no-nonsense breakdown.
Google’s latest algorithm update is called BERT. Google changes its algorithm roughly 500 times a year, so what’s the big deal? The BERT update is the most significant change in the last 5 years because it will impact a whopping 10% of all searches.
The Google BERT Update Explained
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. That’s a long way of saying that the update is simply aiming to better understand the intent of search queries and provide better results.
Specifically, BERT allows Google to interpret the entire phrase in a search rather than trying to understand it on a word-by-word basis.
Here’s an Example
One of the examples provided by Google shows clearly how this works:
For the search query “do estheticians stand a lot at work,” a pre-BERT result gave an article about whether or not being an esthetician was a stand-alone job, i.e. if it was something you could do full time to earn a living. That’s because by analyzing the query on a word-by-word basis, it placed heavy value on the word stand, but it wasn’t the right kind of stand.
A post-BERT search, meanwhile, provided exactly what the searcher was looking for: an article about the physical demands of being an esthetician.
How will BERT impact your SEO?
If your business experiences a sudden drop in traffic over the coming weeks, but you’re not seeing any drop in rankings in tools like SEMrush, it’s likely that the BERT update has negatively impacted the number of long-tail keywords your site is ranking for.
If you’re not sure what long-tail keywords are, or how to find them, or why they matter, check out this blog on how to find long-tail keywords.
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