Have you been reading about Google’s new BERT algorithm update and wondering how it’s going to impact your work as an SEO manager? Are you trying to reassure your team that BERT won’t mean the undoing of all the ground you’ve gained together when it comes to their web presence? Fortunately, if you arm yourself with a bit of information, the BERT update is easily explained and seems far less nefarious. In fact, if you’ve been doing your job properly when it comes to content and keywords, the changes might actually prove beneficial to the websites you manage.
BERT Algorithm Widespread Impact
You’ve probably heard that this latest algorithm update will impact 1 in 10 search queries. In addition, the new changes represent the biggest update Google has made to its search parameters since it released RankBrain. There’s a good chance BERT will impact your websites, now or in the future. That’s a bit scary without additional explanation, certainly. Fortunately, a thorough understanding of the update and some well-planned preparations can make it work for, and not against, the websites you manage.
What is the BERT algorithm update?
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, which may not mean a whole lot to anyone not working in the field of search engine optimization. As you may be aware, the algorithm changes are essentially designed to better understand the cadence of natural language processing as users would employ it. In this way, the search engine can be even more responsive to your needs.
SEO guru Neil Patel explains that BERT algorithm update will take search beyond its current capabilities. For instance, he says, today you can type in a flight number and get its status without exerting much effort. With BERT, autocomplete can show you the answers you’re looking for without you even needing to complete what you are typing. Once again, Google is attempting to get inside the human brain to perfect its search offerings.
In addition, Patel explains, BERT better understands the use of prepositions like “for” or “to” and honing search results accordingly so users get increasingly relevant results. The search giant is also doing a better job of matching terms under BERT, so that implied meanings in search queries are better represented in results returned.
Featured snippets are also refreshed with this new Google algorithm update, so the purpose of your search will be better represented in the snippets that are returned.
BERT’s Impact on SEO
How all of these changes impact SEO really boils down to the content you have available on your site. The more informational keywords you are able to use, and the more specific your content, the greater the likelihood you will shine under the BERT algorithm.
Content, according to Google, should be unique, compelling, and overall useful to readers. This is no different than previous SEO recommendations for site content, but failure to comply will come at a greater price with the revised changes to search.
Along the same lines, as Patel explains, keyword density is going to continue to become less and less important. Focus on building an SEO-optimized site with fabulous content that will keep users coming back. Google is essentially a user with a human brain, at this point. The algorithm will appreciate your hard work.
Creating Specific Content for the BERT Algorithm
Creating specific content tailored around the precise answers searchers are looking for, rather than vague, generalized content that answers 20 different tangential questions, is the key to success under the BERT algorithm.
Of course, the problem here is determining what those search queries will be, precisely, as well as the correct ways of phrasing questions and answers to ensure they are picked up as being natural and logical.
One option for SEO-industry professionals is to outsource their keyword and content suggestions or full-blown creation to a firm that specializes in just that. Galileo Tech Media is known for its ability to identify long-tail content that is hyper-specific to certain personas or customer journeys. That’s a critical piece to succeeding under the BERT update.
By outsourcing these needs to someone highly specialized in the field of specific keywords and content, you can free yourself up to handle your brand’s other digital marketing needs.
BERT Algorithm Explained
Essentially, the most important thing to take away from an explanation of the BERT update is a heightened focus on what SEO’s need to do. Be as specific as possible when answering questions in your content, and do it in a way that is simply more useful than anything anyone else is doing. Create a better experience, whether it be through text, video, or an image gallery. Provide the best possible information, and it doesn’t matter as much how long your article is. (That said, long-form content still works in certain situations, but it isn’t a new area of focus for SEO professionals.)
It’s essential that you use the right long-tail keywords in your clients’ content. Most keywords used are just one or two words long. That means much tighter competition for space at the top in Google rankings. The more specific you are with long-tail keywords, the greater your chances of winning the ranking war and ending up on page one of search.
As you become more specific with your content, keep in mind that a small drop in visitors to your clients’ sites might not be a bad thing. Consider the fact that the people coming to your sites are going to be better-served by the unique, specific, and high-quality content you offer. Bounce rates and conversions are bound to be higher, even if fewer people overall find your site. The ones who do are truly your target market. In this regard, the BERT update is truly doing you a favor.
No time to worry about identifying long-tail keywords or the highly specific content you’ll need for BERT? Content us today. Our team are experts in precisely this area and can ensure that you win the battle of the rankings with Google’s new search algorithm.