Many are talking about Google’s BERT update and with good reason. BERT will influence about 10% of searches. That may not seem like a lot, but this update is bound to impact your traffic and visibility one way or the other. The whole point of this massive Google update is so the search engine can better understand the intent behind the user’s questions. Taking all of this into consideration, it’s easy to see how such an update can influence website rankings. One might ask the question of how can we adapt local search SEO with all the updates that Google throws out. Because of that, it’s important for us to look into what BERT is, the exact changes BERT makes, and how it may change the 1st page of Google.
What is BERT?
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. The main idea of this means that it helps for language processing and it helps Google analyze the context of words in search questions. By distinguishing the contextual nuances of words, BERT helps google sort through relevant information, bring us a clearer answer to our questions. Ultimately, BERT processes language in a way that is more natural than traditional algorithms.
The first change people have been noticing with BERT has to do with featured snippets. Because of the inability to process certain longer questions, Google wasnât able to provide a specific snippet for every question and get it right. By processing certain words much more important to context, featured snippets can be more precise. The approach towards snippets marks the first difference users notice in a search engine algorithm. As far as SEO goes, this means that you can have content that answers a specific question and still have a chance to make it as a featured snippet.
Algorithms and context
BERT works noticeably different from Google’s older method of trying to discern context. RankBrain is only able to look at the context of a word before the word or after it. It may also try to take a better look at the content. BERT does a much better job of this because it looks at contextual information both before and after a word to better understand the meaning of that word. Once again, this means more specific answers for specific questions. This doesnât affect SEO in the long run.
When RankBrain came out in 2015, the focus was on content being clear and concise with great quality. The only thing to do here is to go on making quality content as best as possible. You can even focus on this more, given that Google is getting better at reading sophisticated questions that your content may answer.
BERT will only make a difference in 10% percent of Google searches, so the chances of it making an effect on your traffic are somewhat slim. If you do notice your traffic becoming lower, address the usefulness and relevance of the content. The algorithm picks up specific questions, allowing your content to be that much more specific and useful when answering questions. Next to that, keep in mind to fulfill other conditions that help with ranking. (https://seoworx.net/website-ranking-factors-2020/)