What Is Google's BERT Update and How Will it Impact Brands?

Mon Dec 23 2019

What Is Google's BERT Update and How Will it Impact Brands?

Think about a recent internet search that left you frustrated. You may have received search results that matched some words in your query but missed the overall context of your search phrase.

You are not alone in your aggravation. According to Statista.com, customer satisfaction with the search engine giant was down in 2019.; However it was lower in 2015.  

That year, Google introduced RankBrain, which is live Artificial Intelligence (AI). It helps the search engine process results. Google has now introduced a new process designed to elevate search experiences.

Google’s latest algorithm update is called BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representation from Transformers.

This new search algorithm is designed to benefit internet searchers, but it will also affect content marketers.

What Is Google’s BERT?

The new BERT algorithm is groundbreaking because it can more easily understand natural language.

It allows Google to process the context of words in a search query rather than merely hunting for specific terms. This is set to make internet searches more relevant and efficient.

However, this new development is more than an updated processing strategy. It is also a framework for information processing and machine learning.

The BERT research was presented as an academic paper in October 2018 titled “BERT: Pre-training of Deep Bidirectional Transformers for Language Understanding.”

BERT is expected to affect about 10 percent of all Google searches. It will impact organic rankings and featured snippets.

BERT is a significant step forward in natural language processing NLP, a form of AI that assists machines in comprehending, controlling, and directing human language.

This branch of technology is a blending of mathematical linguistics and advanced computer science.

It uses complex artificial neural networks that allow machines to both understand and learn.

This advanced framework is designed to make communication between humans and machines easier.

For a vast number of internet users, this innovation means they will enjoy highly relevant results for searches. For some content marketers, though, it could mean changes in SEO strategy.

BERT’s Effects on Internet Marketing Campaigns

For many brands, content marketing has become a significant part of their overall marketing plans. Most online marketers focus on keywords to try to rank high in search queries.

While there has been an increasing emphasis in the past few years on offering quality content, Google’s BERT update is making this a necessity rather than a best-case scenario.

This new algorithm is a boost for sites seeking to do well in organic search results and that offer valuable, well-written content formatted for easy understanding and indexing.

Sites that publish irrelevant or low-quality material filled with keywords to rank higher in searches may not fare so well. In fact, they are already seeing numbers of site visits decrease.

Honestly, there are no specific steps marketers can take to turn Google’s innovation to their advantage and optimize content to benefit from BERT.

However, there are two crucial things brands can do now to help increase web site traffic.

Focus on Quality Rather Than Quantity

With BERT, longer copy is not necessarily better. Google search liaison Danny Sullivan says that content marketers should focus on creating high-quality content filled with specific information.

This content should be geared toward users rather than packed haphazardly with keywords.

Those marketers already striving to deliver great material that answers consumers’ questions should keep doing it.

For them, BERT is nothing to fear and should increase site traffic. For those more careless marketers who have been focusing only on keywords, BERT means they will need to improve their online material.

Understand how BERT Works

The more marketers understand what BERT is and what it is not, the better they can navigate the new terrain of Google searches.

BERT is nothing short of Google’s attempt to improve the entire search experience for users. When marketers focus on serving consumers, buyers get products and services they want, and brands enjoy increased revenue.

Google’s BERT algorithm has made significant changes in how internet searches are processed. But that does not mean marketers must completely rethink their SEO strategies.

For those already publishing consumer-focused content, this development is helpful. Those not doing so will quickly learn it is to their benefit to feature high-quality material.

Google’s BERT Update provides opportunities for brands to focus more on consumer needs and wants.

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