Google’s latest search algorithm, to help better understand natural language
According to research, BERT will impact 1 in 10 of all searches, meaning this is the biggest change since Google released Rank Brain back in 2015.
Google is making is the biggest change in the way it analyses content in almost 5 years. This new update known as BERT is rolling out this week and will be fully live very soon. Google themselves have said that this update will impact 1 in 10 search queries, and with Google processing over 40,000 searches a second, that is a big impact.
What is BERT?
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representation from Transformers, but that was a bit of a mouthful so natural it was shortened. In short, BERT is Google’s way of understanding natural language, meaning it will help Google’s bots to understand the language more as humans do. To understand tone, voice and other aspects of language that people can easily understand but that bots can sometimes struggle with.
How will BERT change things?
Well BERT should make a search you make more relevant. With this update in how Google to process language it will have a better understanding of the context of words and therefore will be able to match those queries with more relevant results than before.
An example that Google themselves used was:
With a search for “2019 brazil traveller to USA need a visa,” the word “to” and its relationship to the other words in query are important for understanding the meaning.
Before BERT Google would not understand the importance of the word “to” in the above query and would often return results about US citizens travelling to Brazil.
With BERT, Search is able to grasp this nuance and know that the very common word “to” actually matters a lot here, and we can provide a much more relevant result for this query,”Google explained.
So is Rank Brain dead?
No, while it may seem that Google’s original answer to understanding content – Rank Brain (which used the content and query to better understand words) had been replaced that is not the case, these two processing algorithms will work side by side to better understand and therefore rank information.
So what should you do? Our Advice
Well, nothing really. If you have been reading our blogs, or the blogs of any SEO really you will already be writing for people and not for computers. Keep that up. With BERT coming Google will be better able to understand your content. Don’t cramp keywords in and keep the content focused on your businesses main services.
Check your analytics for any chance BERT may have caused, good or bad and take note, you may want to rewrite some of your content.