What Is Google BERT? The latest Google SEO update for 2020 is BERT. BERT is an acronym for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Google BERT SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
BERT is Google’s new SEO update for 2020. Search engines, including Google are getting better at recognizing natural speech patterns. Anything that brings changes to Google’s search engine is potentially significant. So what, exactly, is BERT, and how is it going to impact my Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
This unlikely term represents Google’s latest push toward Natural Language Processing (NLP) and is Google’s biggest change in five years. BERT should help Google better understand the more complex search queries, particularly when it comes to long-tail keywords.
That alone may present fresh opportunities to optimize your content and make it more visible. In this article, we’ll take a look at what BERT is, what BERT does, and why the update is an important development. Plus, we’ll talk about how you can prepare your website’s content. Let’s get to work!
Introducing Google’s BERT
BERT isn’t a difficult concept when you get right down to it. Before BERT, Google ignored certain words that it couldn’t process correctly like when a user searched in natural language. This was especially true of questions and long-tail phrases and included conjunctions like “for” and “but,” as well as prepositions.
Google knew these words affected the overall meaning of the search query, but wasn’t able to put that meaning into the results, until now. With BERT, Google can process these words can affect the overall meaning of a search query. So it has created an algorithm to analyze how words are used, and how they relate to each other inside each query.
In the example, “flights from Miami to New York” is a very different query from “flights from New York to Miami.” Before BERT, Google simply combined the two by ignoring the words “from” and “to”. Now, the search engine is able to make searching more natural to the way humans talk and write, which makes for more accurate results, by taking into account how each word in a phrase relates to the others.
What Natural Language Processing (NLP) Is
Natural Language Processing (NLP) plays a significant role in BERT. It’s a form of artificial intelligence used to analyze language, which can help computers understand how people speak and form queries.
NLP has led to developments such as chatbots and suggested text on smartphones. The intention behind BERT is to apply those same techniques to search engines. With BERT, Google Search can gain a better understanding of the context behind user queries. That’s especially true for longer search queries, which can be more easily misunderstood due to the nuances of language.
Why Google BERT Is Necessary
Every year, Google makes thousands of changes to its search algorithms to improve the user experience. Most of these are so small that users don’t notice, but they do occasionally stir up concern. People often worry that their search rankings will drop with new updates, but Google’s goal
In the past, search algorithms were too simple to truly understand many complicated queries. That has always been a problem for Google, but it’s also an issue for website owners. The more niche your subject matter is, the harder it can be for audiences to find your site.
By better understanding the nuances of language with BERT, Google can more accurately connect searchers with the content they seek. This is excellent news for anyone trying to raise their search rankings.
4 Key Ways Prepare Your Website for Google BERT
Search rankings are important for website owners, which is why it’s vital to have the right strategy in place. BERT will likely affect your search rankings, but the good news is that your approach won’t have to change very much. Let’s take a look at what you can do to improve your chances of ranking high for relevant search queries moving forwards.
1. Keep Your Keywords Simple and Conversational
This means that your content should have a clear goal. You’ll want to provide genuine information in a way that sounds natural, rather than focusing on keyword density.
Up to now, the best keyword practices involved mixing long-tail phrases of three or more words with shorter keywords. BERT is likely to impact that trend of peppering your chosen keywords throughout your content, by prioritizing tight, conversational pieces.
Google has always advised that the best SEO should be to write for the people. This is even more true now. As BERT’s analysis of language improves, so should your natural language articles. For example, it should be better able to determine when a blog post has something valuable to say, and when it’s just a list of keywords. So it’s best to focus on creating genuine content that’s designed to help your audience, and let the keywords flow naturally.
2. Cluster Information With Long-Tail Keywords
BERT will make long-tail keywords more relevant than ever. When people use Google, they aren’t typically thinking about relevant keywords. They’re looking for answers to their questions, recipes, directions, and advice. While content quality is the number-one priority, keep your focus on relevance.
For example, someone looking for a coffee shop near a specific location will want their query to produce relevant information:
A search for a coffee shop.
Google’s goal is to take longer queries and answer them accurately. For that reason, including long-tail keywords where relevant will most likely be good for your search rankings.
With that in mind, try to include long-tail keywords that don’t interrupt the flow of your content. Complex searches need to be answered as clearly as possible in natural speech. If you can demonstrate that you’re filling that niche, Google should recognize your content, especially now, as valuable.
3. Tailor Your Content for Informational Searches
Informational searches are general queries that cover a broad topic, and may have thousands upon thousands of results. Often, these are questions that many people want answered.
As BERT learns to better understand language, it’s likely result will be to make answering specific questions easier. This means it’s a good idea to provide content that addresses informational searches. This approach will likely give you a boost your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
There are various ways to do that. You can write a step-by-step guide about how to make a pie, or create a blog post about how to find the best coffee shop in your town.
The possibilities are endless. What matters most is to create something that is genuinely useful to your target audience. As you develop new content, it might be best to stay on topic and avoid investing your time in anything that doesn’t answer the search query.
4. Use Stop Words When Relevant
The prepositions we mentioned at the top of this article are termed “stop” words. These include articles, prepositions, like (i.e., “in”, “and”, “about”, etc). In the past, SEO articles advised against using them at all. Not only were these words ignored, but some experts suggested that using them in a page title could have adverse affects on SEO. Search engines have typically omitted these words in order to cast the widest possible net when looking for answers.
That’s all changed. Now, Google will try to take these words into account to improve accuracy. Even before BERT, Google could distinguish between a search such as “help” and the novel The Help. Now, that ability to distinguish between similar phrases is improving, even for less common queries.
That means it will be advantageous for you to put stop words back into your content and target keywords. The more nuance you can provide, the more likely you’ll be able to fill a specific niche. This also reinforces the importance of writing natural-sounding content, and not forcing awkward, short key phrases into your text.
Google is expanding its AI’s capacity to understand the nuance of language. For the most part, BERT is recognizing, and accepting, natural speech. This only increases the need for excellent SEO practices. That means it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re using the right techniques on your website.
The key to using BERT is:
Integrating simple keywords naturally into your content. Focusing on clusters of information. Tailoring your content for informational searches. Using stop words where they make sense.