What Is Google’s BERT Update and What Does It Mean For Your Site?

June 25, 2020

In our tech-savvy world, you can’t expect to compete without a killer website. Since 61% of global internet users research products online, you’ll need to hire website developers and digital marketers to ensure your site can be easily found and that it provides an excellent experience.

Proper optimization and stellar web design are both crucial if you want your site to show up prominently in search engines. However, one of the main challenges that web designers and SEO professionals face is the rapid pace at which Google updates its algorithm.

Google reportedly updates its algorithm 500 to 600 times per year. Many of these updates are incremental and may go largely unnoticed. Major algorithm updates, however, tend to happen every couple of years — and they often culminate in disruptions to website rankings, which can cause business owners and marketers alike to react in panic.

SEO experts will recommend that you stay calm in the wake of an algo update, no matter how severe the initial effects might be. The goal here isĀ not to punish website owners who use legitimate optimization tactics; rather, algorithm updates are meant to ensure relevancy and value to the end-user. However, it’s important to learn as much as you can about algorithm updates when they do occur and make necessary adjustments to your website or your marketing strategy. If you hire website developer services and search engine optimization professionals who are well-versed in the industry’s best practices and algorithm updates, they can help you weather the storm.

Earlier this year, the BERT update was rolled out by Google — and it’s entirely possible that your site could be impacted by it over the months to come. Let’s discuss what was involved in this update and what it might mean for your site in the future. That way, you’ll be able to hire website developers or SEO firms that can address your concerns moving forward.

What Is BERT?

BERT is short for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers,” which sounds incredibly technical. But basically, this term refers to natural language processing. The update involves changes to Google’s algorithm that will theoretically allow its bots to better understand sentences and the context within those sentences. In other words, this update is an effort to add a deeper level of human understanding to machines.

Google’s statement pertaining to BERT reads, in part: “These improvements are oriented around improving language understanding, particularly for more natural language/conversational queries, as BERT is able to help Search better understand the nuance and context of words in Searches and better match those queries with helpful results. Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like ‘for’ and ‘to’ matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query.”

What Does the BERT Update Mean For Website Owners?

In theory, this sounds like an excellent update. Everyone wants their first search to serve more relevant and useful results, so the BERT update sounds like it might accomplish that. However, some sources estimate that the update will impact roughly 10% of all search queries — which is a huge amount when you realize that Google processes an estimated 5.8 billion search queries each day.

Simply put, the BERT update could cause your organic web traffic to decrease. However, that might actually be a good thing in some cases. If users are ending up on your site but your content or products aren’t actually what they’re looking for, they won’t convert and will quickly abandon your page. The hope now is that your site will show up in more relevant search results.

It’s also important to note that when you hire website developers or SEO experts that they’ll want to optimize your site in with more natural-sounding keywords and different variations of those keywords, rather than using the same ones over and over. This can help you create higher quality content — and that can end up boosting your rankings overall.

Anyone who seeks to hire website developers or SEO firms will know that internet marketing comes with constant changes. Now, you can more effectively keep up with this most recent change.

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