Google BERT Update Will Impact 1 in 10 Search Queries

Google has been rolling out BERT this week. The Google BERT Update will be the biggest change in search since the release of Google RankBrain from five years ago.

Users will most likely love this change, but some businesses might not be a fan of it. This major change to Google’s core search algorithm could affect 10 percent of all search results.

Same Search Query – Different Results

The new algorithm change is called BERT which stands for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers”. Now you can see why they have shortened it to BERT!

By applying BERT models to ranking and featured snippets in Search, Google will be able to do a better job at finding the right information that users are looking for.

The example that Google gave wasa search for “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa,” the word “to” and its relationship to the other words in query are important for understanding the meaning. Before this new update, Google wouldn’t understand the importance of this connection results would be about U.S. citizens traveling 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.
Search Query Example for Before & After BERT

Quick Questions & Answers about BERT

What is BERT?

Stands for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers” and is Google’s neural network-based technique for NLP (Natural Language Processing).

This was introduced and open-sourced last year. You can read more about it on Google’s AI Blog. This technology can help computers understand language more like humans would understand it.

When is BERT Rolling Out?

It has been rolling out this week and will be live fully soon. It is starting out for English queries for now, and will expand to other language queries in the future.

What will BERT affect?

It will affect search queries as well as featured snippets. Google said that BERT helps with understanding the nuances and context of words in search queries, to give better relevant results.

Can You Optimize For Bert?

Google has told SEO’s that they can’t really optimize for RankBrain. The best you can do is to write content for users, not search engines.

Representing the biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search.

~ Google

Google Bert Search Update

Thinking Like a Human, Not a Search Engine

Google is hoping with this new update that people will be able to write, or speak naturally, rather then in a keyword-ese way.

Google might still get stumped with some searches. Language understanding is still an ongoing challenge, but it has come along way. They are always working towards finding the most helpful information for every query sent their way.


What Next?

Go and check to see your search traffic changes and some point next week. Check to see how much your website was impacted by this change.

If it was, figure out which pages were impacted and for which search queries. It might be that these pages didn’t convert and the search traffic Google sent those pages didn’t end up being useful. How can you improve these pages?

What do you think about the Google BERT update? Are you excited for the improvement or scared for the results it might have on your website?