Google’s BERT algorithm, released this month, is the company’s latest effort to understand the intent of search queries in order to produce the most relevant search results. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (Que?). At Iffel International we understand the changes this algorithm update necessitates; this article will explain the change, how it will affect your business, and what you should do about it. The BERT algorithm enables the Google search to process each word in a search query relative to other words in that query, thus understanding phrases more than just each word as they appear individually. In short, context matters.
BERT will work simultaneously with RankBrain, Google’s 2015 effort to understand searchers’ intent, to help decode intent and delivery the most relevant search results. SEO becomes even more important in terms of using words in precise ways. Google estimates that the BERT update will impact approximately 10% of search queries immediately, and perhaps more as the system develops. This means it’s extremely likely to affect you and your business.
In order to maintain your rankings, or better yet, improve your rankings relative to your competition, a simple solution is to get very specific with your content. Of course, the goal is to provide as much value as possible in comparison to competitive websites. The focus is now on quality content, not just quantity. This doesn’t mean that long-form content won’t work anymore, but it does mean it’s not enough in and of itself. Similarly, keyword density is no longer such a priority. If you want to rank well for informational keywords, the trick with BERT is to be very specific and answer the question at hand better than your competitors. This makes it increasingly likely that the traffic generated to your website will be by searchers actually looking for your product or business.
Prepositions matter now more than ever. The importance of prepositions applies especially to product attributes such as color, size, and material. As we know, product pages tend to rank better for long-tail queries. Combining this knowledge with this BERT update, we now see that product pages have enormous potential to benefit from the BERT algorithm. For example, searches like “food processor with spiralizer” or “lotus design on purple yoga mat” will now be less likely to result in pages that have food processors without spiralizers or plain purple yoga mats. This is an opportunity to optimize your descriptions.
Based on keyword searches you may already know what people who land on your webpage were interested in – that hasn’t changed! It’s just become a lot more important to be specific, thinking about whole search terms instead of just individuals= words. This will help your website receive relevant traffic; again, we’re not aiming for quantity of traffic but rather, quality.
Find out how you can apply a sales mindset to search engine optimization HERE
Iffel International is aware of these changes caused by BERT and the specific repercussions caused by BERT on SEO and content marketing, and we have already been incorporating this change into our work. If you have any questions or concerns, or would just like a better understanding of the issues and how BERT might affect your business and sales, contact Iffel International HERE
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