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In October of 2019, Google began rolling out its largest update since they release RankBrain which was nearly 5 years ago. This update is going to impact how Google reads search queries as well and impacting things such as Featured Snippets.
As AI begins to propel our technology forward, Google is utilizing it in such a way to allow the computers to understand language just as humans understand it. Now instead of Google simply taking the search query and matching to the words in a sequence, it now understands the overall context in which the query means. This is another step in moving away from keywords as the primary way of search and focusing on the context of the search. As this technology progresses, more relevant search results will be displayed.
What is BERT and how is it applied to search?
This recent update is known as Google BERT which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers and is a network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP). Currently, BERT is being applied to around 1-10 searches or approximately 10% of all searches in English. More languages are going to continue to roll out at a later date.
BERT is more than advancements in AI and software. BERT is so complex that the current technology was limiting the advancements so new hardware is now being rolled out called Cloud TPU’s.
With Google now understanding the search queries as the human searcher intends, we will be seeing constant improvement on the search queries over time as BERT continues to learn and progress.
How is SEO affected by BERT?
There will be a few changes in terms of SEO. The first is going to be backlink profiles. Backlinks have been becoming less important year after year, though they still make up a large percentage of SEO work.
Keywords are also becoming less relevant over time as well as we are moving into phrase searches and relevant context. Since everyone uses different phrases for search, Google is now putting more relevance on the words such as “for” and “to” which where easier omitted.
The overall relevance of keywords currently ranked for likely won’t have much of an impact but what is going to have the most impact is going to be the quality of content being provided on websites. The more relevant the content to the context of the search, the more likely the site is going to rank well.
The common and already established ranking factors such as site speed, citation sources, technical aspects, etc., will continue to be maintained.
How to move forward with your website.
Continue working on your websites as you always have. Continue to build your citation sources and maintain proper NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) across various platforms.
We always recommend building and maintaining a blog that covers a wide array of topics on queries that people are searching for. This is a great method for building the relevance of your website and grabbing keywords and keyphrases. Though we may be seeing some shifts here with BERT, it’s going to continue being a valuable source for content creation.
It’s important to talk to an SEO to find the best practices to maintain your site and help it improve its ranks and authority over time by making sure the site is responsive, there are no broken links, and the content is relevant to the search.
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If you want to talk about your website or how to improve your SEO for search, we would love to take the time to talk with you about the health of your site and what direction you want to take your marketing. Contact us today to get started!
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