The Google BERT Update: What Does it Mean?

Aishwarya Kirodian is an experienced SEO analyst with skills in sales, business development, and market research. A marketing professional graduated from NMIMS University. In

The Google BERT Update: What Does it Mean?

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    Are you wondering what Google BERT is and how it will affect your search rankings? BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers and is Google’s latest and most important search algorithm update yet.

    BERT identifies sentences or phrases within web page content, which, although missing individual search keywords, are more relevant to the search query. BERT utilizes Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand search terms better. NLP understands and analyzes how we interact as humans in terms of terminology. This way, BERT gets a better grasp of content searched by the user. It is important to note that BERT analyses search queries and not web pages.

    Common FAQs About BERT

    • When was the BERT update implemented?

    BERT was rolled out for the English language search on October 21, 2019. However, Google has not provided a set timeline by which it will apply BERT to other languages.

    • What and who will be affected by BERT?

    According to Google, the BERT update will affect 1 in 10 searches both in ranking and featured snippet search results. SEO revolves around types of keywords. Hence, this might affect SEO strategies, both negatively and positively. The bounce rate will increase for keywords not relevant to the search query. While relevant keywords with relevant content will receive more traffic.

    • Do you need to change existing content for BERT?

    Google claims that webmasters need not modify anything on their site for BERT. However, your website content should be natural and relevant to your audience.

    • Is it necessary to create long-form content for BERT?

    Danny Sullivan says that word count does not define the quality of a piece of content. The content should answer the search query in a way that the user is looking forward to reading.

    • How will Google BERT Impact SEO?

    Many On-Page SEO blogs are centered around keywords rather than content. BERT’s unique natural language processing ability will help Google easily distinguish such content. For consumers, this will be beneficial as the quality of search query results will increase, and better content will be displayed.

    There are ways to avoid your business suffering from the implementation of BERT. First ensure that your content is reliable, while keywords shouldn’t be your priority. Generate top-quality content that caters to your industry’s SEO needs. It helps you to revamp your copy if you are worried about BERT’s effect on your visibility.

    • How can BERT work for you?

    BERT provides an opportunity for content writers to write for humans and not be restricted to keyword-based content. Keywords now need not be sans prepositions, for example – “best trekking shoes 2020″ can be “best shoes for trekking in 2020.”

    BERT applies more to informational queries, which are questions that start with the words what, when, where, who, why, and how? There is a lot of room for bloggers to answer basic and specific questions in their niche.


    People will now receive more accurate answers to their questions when doing a Google search. Content creators should write naturally and focus more on relevant information that is useful to their audience. We might not see such a significant effect on two and three-word phrases.

    Google will now understand the content without relying on heavy keywords. Users can search in a way that feels natural rather than typing strings of words they think Google will follow.

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    The Google BERT Update: What Does it Mean?