December 10, 2019
Google’s BERT algorithm update began roll-out late last October, initially only affecting 10% of queries in English in the US.
This was ostensibly a way for Google to better understand relationships between entities and the finer nuances and context of searches with modifiers, therefore allowing more understanding of the relationship between the words in the search – rather than a distinct focus on the core terms.
Finally, the update is now rolling out for English searches (amongst other languages) and so we may begin to see results page movement across a wider range of websites.
We believe this is one of the more positive and meaningful Google updates and will allow more ‘niched down’ content to appear in results for more specific searches that are relevant to it.
We believe we may see movement, firstly for the better (where more specific content is able to appear more frequently) but also for worse (where more top level content is being shown less frequently for more refined queries).
In the short term, we may see some wobbles, but in the long term we believe this will be very positive and allow us to create a wider array of related content with differing functions. Furthermore, it will be seen where it ought to be, with less worry of cannibalisation – providing the intent of the content is indeed unique.
There is also a likelihood that, with Google being in a position to better understand language nuances and display content more suited to these queries, we may see engagement improve. That will also mean users who land on this content are more likely to convert.
As with most Google updates, what they sell to us is where they want to be, as opposed to where the algorithm perhaps already is, but this a positive change and it will be very interesting to see how things develop as it rolls out into the algorithm.
If you’d like to know how BERT will impact your company’s website and all other things Google (and Bing!), get in touch with us today.