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What You Need to Know about the Google BERT Update

What You Need to Know about the Google BERT Update

In early October 2019, Google officially rolled out their latest algorithm update, immediately sending web developers and online marketers into yet another frenzy trying to figure out what these changes mean for their marketing campaigns and SEO.

Google nicknamed this particular update BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. That’s basically just a long and complicated way of conveying that they’re looking to up the ante in better understanding user search queries and relaying relevant high-quality content, which is essentially the objective behind every update Google has ever done. So what exactly do you need to know about the Google BERT update and how will it impact your content strategy and SEO in the future?

Keep reading for all of the information you need on the latest Google update.

Important Takeaways about Google’s BERT Update

BERT is a deep learning algorithm that Google rolled out with the intention of better understanding and boosting natural language processing (NLP) combined with semantic mapping. The point of this algorithm is to help Google gain a more in-depth understanding of users’ natural language and present them with relevant content that directly pertains to their search queries.

From what can be gleaned about this Google update so far, BERT could be ideal for voice-to-text search, which is gradually exploding in popularity as an increasing number of users become accustomed to this revolutionary technology.

Many SEO experts, however, have already noted that BERT seems to be having minimal to no impact on short-tail keywords. Considering that, it’s highly likely that BERT is concentrating largely on long-tail keywords.

Why You Should Care about BERT and How It Could Impact Content Marketing

As with every other past Google update, the ultimate objective behind creating and rolling out BERT is to better understand users’ search intent and try to present them with the most relevant search results based on that intent. Many business owners and online marketers are perpetually looking to improve their websites’ visibility by implementing more effective optimization strategies. But the fact is and even Google representatives have verified this there’s nothing that can be done to optimize web content specifically for BERT.

In fact, the best course of action is to just continue creating high-quality content, conducting appropriate keyword research, adding relevant images to your website, and updating your web presence on a regular basis or as needed. Make sure that all of your local business listings including Google My Business are all fully updated and that all of the information is completely accurate.

Verify all of your local listings so that you and your authorized personnel are granted full control of all web content pertaining to your business.

At the end of the day, just focus on creating human and user-driven content that ultimately appeals to your target audience and the demographics that you’re trying to attract the most. Create high-quality content that literally and virtually speaks to your key audience members. What that means is that your content should be optimized for actual human consumption, taking into consideration actual keywords and search terms that are being used by real people, rather than focusing on some intangible automated machine or bot that you think will help increase your SERP visibility, web traffic, or click-through rates.

How Will BERT Impact Search Moving Forward?

As we’ve already seen, BERT is expected to have very limited impact on SEO moving forward, aside from possibly tracking and paying more attention to long form content. The key point to keep in mind is that long form content, like 1000-word blog posts, ultimately present greater opportunities to incorporate more keywords, which will inevitably have a positive impact on organic traffic.

For the time being, BERT is only designed to target long-tail keywords, which a lot of online marketers and search engine optimizers have moved away from in recent years. However, that doesn’t mean that you should suddenly start re-incorporating long-tail keywords in your content just to attract more views at the risk of compromising the quality of your content and alienating existing users.

Continue to do in-depth keyword research and only select those terms that are actually related to your industry as a whole and your business specifically.

Google will continue to crawl your website looking for the most relevant content pertaining to specific search queries. After all, the goal is always to satisfy the requests of users. And that means that they’ll continue to penalize you for trying to purposely manipulate your content and mislead users just to get more clicks.

How to Create a Foolproof Content Strategy

Focusing on creating high-quality and relevant content is now, and will always be, your best line of defense when it comes boosting your web traffic and building online credibility. Instead of just trying to increase visibility by using cheap tricks, just create well-researched and informative content that answers your users’ search queries directly and honestly.

Integrity and transparency are, above all, the major driving forces behind any and all successful online marketing campaigns. Once online visitors start getting the idea that you’re simply trying to manipulate them just to get more clicks, that’s when your reputation will inevitably go downhill faster than you can say “bad SEO strategy”.

In essence, the best SEO strategy is to just keep your head down, learn everything you can about your industry, conduct thorough search research, and do everything you can to understand the needs of your prospective and existing clientele.

If you need help coming up with a comprehensive and effective content marketing strategy, consider working with a reputable local SEO firm. Numero Uno Web Solutions is a Toronto-based online marketing company that’s helped numerous small- and medium-sized businesses create and maintain strong online presences by implementing proven online marketing strategies. Contact us today to learn more about our services!

About Adrian Newman, BA

President, Numero Uno Web Solutions

Adrian has been in the performance marketing industry for over 25 years and is the co-founder of Numero Uno Web Solutions.

Adrian has been involved in virtually every facet of direct and digital marketing from copywriting and graphic design to database management and production.

A BA graduate of York University, Adrian has volunteered as a mentor with his alma mater's Career Mentorship Program for students with disabilities and has been a director for public real estate investment trust.