Google BERT Update – What SEO Adjustments are Necessary In Belize For SEO?
Google’s BERT Update – Do Belize Websites Need to Change?
As you may have heard, Google recently released its BERT update to its algorithm and they have detailed some aspects of this update in their blog.
What I was hoping to do with this blog is summarize some of the primary points of this change and mention some steps related to SEO that could be appropriate for your site.
The BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) algorithm allows Google to better understand search queries by processing all words in relation to all the other words in a sentence or search query (example below). What this means is that for longer search terms or ones provide using natural language, Google is better able to understand what someone is looking for and offer search results tailored to a searcher’s need. Google anticipates that about 10% of search results will be affected by this update. Also, they are rolling this change out in a phased approach – starting with the English queries in the United States.
Example of how this will affect search
One article about the BERT update gave the following example.
The phrase was “how to catch a cow fishing?”
In New England, the word “cow” in the context of fishing means a large striped bass.
A striped bass is a popular saltwater game fish that millions of anglers fish for on the Atlantic coast.
So earlier this month, during the course of research for a PubCon Vegas presentation, I typed the phrase, “how to catch a cow fishing” and Google provided results related to livestock, to cows.
Even though I had purposely used the word “fishing” to provide context, Google ignored that context and provided results related to cows. That was on October 1, 2019.
Today, October 25, 2019 the same query results in search results that are full of striped bass and fishing related results.
The BERT algorithm appeared to have understood the context of the word “fishing” as important and changed the search results to focus on fishing related web pages.
Dawn Anderson explained that new search result like this:
“Bass means different things. There are different meanings for the single words. The context around the word provides more meaning.”
She’s right. That’s exactly what Google did in the search query, “how to catch a cow fishing.” BERT appears to have used the word “fishing” to add context to that search query.
This example provides a good idea about how some search results will change based on this update.
What do you need to do for this update
Since only 10% of search are likely to be affected by this update, in most cases there is not much that you need to do now. However, there are several things you might want to consider since this update shows the likely direction regarding Google search – especially if you have visitors to your site from the United States.
- Since BERT will be able to better determine and consider the intent, and not only the words in a search term, then it would be good to create content that is focused and well organized so it is more likely that Google will select your content over someone else’s. At this point, it is hard to know exactly how BERT will deal with searches since it is based on machine learning and is likely to develop and change over time. However, since the idea is to try and understand intent, one approach would be if someone type a phrase like ‘belize fishing calendar’ it is likely that they want to know this information with the eventual intent to go fishing. So when creating a page to rank for this term it would be good to not only include information about the fishing calendar but also include information about how to book a fishing trip as well.
- Since more searches are being done using voice/sentence, it would be good to create content that includes conversational phrases in the text. For example, many people type ‘belize all inclusive resorts’ in search; however, if someone was looking for something similar using voice they might ask ‘What are the all inclusive resorts in belize?’ – similar wording but just a bit different. Creating content with the conversational wording in mind will likely attract additional traffic.
- One other suggestion that I have seen related to this update is to use internal linking when possible. This was always a good idea but may help more with this update.