Even if you’ve never heard of BERT you’ve heard of Google. Its name has gone as far as to become a synonym for “search engine”. What do you say when you want to search for something on the internet? “I’ll google it.”
Sure, there are other search engines out there, like Bing and DuckDuckGo. But, when people think of internet searches, they are not thinking of Yahoo. They are thinking of Google.
Meaning, when Google updates the way it ranks results, it is going to affect SEO in a big way. And anyone who uses SEO is going to have to stay on top of it. For that you have two options: 1) Keep yourself updated reading news like this; or 2) Rely on a freelance copywriter that is aware of SEO changes himself.
Speaking of, have you heard of Google’s BERT update? Because it is going to affect SEO.
So, BERT. What has Google done? BERT is the supergiant’s latest attempt to use AI and natural language processing to give more relevant search results. BERT is not designed to use keywords or cherry-pick certain phrases. It is built to understand the language in the same way a human does. So, when a searcher asks a question, they will not have to use “search engine-ese”. They can ask, in natural language, and get the reply they were expecting.
BERT is designed to disambiguate longer phrases and understand how a human would. It does not change searches using only a few selected keywords.
What is this mean for people creating content? According to Google, BERT means that old SEO ways are dead. Google claims that BERT will return the most relevant results for each query, no matter the specific wording or the placement of the text on the webpage. SEO based on keywords under BERT seems impossible.
Is that true?
What do the experts say about it? Not that SEO is dead, obviously. But they all agree that BERT changes to search. Maybe not in as significant a way as people had feared, but a search is changing.
So, how to optimize for it? Well, this one is simple! While there may not, as Google warned, be a way to optimize for BERT, BERT helps searchers find what is really on your webpage. So optimizing for BERT means optimizing your content in general. Provide quality, not keywords! If your web content is portly written, BERT is not going to rank it highly. “Search engine optimization” for BERT means site optimization for users.
So, in the end, SEO for the latest Google update is really quite simple. BERT processes query like a real person would. This means you need to optimize your website, not just for a search engine, but for your actual clients. And as bleak as the message “SEO is dead” may sound, it has a point. SEO is not dead, but getting a better ranking with a few simple tricks probably is. From now on, if you want a better ranking, build a better website!