What Does the Google BERT Update Mean for my Business Website?


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Smart technologies in your smartphone, collection and analysis of big data about a person through mobile services and applications. Identification and privacy in the context of modern digital technologies.

Smart technologies in your smartphone, collection and analysis of big data about a person through mobile services and applications. Identification and privacy in the context of modern digital technologies.Though Google continually updates its algorithms, the recent Google BERT update is the most significant change in five years for the search engine giant.

At Romain Berg, our goal is to make sure you stay ahead of the latest changes in search rank, and that your website remains on top. Read on for a complete breakdown of what the Google BERT update means for your rank, content, and keywords.

Romain Berg is a full-service digital marketing agency. We help you increase traffic and conversions reliably, without any hype. 

Fill out our contact form today, and we’ll customize your SEO and marketing strategy to deliver your brand, products, and services to the people you need to reach. 

What is the BERT update?

BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. In plain English, BERT means that computers are trying to make better sense of the complexity of human language. 

This understanding happens through Transformers: mathematical models that derive meaning not just upon individual words, but on their relation to other words in a group.

As internet user queries become more sophisticated and nuanced, Google must keep up to deliver accurate query results.

The explosion of voice recognition and commands on mobile devices means that consumers are asking search inquiries into their devices as if they are chatting with a friend. 

Google search algorithms are ranking websites based on a better understanding of spoken word with the BERT update. Language elements like prepositions, transitional phrases, word position, colloquialisms, and more reach Google at a deeper level with the BERT update. 

Post- BERT update, Google can better understand the context of queries, in addition to the meaning of individual words. 

For more on the specifics of how BERT works, check out this AI Blog on Google.

Which queries does BERT improve the most?

four people standing in front of a beige wall with question marks over their headsBERT builds upon previous updates like:

  • Hummingbird (2013, improved interpretation of word groups over individual words) 
  • RankBrain (2015, enhanced understanding of first-time searches, dialog, and colloquialisms)

to understand the nuance of the questions internet users ask when they search.

When diving into the meaning of the current BERT update, think “long-tail keywords.” 

Long-tail keywords are essentially real-world questions typed or spoken into a computer or mobile device. They contain words, of course, but also the meaning and context the user attempts to communicate as well. 

Speaking of questions spoken into a computer, around twenty percent of internet searches occur with voice recognition today, and that number is expected to grow to fifty percent by 2020.

And, when a web user asks a question using spoken or written words, he or she expects the internet to respond accurately and immediately in a sort of “mind-reading” capacity. 

For example, interpreting the correct context of simple words like “to” and “from” in a long-tail keyword could mean the difference between a search result that fully satisfies the user query to one that misses the mark completely. 

The use of long-tail keywords, like the example above, already accounts for 70% of internet searches today, and that number is growing each year.

How will the Google BERT update influence my search rank?

business man writing a bubble infographic on a screen, marketing in the center bubble and basic marketing elements in the surrounding bubbles

The bad news: no one knows yet exactly how the BERT update will influence search rankings. These updates take time to affect the digital landscape, and we can only observe and respond.

The good news: it still works best, in terms of search rank, to produce content and design websites that speak well to your clearly defined audience. 

Even though our team at Romain Berg is current on the latest and best SEO, PPC, and web design techniques to get your products and services seen and heard online, we’re always harping on the basics: audience clarity, quality content, and clear intent. 

Let’s break that down in the time we have left.

Clarify and refine your audience

As you roll out and gain experience in your business, your audience will likely be a fluid element. If your sales are stagnant, one of the best tactics to revisit is audience definition and buyer persona. 

When you update the demographics of the customers you’re trying to reach, you’ll be better able to speak in terms those folks will relate to, resonate with, and remember.

We also know that owners are often pressed for time and not experts at everything. That’s where outsourcing this element of your marketing increases the return of your marketing dollars.

Create quality content

Producing content that’s useful, timely, concise, and memorable cements customer curiosity and loyalty. Continue to show your audience how to win with your products through relevant content. 

Our expert content team at Romain Berg can help you do that by learning your unique brand voice and becoming your A-1 brand ambassador, as well as developing a healthy history of backlinks that raise your search rank over time.

Pro tip: Our proprietary AI software accurately analyses your existing content for vocabulary markers unique to your brand voice. With this information, we can create content in your brand voice without any guesswork.

Clear intent

Perhaps the most significant trend in SEO, and with the BERT update, is an emphasis on intent. It’s no longer enough to place as many high-ranking keywords as you can in your website copy and your blog content.

All of the Google updates in recent years point to authentic intent on your site and your other digital places. When your brand authentically and transparently solves problems with its content, connects reliably with your customers, and displays true presence in the digital community, your rank increases.

At Romain Berg, we create digital marketing strategies with clear intent as our primary guide to your success.

Google updates and Romain Berg: Stay ahead of the curve

While it’s impossible to predict every change, update, or tweak in the internet search rank algorithms, the general trend is toward increased humanization of searches. 

In other words, as time goes by, computers have a better ability to understand language as it comes out of our mouths instead of our fingers. Context, intent, and accurate understanding of long-tail keywords will continue to improve with each Google update. 

By emphasizing a human approach to digital advertising, we will maximize your ability to drive traffic and increase conversions on your site. 

Contact Romain Berg today to set up a digital marketing strategy conversation. We’ll always deliver results, not hype. 


About the Author

Sam Romain

Sam Romain

Digital marketing expert, data interpreter, and adventurous entrepreneur empowering businesses while fearlessly embracing the wild frontiers of fatherhood and community engagement.

Sam Romain

Sam Romain

Digital marketing expert, data interpreter, and adventurous entrepreneur empowering businesses while fearlessly embracing the wild frontiers of fatherhood and community engagement.

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