Ranking Higher in SERPs After Google’s Revolutionary BERT Update
Google just announced a major update to its search algorithm which could take the SEO world by storm. Known as BERT, or Bidirectional Representations from Transformers, it is a state-of-the-art search tool backed by advanced machine learning. By applying BERT to search queries, Google aims to help users find information faster and more efficiently.
Beyond implications for users, this update could lead to a fundamental shift in the way sites rank in SERP. Previous SEO tricks of the trade, such as keyword stuffing content, could be filtered out by BERT since it appears to hone in on high-quality, naturally-written content.
How BERT Helps Crack the Code on User Search Queries
BERT, for many of us, conjures images of a certain simple and innocent orange Muppet who calls Sesame Street home. However, BERT, as imagined by Google, is much more complex and dynamic. The technology, which Google unveiled last year, is an advanced, AI-infused, natural language processing tool. It functions by intuitively processing words and word strings in context. Ultimately, it helps Google understand the intent behind user search queries.
Currently, many users rely on keyword-ese to express their search results. Therefore, they omit certain words such as “for,” “to” and others which, in context, can drastically change the intent behind search queries. By deploying BERT, Google hopes to help users build more natural, easy-to-enter queries which are less keyword-specific and more conversational.
Why SMBs Should Get to Know BERT
Business owners and website developers, regardless of sector, need to get familiar with BERT due to the implications it could have for SERP ranking. Currently, many startups and SMBs rely heavily on outdated SEO tactics and shortcuts to rank higher. These tricks often include keyword stuffing content, filling site pages with lengthy, low-quality content and more. Since BERT’s overall intent is to enhance the value of search queries to users, these shortcuts are likely to become much less effective. In an era of BERT, pages will rank higher if they provide value to a user by delivering:
- High-quality, naturally-written content
- Clear, concise language free from grammatical errors
- Well-organized articles and blogs focused on discernable topics
- Answers to the questions user pose in search queries
SMBs should redouble efforts to host content with these features on their pages to catch BERT’s eye and climb higher in SERP rankings. Although we are in the early stages of BERT’s deployment, it is highly likely that the use of AI-driven machine learning tools that help users find information will continue to expand.