BERT update background
On October 24th, Google rolled out their Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or BERT. To save time and lots of money, we will go with BERT. Questions immediately sprang of how this new update will affect local searches, small businesses, and startups that make their earnings at least partly due to an online presence.
BERT is a type of artificial intelligence that helps Google comprehend the language of search terms more thoroughly. In short, Google can now provide you with more accurate results for longer, conversation-like search terms such as, “where can I buy a time traveling DeLorean Houston, TX.”
Google boasts that BERT offers the biggest step forward in the history of internet search. They said it would affect 10% of all searches. Which is like saying 10% of all the grains of sand in the world. In other words, it’s a lot.
BERT for businesses
If you’re an SEO specialist, you need to make your content precisely specific, especially when using tools like Ubersuggest. For example, if you have a business that’s health-related and you write a blog about “how to shed pounds without eating vegetables,” your content should not focus on broccoli, kale, spinach or any veggies that traditionally help you lose weight. Instead, focus on all the other methods you can think of for losing weight without eating greens. And please, send a copy of that blog my way. Who wouldn’t want to lose weight eating pizza and chips?
If you want to rank better than your competition, you have to get very specific with your content and keywords, and answer a search question better than they do. Put more emphasis on long-tailed terms.
See, it’s not about writing a webpage that’s 20,000 words long and sounds like it should be read on CSPAN. It’s about answering a question. BERT has placed more emphasis on how questions are answered than any other search update has before. So, it’s imperative now to answer a searcher’s question faster than your competition, and providing more value in the way of audio, video, and content than they do.
Conversational search queries
Rest assured that only businesses who have been using black hat SEO practices will be negatively affected by BERT. This is thanks in part to BERT’s algorithm, which aims to gain a more thorough understanding of “natural language” type search queries. Think of how you might ask Alexa to search for something. You wouldn’t typically say, “Alexa, Chinese restaurant 77007.” You’d say, “Alexa, what Chinese restaurants are near me?”
See how the latter seems more conversational? That is exactly the type of query that BERT aims to accentuate.
In summary, stop worrying about keyword density and content length. That is so 2012. Worry about being specific, target long-tail keywords, and answer questions rather that game plan an attack at a specific keyword. Doing this will allow you to take advantage of Google’s newest update, and help boost your business’s online presence to increase those earnings.