BERT is the new Google algorithm. This update includes how you can use it for your website.
After Hummingbird and the recent RankBrain, Google has announced the introduction of BERT, the latest major change to the algorithms of its search engine that promises to be the most revolutionary update in recent years. The new system was introduced in October 2019, and a Google estimate indicates that it will involve about 10% of searches: a seemingly small percentage representing one of the most relevant turning points for the Mountain View company.
But what exactly is Bert, and how will it affect how you think about SEO? Let’s see it together in detail.
BERT is the English acronym for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers and consists of a system for natural language processing, Natural Language Processing (NLP), which is based on the concept of neural networks. A computer model that imitates human neuronal functioning and how individual neurons relate to each other.
BERT is the latest result of Google’s research in recent years, investing heavily in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The company was, in fact, able to develop algorithms capable of interpreting user requests, contextualizing them, and proposing a result in line with what those who enter the search query expect to receive.
BERT can consider each word in the context in which it is inserted, therefore not treating it individually but relating it to those that precede and follow it, understanding in an incredibly advanced way the intent behind a search key.
Therefore, the Google Bert algorithm increasingly aligns itself with natural language and how people interact with each other, giving meaning to nuances and secondary and related keywords, helping Google deliver exceptionally accurate and quality search output.
One of the examples proposed by Google itself to clarify the functioning of BERT concerns the query “You can pick up a medicine for someone else at the pharmacy” :
The old algorithms would have proposed generic results; BERT was instead able to interpolate the words between them and focus on the terms “someone else,” offering a result consistent with the request or information on how to withdraw the medicine that can only be sold with a prescription on behalf of another person.
Definition and precision were once unthinkable for a search algorithm, but today a reality in continuous evolution. However, Google BERT does not replace the previous Rank Brain but goes alongside it to enrich the baggage of methods in Google’s possession to understand the queries that are asked.
The search engine could decide, depending on the need to apply only one of the algorithms at its disposal or use a combination of them to elaborate search terms, contents, and words at best.
In light of these changes, many are wondering what impact the new algorithm will have on content and what changes after Google BERT at the SEO level. Will the texts for the web have to be written and optimized in a particular and different way from when it was done previously?
Google responded directly to the question, stating that it is unnecessary to intervene in any specific way on SEO following the introduction of the latest update. The company’s goal is precisely to eliminate the more technical aspects and bring as close as possible to a natural writing language.
For years, Google has emphasized the importance of producing content aimed at users, and BERT is proof that this strategy is the one that will reward more and more in the future.
However, the company has not released in-depth data regarding the operation of BERT, and the complex series of algorithms that interpret human language remains largely secret. Google had already clarified in the past that SEOs could not optimize websites for the previous RankBrain algorithm and, even more so, it will not be possible to think of optimizing for Google BERT. In short, at the level of SEO content, it will be of central importance to write content aimed specifically at the end user.
The best solution for those who deal with web content will therefore be not to work in a keyword-centric way but to create quality content aimed at responding in the best way to what users are looking for, adopting a communication that is as simple and natural as possible.
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