What is BERT and What Does it Mean for Google Search?

BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is a new neural network technique designed for pretraining natural language processing (NLP) networks. Google decided to implement BERT in Search to better process natural language queries.

Okay, we just threw a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo at you. To make this a little easier to understand, let’s break it down a little more. With BERT, Google is using machine learning to understand search requests that use more natural-sounding language more accurately. Most people use what many SEOs call “Googleese,” or search language, instead of asking search engines questions like they’d ask their friends. For example, if you wanted to find a plumbing company near your home or business, you may type something like “plumbing company near me” into the search bar. After BERT, Google will be better at understanding queries worded more like a normal conversation. In other words, you could type something like “what is the best plumbing company near me” and expect more accurate results that are also better tailored to your specific search request.

What Does BERT Have to do With SEO?

What does BERT have to do with SEO and your website’s search presence? Well, as we mentioned above, BERT makes it possible for Google to understand search requests that use more natural-sounding language. That ability to understand natural language makes it possible to optimize for more natural-sounding keywords. Optimizing for more natural-sounding keywords and phrases means a higher Google rank. Gone are the days of optimizing for keywords that don’t fit in regular English.

For example, many SEOs optimize for keywords like “plumber San Francisco” when nobody would ever write or talk like that. Why did they do that? Because people use what we call “Googleese” to make search requests. They make requests to Google in a way they think Google will understand them best rather than in a way that actually makes sense for human beings.

However, with BERT, SEOs can use keyphrases that make sense in natural language. No more will we have to try to stuff unnatural sounding keyphrases throughout your content to cover your search bases. That means your site content will be more engaging, understandable, and useful for your users. In other words, BERT makes it much more possible to write well-performing web copy that someone would actually want to read. Furthermore, the better your content reads and fits user needs, the higher Google will rank your site. Google ranks informative and useful content over keyword-stuffed filler pages. Remember, Search exists to help the user, not the content creator.

Conclusions on BERT and What it Means for Search and SEO

BERT shows promise to truly revolutionize searching with Google. It will allow SEOs to optimize for more natural-sounding keywords and phrases, help us create content for your site that engages users, and allow for accurate search results across the board. If you’d like help preparing your content for the onslaught of the BERT system, then you can always contact us here at Contractor Advertising. We’re always here to help you with your Google Search and BERT concerns.