Google's Bert Update is Live, Are You Ready for It?

The Bert update for Google is live and it's affecting one out of every 10 search queries on the world's leading search engine. Is your site ready for it? 

The Bert update that has been rolled out by Google earlier this year is the largest update that's been released since RankBrain went live. With it set to affect one out of every 10 searches that are conducted on the search engine, there's a good chance your page rankings are going to be impacted by it. Let's take a closer look at what Bert entails and how you can benefit from it. 

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What is Bert? 

Bert is short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. I know, when I first read that I wondered what the heck that means too. Basically, Google has updated its algorithm to be better at understanding natural language and the forms it takes when a user types their query into the search engine. The way this already works in Google can be shown when the autocomplete figures out what you're looking for before you even finish typing, or when you enter in a stock symbol and it populates a stock chart. Since Google already has this feature, you may be wondering why is Bert even needed? Let's take a look. 

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Bert in Action

To better understand how Bert works and how it will affect your page rankings, we need to look at the way Google used to interpret a user's query before Bert was rolled out. Before Bert was put into action Google used to match terms in an attempt to display the most relevant results. This did not always take into account the various meanings or way words are used to ask questions of the search engine. For example, if someone were to type in "2019 Argentina traveler to USA need a visa" Google used to show results that pertained to whether a U.S. citizen needs a visa to travel to Argentina. But if you read the search query more closely, you'll notice a subtle yet big difference in the way the searcher phrased the query. They're asking if an Argentinian needs a visa to travel to the U.S., not the other way around. With Bert, Google can now pick up on that. 

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How You Can Benefit from Bert

The biggest way you can benefit from Bert's new algorithm update is to create highly specific content. By doing so, you'll be able to answer a searcher's query quickly while still providing as much value as your competitors. What's the biggest change this presents to the world on content? Length doesn't weigh as heavily in the SERP as it did before. This doesn't mean that long-form content isn't important anymore, it just means that if you can answer a user's query with 300 words better than your competitor can with 10,000 then you're going to rank higher. Whether you use words, videos, or audio to achieve that is up to you. In a nutshell, focusing on long-tail keywords or phrases is going to be much more important moving forward than it used to be. Get those typing fingers ready folks. 

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