Announced by Google on October 25, 2019, BERT is a massive algorithm update, considered to be the most significant in the past five years.

What exactly is Bert?
And what new features did this update bring?
Back to this new update.

BERT: objective and application

First of all, you should know that BERT is the acronym for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers”.

In fact, Google explains that BERT was implemented so that the search engine can analyze and interpret long and very specific queries more precisely. Therefore, so-called long-tail queries seem to be directly targeted, but also voice searches which generally take the form of structured and complete questions.

According to Google, only 10% of searches (USA) carried out on a daily basis on the engine are really concerned.

Pandu Nayak (vice president of Google Search), at the origin of the announcement, uses a concrete example: that of the query “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa”. According to him, Google had previously struggled to understand the true meaning of the word “to”. Here it refers to a Brazilian who wants to travel to the United States. And not the other way around. It is this nuance that the search engine had difficulty perceiving.

As a result, BERT has been set up to better understand the meaning of each word in a complete sentence or a semantic set, as to better understand the search intention and, therefore, to offer very precise results.

What impact and how to react to the Google BERT update?

Note: BERT is currently only deployed in the United States. Its international launch is well planned, but no date has been announced.

The impact on SEO performance should be fairly limited if the right editorial optimization logic has already been applied to your strategy. It is indeed essential today to offer rich content, both in the quality of the information offered and in their syntax. The use of co-occurrences, in particular, contributes to the publication of qualified texts, relevant to readers and Google robots, and which should instead be valued by this update.

In addition, BERT mainly concerns complex  (made up of several words, conversational, vocal, etc.) and informational requests. By definition, this limits the impacted sites: those whose SEO acquisition is based mainly on transactional requests (e-commerce, lead generation) – much less complex – should not see any major changes. For content sites, however, this deployment can have a more significant impact. Finally and more generally, regular Google updates allow the engine to better “control” the way in which sites comply with its Guidelines. These have not changed over time, but algorithms make Google more and more able to know whether its site optimization rules are being followed. In summary, if your SEO strategy has always followed Google’s Guidelines, future engine updates shouldn’t worry you. To make sure it does, please do not hesitate to contact us.!