PALM BEACH, FL – Google’s BERT update (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) effects up to 10% of search queries by allowing Google to better understand natural language processing (NLP), for the most part, in longer tail keyword searches.
It is something Google has been working on for the last few years and allows Google to use particular words within a search query that change or transform the intent of the search. It is said by Google to be one of the most significant updates to their search algorithm in the last five years and to search itself historically.
Unlike many of Google’s updates, BERT does not focus on spam or items which would generally be related to SEO so marketers can’t really optimize for it. It more improves Google’s understanding of how particular words within the sentence can change the context of the question and ultimately, what the user is really looking for.
One tiny word within a sentence can change the entire intent.
Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like “for” and “to” matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query. You can search in a way that feels natural for you.
Ryan Shelley of Shelley Media Arts does a very good job (exact moment in video) of explaining tiny differences in word use in the above video. Google also has provided image examples of how those types of words, alter the result set as they alter the intent of the searcher, with before and after snap shots provided.
BERT, much like Google’s Rank Brain update, helps Google understand what the user is asking and will be very helpful for people asking questions of Google by voice by making the answers more accurate.
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Internet Marketing Services Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, is a Google AdWords Certified Professional, authored a ‘how to’ book called ”Mastering Your Website‘, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy brand Searchen Networks®