Did you know that on a daily basis, 15% of the search queries Google receives are brand new? As in, nobody has ever used that collection of words to search for something before, which is totally astounding given that Google receives 63,000 searches PER SECOND. Typically, these queries would be difficult for Google to provide relevant and accurate results for, as the algorithms struggled to decode the real meaning of the language being used. On October 25th, however, this all changed. Google BERT was introduced, and it’s set to have a huge impact on how we use the search engine, and how effective it can be at producing ever more accurate and relevant results to queries. But what exactly is BERT? According to the experts, BERT is: “…a neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or as we call it–BERT, for short.”
To put it simply, Google has created an AI system that enables its search engine to understand the intention behind language better and extract more meaning than ever before. Google provided some useful examples in their blog launching the update:
Previously, the search term “2019 brazil traveller to usa need a visa” would have presented a struggle to Google, whereby it struggled to understand the nuances of the language being used and the actual intention of the user. Previously the top result was for an article about travel to Brazil, whereas after the BERT update the top result is the most relevant result to the query: the Brazilian embassy. You can see how the update is subtle but significant. While Google did its job before and returned a result that included a lot of the same keywords, it can now take the overall meaning of the words together in order to return a better result.
This is great news for consumers. We’ve probably all been in a situation where we’re trying to find out a really specific piece of information, but no matter what combination of words we put into Google, the right thing won’t pop up. Google has stated that this update allows users to search in a more natural, more conversational way.
For businesses, the good news is that this new update will not actively penalise any website. What it will do, however, is make it less likely for websites with poorly written, vague or sloppy content to be ranked as highly. While it is true that content is King, Google has, over the years, taken more and more steps to ensure that the results presented to its users are of as high quality as possible, so if a key part of your strategy thus far has been to regularly produce long-form content to please Google, but content that’s vague and poorly written, you could run into some problems.
If you’d like some expert advice on how you can use search engine optimisation (SEO) to improve your website’s ranking in search engines, contact Koncept today and we can discuss the kinds of strategies and techniques at our disposal to help you achieve your business goals!