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Google's Bert-Update – What does it change?

Google's Bert-Update – What does it change?

Bert stands for „Bidirectional Encoder Representations (from) Transformers“. It changes the way inquiries and content are understood by machines.


With the Bert-Update, Google takes one more smart step away from keywords. Natural language and a better understanding of search intentions suit the growing trend of spoken search requests. But what does that mean for your daily searches on Google and your Content?


Hi, my name is... Bert

At the end of 2019, a Google algorithm update rolled out for more than 70 languages. The update changed the ability of Google crawlers to adjust their understanding of natural language. Before the update search engines understood texts and found answers without being able to interpret double meanings.


Bert likes good Content – and readers

The ability to combine entities with descriptions creates a better understanding of longer texts in the World Wide Web. With its customers in mind, Google aimed to create a better experience when using the search engine.


How losing a little part of the "old stupidity" works can be shown with the example of a phone in airplane mode: "Can I chat on my smartphone on airplane mode?"

Thanks to Bert the question does not lead to a definition of "airplane mode" from a featured snippet, it will give you the answer if chatting works or not. How does that look like on Google search?


“Can I chat with my smartphone on airplane mode?”


The same search with DuckDuckGo (a search engine I like to use because of more natural search results and privacy reasons) - without Bert.



The comparison shows: Google’s Bert can make a difference by not ranking the definition of airplane mode but the answer to the question as the number one search result.


A difference of the wording in the search demonstrates that Google still "just" lists what creators optimized and ranked for.


“Can I chat with my phone on airplane mode?” (not “smartphone” like in the first question)



A small adjustment in the wording of the question results in kind of the same answer but from different sources.


BUT it is only able to give you and your customers the answers you feed it. Bert does not know the difference between chat and text or phone and smartphone by itself if no one provided the information in the first place.


By being able to connect those entities it can provide you the answer on natural questions that will realy help you.


It still is important which keywords, content and questions you rank for. In this case, the snippets that are picked out to answer my question will make your page rank 1 (or rank 0 if you consider it is placed before the paid content on Google).


No more keywords? Not really...

Afraid that your page ranks much worse than before? You don't have to. After the initial shock, a lot of SEO agencies got from events like the Florida Core update, Google was stepping back from drastic changes that completely mix up everything.


Bert will not stop the use of keywords but it is a useful revolution for natural language and the rising use of spoken search inquiries.


If you start optimizing search results today, you create a profound universe of knowledge around related searches (and answers) for readers. Therefore stuffing content without having something to say is a practice nobody should aim for. Good link building and texts that deal with a topic holistically are now in the focus of creating content.


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