Year in and year out, Google is introducing new algorithms to improve the website’s ranking factors and user experience. Last year, the search engine’s highlight was the mobile-first indexing. This year, we see the launch of BERT. It’s a neural network-based technique that will improve query interpretation. Instead of interpreting individual words, BERT will analyze words based on its relation to other words in a sentence.
So what is it and should you be worried about your website? Read on to know more.
What is BERT
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It’s a new search technology that will be used for 1 in 10 searches in the United States.
Google claims that BERT is their biggest stride in search for the past five years. And with site owners always on the hook for Google algorithm updates, BERT may seem like another headache.
Sure thing, keeping up with Google algorithm changes is a full-time job. However, you don’t have to panic about BERT.
How BERT works
As mentioned earlier, BERT will improve how the search engine will interpret queries. In short, it will give traffic to where it is due. So does it mean you’re going to lose traffic? Probably, yes, but in a good way.
The traffic you’ll lose is not really useful for your site. It could be due to the fact that searchers are looking for something else, or you’re optimized for the wrong audience.
Also, you should expect BERT to impact how rich snippets are generated. Since indexers will have a new way of interpreting searches, your pages may or may not show up with rich snippets. But then again, this is only for 10% of all searchers. It will not give too much impact as full-on updates do.
How should you prepare for BERT?
Actually, you don’t have to prepare for BERT, to the extent that you’re going something on your website. Just focus on producing content relevant to your niche and industry. This way, when BERT interprets searches, it will give you high-quality traffic of searchers who are interested in your field.
Anyway, since BERT will be used for only 10% of the search population, it will not cause drastic changes for now. Still, you should stay in the know of other updates that Google might release before the year ends.
Also, if you lose a portion of your website’s traffic, don’t panic right away. It might be the low-quality traffic due to inefficient search results. It just means that your search is being appropriated to the right audience group. This way, you’ll also see a bigger picture of where your website really stands.
BERT is just one of Google’s latest updates. For website owners, it’s part of the process of keeping up with the largest search engine’s never-ending updates. There’s no need to panic. Instead, consider it as a reminder that you should always stay relevant to your niche.