With billions of searches every day, Google has always tried to enhance the user experience by providing the most useful search results and with BERT, this goes one step forward.
With Bert now rolled out globally, it is expected to affect 1 in 10 search queries. This is a big update by Google since RankBrain. And in case you think this will not have an effect on your SEO, think again! As Bert becomes more proficient with time, there will be a need to improve your posts online.
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Not a catchy full form and even more difficult to figure out what is actually means. As people move more towards voice search, Google felt a need to improve its search engine better to understand conversational search. In essence, Bert will play a crucial role in its algorithm to better understand natural language processing.
We’ll keep it simple here. Check out these four examples of BERT in action. A search term like “2019 brazil traveler to usa need visa” would (pre-Bert) show a top result on how US citizens can travel to Brazil without a visa. But, read the search term again. It is not about US citizens but quite the opposite. With Bert update, the search result is much more relevant. Google is taking into account
prepositions like ‘for’ or ‘to’ that is contextual and can add a lot of meanings to the search query.
Before Bert update, the Google search system would match keywords and terms. So the word ‘stand’ would be considered as ‘stand-alone’. With Bert update, the search understands the word ‘stand’ as physical demand. Third example: “can you get medicine for someone pharmacy” As confusing as it sounds even for a layperson, the search result would pop out result on getting prescription medicines but with Bert, the system understands that the search query is to get prescription medicines for someone and not for the person who is typing the search.
Similarly, when someone types in “math practice books for adults”, the search would invariably compute as a query for math practice but with the latest update, Bert understands that it for someone to brush up their math skills and will show a more nuanced result.
But wait, there’s more…
For instance, if someone is searching for “parking on a hill with no curb”, Google used to place emphasis on the word “curb” and not on the word “no”. Now it will show the precise result on how to park a car when there is NO curb. Bert update is no longer language centric. In fact, Google has gone on record to make search better for people across the world as the search engine giant understands that most users are not familiar with English. However, the learnings taken from this language can be applied for other linguistic searches
and the snippet feature with Bert is already witnessing significant improvements in languages like Korean, Hindi, and Portuguese.