Google’s BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) update last October upended search results for many organizations these past few months.
Google even called it “one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of search.”
Here’s what the fuss is about and how to stay atop rankings, regardless of future updates:
1. Realize that context is now king. “Don’t fall for BERT fearmongering,” says Alan Bush, SEO instructor at the University of California San Diego and vice president of Ignite Visibility. “It’s just the technology Google is using to better understand ‘natural language processing.’”
That means Google is now analyzing the context around your keywords to better determine your content’s purpose.
“Google can now determine if you’re posting content just to influence rankings,” he says. “You could get dinged if the content around your keywords doesn’t provide meaningful or helpful context for readers as similar content does on trusted sites.”
This is a positive development if you avoid fluff and outsourced keyword filler.