On October 25, Google began implementing its biggest update in years, known as BERT – Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. The update is a big leap forward in the Google AI being able to interpret user intent, especially with voice searches, and it’s expected to affect 10% of queries. Here’s how Google explained it:
“These improvements are oriented around improving language understanding, particularly for more natural language/conversational queries, as BERT is able to help Search better understand the nuance and context of words in Searches and better match those queries with helpful results.
Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where propositions like ‘for’ and ‘to’ matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query. You can search in a way that feels natural to you.”
Google also provided several examples of how the algorithm has changed some queries.
When a user searched for “2019 Brazil traveler to USA need a visa,” before the update, the first result focused on U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil. After the update, the algorithm corrected the inaccuracy and the first result provided for the same search was the “Tourism & Visitors” page on the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Brazil website.
Before the update, if a user asked “Do estheticians stand a lot at work?”, the first result was an article about the differences between a medical esthetician and spa esthetician. After the update, the first result was a site detailing the physical demands of estheticians.
What does that mean for your dealership’s website? Here are a few things to remember.
- If you’re not already, you need to get uber-specific with your content, but know that doesn’t always mean you need A LOT of content on each page. While you might see pages with long articles in search results, Google’s algorithm focuses on quality instead of quantity.
- Go for the long-tail phrases – search phrases that have more than one or two keywords. The more keywords you aim for, the better chance of answering specific questions.
- Don’t panic if you see a drop in your site’s search traffic! Users could have been finding your page from inaccurate results – which, in hindsight, caused untrustworthy metrics and higher bounce rates.
- This BERT update presents an opportunity to create super-specific content that can cater to a user’s needs and provide better chances for conversions on your site.
Not sure about if your site is BERT-friendly? Our Digital Copy Department already composes content in a conversational style, allowing us to help our clients achieve the highest Google search rankings possible. Contact us today to learn more about our SEO services.