Have you guys heard of BERT? I don’t mean this guy, and I don’t mean a long lost distant relative of Google, but the Google BERT update is a big one. In fact, it’s the first time since 2016 that Google have made a massive update to their actual system that ranks websites. It’s a really important update for SEOs to understand. In this video, we’re going to go through what the actual update is, what it’s meant to be doing, and what you guys as SEOs and people who want to rank websites can do about it as well. All of that and more coming up.
Hi, guys. Darren Taylor of the bigmarketer.com here, and my job is to teach you how to become a better marketer. Now, I’m a digital marketing consultant and trainer, so if you’re new here, if that sounds up your street, you should consider subscribing to the channel. In this video, we are looking at the BERT update from Google, so it makes sense to first start off with understanding exactly what the hell it is. BERT is a development from Google for their algorithm that focuses on artificial intelligence. If you want to know what BERT actually stands for, it stands for Bi-directional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Don’t ask me what that actually means.
I’m not a computer scientist, or a programmer, and I don’t understand artificial intelligence to that degree, but I can tell you exactly what Google are trying to achieve with this update. What this artificial intelligence update is trying to do is read websites like a human would, to provide context and understand the nuances between what people are actually searching for and the pages Google serves as a result. The artificial intelligence is hopefully in Google’s eyes going to read a website exactly like a user. I’ll go into examples of how this will work later on in the video, so you want to stick around for that part.
Ultimately, when you go back to all of Google’s updates across the years, that is what they’ve been trying to do. From back in the day where you could gain the system with keywords and keyword stuffing, and it was a massive focus on that. All the way through to now where Google have done things like RankBrain as their major update previously, and of course Hummingbird as well. We can see the direction of travel Google are taking. They want the artificial intelligence to give better results. In fact, Google have said, “BERT helps better understand the nuances and context of words in searches and better maps those queries with more relevant results.”
You’ve heard it directly from Google there. That’s exactly what they are trying to do. I think it makes sense to look at this update before Google actually rolled it out, and then an idea of what Google would like to see for the same query after the rollout of this update. Before we do that, hit the like button if you like what you’re hearing so far, and let me know in the comments if you think Google will actually achieve their goal of being able to read a website like a human. On the screen now you’re going to see examples of exactly what Google mean before and after the updates of how they interpret the search results.
Here is a screenshot from before. If a user searched for ‘2019 brazil traveler to USA need a visa.’ Which of course sounds gramatically bad, but people actually do search like this. This is the type of result Google would serve before the update. You can see it’s a recent news story, which actually looks at the news behind what the person’s searching, which isn’t actually answering the user’s question. They don’t care about news reports about what they’re looking for. All they care about is getting an answer to their question. Now let’s compare that to what Google would serve after the update. As you’ll see, it’s providing a good answer. It actually has a link to the embassy website.
You can see just looking at the description alone, there is likely to be an answer in there for the user. That is what it’s all about. Google is trying to understand the nuance in a user’s query, and instead of matching keywords to a search term, and serving up answers in that regard, they want to understand the actual nuance within the user search in order to find the answer they need. By the way, this also will happen to feature snippets as well, so when you perform searches on Google and you get the answer directly from Google from the featured snippets, these will be included in the update as well.
There will be more nuance and hopefully in Google’s eyes more accurate. If you don’t know what feature snippets are, I’ll be doing a video about them very soon. Stay tuned for that as well. Now you guys know exactly what the update is. What is the impact on SEO from this update? How is it going to affect your website, your rankings and the future rankings of your website? If you have any idea, then let me know. Because ultimately, I’ll tell you this much, there isn’t an SEO in the world who knows exactly how to optimize for the BERT update. If anyone says to you they know how to do that, they are lying.
Because I’ve even heard the Google representative in the past say this about their AI, that they don’t actually understand specifically what it will do because this intelligence is supposed to learn, and when the computer learns and the programs and the algorithm learns, then the results occur. In actual fact, there isn’t an SEO in the world who will know what this does, so be aware of fake news. I can tell you who this update will hurt, and it will hurt people with spammy websites with content that isn’t written for humans. If you’re writing content for search engines, then this is the point where Google is trying to weed those guys out and find the content that really connects with humans.
That is a major part of this update. If your website is really keyword heavy, not written for human consumption, then your website is going to struggle. Just a quick note as well, I have a number of spam websites where I created them specifically to test spammy SEO pages. I’ve done a video about this before, so I’ve linked that for you in the description. These spammy websites over the last number of two years or so, have seen a massive reduction in traffic. That means Google are doing their job. Despite all the rankings and fluctuations you might see on the search results page, the frustrations as an SEO you might see, Google are doing things right.
You can see that in my data when you look at my spam websites, the traffic is just nose-diving. That gives you an indication of the direction of travel. Google are going to win this battle I think. Let me know in the comments what you think. Do you think Google are going to win this battle on getting artificial intelligence to read a website like a human? If so, let me know in the comments. More important than that, don’t forget to check out the other content across my channel. Don’t forget to subscribe and I’ll see you guys on my next video.