BERT Google Algorithm Emphasis on

Voice Search Natural Language

By John Hawley,

CMSWire on December 3, 2019 published an article by Kaya Ismail

on the latest Google algorithm update known as BERT, which stands

for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers”.


This algorithm change puts increased emphasis on Google's ranking website pages based relevance to voice search utilizing natural language processing (NLP) via machine learning within the google analysis of web data. Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings of web pages are expected to be dramatically impacted as search engine technology focus shifts increasingly to voice-oriented searches from phone smart devices, Siri, Alexa, etc. To understand the rationale better consider that we do not speak the same way we write. As a result with the rise of searches via spoken word rather than written this BERT algorithm is designed to better gauge intent of the questioner in their natural language format and in so doing provide them the best search results. If your website content is oriented to the "written word" then basically it could put your competition in an advantageous position over your content if they optimized their content for voice.

Morgan Hennessey, Search Tech Expert at Electric Enjin believes BERT will improve voice search results by crediting content providers with best published targeted answers to specific questions. Hennessey was also quoted by SMSWire stated that, “SEOs are going to have to start steering away from targeting the broad-term keywords and implementing a more strategic long-tail keyword strategy that takes natural language into account.” That’s because people phrase questions or search queries much differently when speaking, and it’s important to capture those keywords as well.” Long-tail keywords are those related to your topic that various search tools measure volume use that Search Engine Optimization focused web developers us in their written web content to improve pickup of related search traffic. The focus away from broad-term keywords to long-tail relates to increased need for targeting like a laser beam on whatever topic you are trying to provide searchers answers to. Hennessey also concluded that the content likely to rank best in search with BERT would be HIGH QUALITY, UNIQUE CONTENT THAT ANSWERS REAL QUESTIONS.

Ismail’s CMSWire article quotes a variety of Search Engine Optimization experts on the benefits and potential fallout with Google's implementation of BERT. Britney Muller at Moz noted image and video search results had experienced a drop likely related to BERT suggesting a shift from there toward improved search results for appropriately formatted and targeted text.

Note that with the BERT Google algorithm update all the other rules related to the importance of page load speeds, site maps, meta data, and other optimization and technical SEO standards are still in effect as can be measured with various tools and Google analytics.

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