BERT: A Major Google Search Algorithm Update

Google is in the process of rolling out BERT, which is a tool to help Google interpret complex search queries more accurately. It’s a natural language processor that will reduce disambiguation in keyword phrases that are written more like a sentence with prepositions and pronouns.

This impacts not only the results of searches you perform, but it also impacts how your website ranks in search results for more complex queries. Google estimates BERT will impact ten percent of all searches and considers this change to be the biggest it’s made in the last five years for the future of search.

BERT is an acronym that stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. BERT helps Google deliver better search results to searchers with deeper queries.

One example is when a query contains the word “no.” Before BERT, that word has been skipped from interpretation, but now, BERT will be able to add richer contextual meaning which will in turn deliver better search results. Search keyword phrases with prepositions and pronouns will also be better understood.

BERT interprets search queries, not web pages, and is simply another signal that Google will use when producing the best results it can for users of search.  Your websites are already well-written, and Google will continue to reward relevant, well-written content in search results.  BERT will be rolled out in English first, so those of you with Spanish sites will not see BERT’s effect for a while.

If you are concerned about how this might change your website’s results, you can log into your SEMrush portal and monitor this using Position Tracking / Overview tab.  The only action item is to make sure we are optimizing your site for the correct keywords and geographies.  There is really no change in how we will be optimizing for BERT other than encouraging all of you to produce or acquire high quality content to post to your site.