How BERT Will Affect Your SEO Strategy

Search engine optimization is all about increasing traffic from search engines, like Google, to your website. To improve the quality and quantity of visitors to your website, you need to understand the processing models that search engines use. Last year, Google created BERT which is a language processing framework that excels at understanding full sentences and reading context. BERT stands for:

  • Bidirectional- Reads the entire sentence as one, not just the individual words in a sentence.
  • Encoder- Transforms the text from the sentence into a format that the model can understand. 
  • Representation- An input representation that can either define a single sentence or a pair of sentences. 
  • Transformers- Gathers information about the context of a specific word in a sentence.

Why is this important? Well, BERT allows Google and others like Microsoft and Facebook to understand the meaning of your search, not just the words that make up your search. BERT will affect about 10% of searches in the US, especially searches with prepositions like “for” or “to” and it will improve its understanding of the context of the search.

BERT affects your SEO strategy indirectly because it’s not an evaluation of your website, but of the search itself. Understanding how BERT evaluates searches and how it could impact your SERP is the best way to use BERT to your advantage. You can also make sure to have high-quality content written in natural language to benefit from a BERT evaluated search.

User intent has always been an important topic, but now it’s crucial with BERT. We need to understand how or why a consumer would ask a question. There are 4 types of user intent:

  • Informational
  • Commercial
  • Navigational
  • Transactional

Informational searches will consist of who, what, when, where, why, or how. Commercial searches will have terms like best, top, or will compare things like product attributes. In navigational searches, consumers will use terms like brand names or service names. Lastly, in transactional searches, you will find terms like order, purchase, price, or near me. BERT is trying to understand whether a user is purchasing or discussing a service, product, or method. Make sure your content and keywords deliver the solutions to user intent.

If you understand your consumers’ intent and adjust your strategy accordingly, you can maximize your chances of a BERT evaluated search leading them to you.

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