The biggest leap forward for Google search in the last 5 years
Earlier this week Google announced that it has rolled out what it calls "the biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of search." Google was referring to a major algorithm update, dubbed BERT.
Algorithm changes are not unusual for Google, in fact, it makes hundreds of changes every month. In 2018, Google reported a staggering 3,234 updates, on average more than 8 algorithm changes per day.
What makes BERT different from those regular changes is that it has affected 10% of all search queries. Considering the 63,000 searches done on Google every second, 1 in 10 is a massive amount of search results.
What does BERT actually do?
BERT allows Google to understand search queries that are more human-like and conversational, and understand content that is based on natural language. BERT helps Google better understand the context of words in search queries and better match those queries with relevant results.
Most search engine optimisation (SEO) companies are going to be in panic mode with this new update rolling out as you can’t “optimise” for BERT in the traditional sense. There are no shortcuts or quick hacks to trick the algorithm into ranking you higher. BERT is a machine learning algorithm which means it’s going to adjust itself over time to weed out the bad eggs.
We think this change is fantastic. The Mint team has been predicting the change towards a more conversational based search algorithm for the past two years. We have had our SEO clients geared towards a “humans-first” approach, and this algorithm change has moved search results directly in-line with what we have been aiming to achieve.
So what now?
If you are one of the many companies still relying on link-building as your core SEO tactic you need to seriously consider making a change. Consider investing in a good writer who understands how to deliver complex topics clearly and concisely to readers.
BERT was not the first shift towards humans-first search results and it won’t be the last. We're always looking ahead to what's coming next - it's an important competitive advantage for our clients. Our team is ready for a world of Google voice search, home automation and AI assistance. Are you?