BERT update reaches Germany: everything you need to know!

Simon Mead

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BERT is the name of an update from Google. Since 12/12/2019, the content of the update also affects German search results. Through this, the user should find more relevant results in the search engine. With the BERT update, sentence particles such as prepositions are better placed in the context of the search query. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Tranformers. Especially for spoken search queries a higher relevance of the results can be expected.

What is BERT?

BERT is the biggest Google update since RankBrain. In Germany, it affects search results since Dec 12, 2019. The innovation already exists in the English-speaking world. There it already influences more than every 10th search query.

In a blog post, Pandu Nayak describes the update as the “biggest move in the last five years and the biggest move ever in the history of (Google) search.”

What does BERT stand for?

BERT stands for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Tranformers”. This formulation is the title of a recently published paper. Google AI Language researchers hope to have created a quantum leap in AI with this new method.

When did BERT appear in Germany?

As of Dec 12, 2019 BERT also affects German language search results.

For whom is the BERT update relevant?

The update is relevant for every website operator. Whether it’s a blog, shop or a service provider’s site.Facts about the BERT update:

  • Based on paper by Google AI Language
  • Improved speech comprehension
  • Every 10th search query affected
  • Since 12 Dec 2019 in Germany

The biggest Google update in five years reaches Germany. Now it’s BERT is the word

((VIDEO))

How does BERT affect our search queries?

The BERT update improves Google’s understanding of how we speak naturally. Formulated questions, for example, can be answered more precisely. The key element for improving semantic content recognition in the BERT update are certain sentence particles, such as negations or prepositions.

Examples:

#1 “Can you get medicine for someone pharmacy”

In this first example, we see the improvement in relevance that the BERT update brings. It’s about the following query:

“Can you get medicine for someone Pharmacy”

The query has the intention to find out if it is possible to fill a prescription that has someone else’s name on it.

While the same search query would have led to further information on prescription redemption at the time, it now leads to the information actually requested.

Bert Update

https://www.blog.google/products/search/search-language-understanding-bert/

Don’t forget: This change affects 10% of all searches on the English-language Internet!

#2 “Parking on a hill with no curb”

In this example, you can see how the negation in the search query has a higher relevance after applying the BERT update.

While before the update only tips for parking a car on a slope are given, after the update the result refers to the actual question. How do I park on a hill without a curb.

Bert Update

https://www.blog.google/products/search/search-language-understanding-bert/

#3 “2019 brazil traveler to usa need Visa”

In one example, Google said that when searching for “brazil traveler to usa need a visa” (2019 Brazil travelers to USA need a visa), the word “to” and its relationship to the other words in the query are important to understanding the meaning.

Google had misunderstood the context and issued results about U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil.

With BERT, search is able to pick up on those nuances and know that the very common word “to” actually plays a big role here, and you can deliver a much more relevant result for that query, Google explained.

Bert Update

https://www.blog.google/products/search/search-language-understanding-bert/

Understanding prepositions

With the BERT update, Google learns to better classify the meaning of prepositions (after, before, towards) in the semantic context of a search query and to better understand the relationship between two objects.

Bert Update

User and search engine get closer to each other

Both users and Google are trying to make communication with each other more precise. While users have adapted to Google’s keyword-based mode of communication over the past few decades, Google is moving closer and closer to its users’ natural mode of communication.

The BERT update represents an immensely important step in this development.

For the layman, the scientific background of BERT is extremely difficult to understand. If you still want to try it, you can watch the following video.

((VIDEO))

Google gets fit for the future with BERT

Back in 2016, Google stated that over 20% of all searches from mobile devices were voice search qu eries. Even though Google hasn’t released any numbers on this since, we can assume that more and more people are using the Voice Search feature.

With the BERT update, Google is positioning itself centrally here – after all, with BERT, Google no longer wants to understand search queries on the basis of keywords alone, but rather as much as possible like the spoken word. Thanks to BERT, Google can now better understand conversational search queries in particular, giving it a major advantage in competition with other search engines.

With more and more people using Google’s offerings like Amazon’s Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana alongside the Voice Search feature, Google has taken a big step with BERT and understanding complex long-tail search queries.

Bert Update

How does BERT affect search engine optimization?

In summary, the BERT update will have both positive and negative effects on your and our work as SEO’s. However, we would like to say one thing in advance. If you publish quality content , the BERT update will reward you for it.

More relevance through the BERT update?

By delivering results more accurately, users are likely to get more relevant results in the SERPs for their queries.

So if you offer high-quality content on your site that answers your users’ questions, the BERT update will have positive consequences for you. Users will be more likely to find your site if they find the answer to their question on your site.

Less traffic due to the BERT update?

The BERT update may cause organic traffic to your site to drop. The explanation for this is relatively simple. If more relevant search results are displayed due to the improved understanding, then there are also fewer users who “get lost” on pages that do not offer the appropriate content.

So while you can expect fewer searchers to visit your site overall, those who do are more likely to find what they are looking for.

Bert Update

Conclusion

You don’t see such a big change in the algorithms of the world’s largest search engine every day. So it goes without saying that at this point, every SEO’s heart beats faster and blood pressure rises – but don’t worry!

If you focus on quality content and helping your visitors instead of stuffing them with keywords, you should have nothing to worry about. BERT will likely ensure that fewer lost souls bounce around the internet from site to site until they get the answer they are actually looking for.

This ultimately means fewer uninterested visitors for you and therefore less traffic, but at the same time a lower bounce rate, a higher dwell time and more qualified visitors.

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