Google has released a new update to their algorithm inventively named ‘bidirectional encoder representations from transformers’, or ‘BERT’ to you and me.
In a nutshell, BERT helps google understand and deliver on searcher intent more clearly. Rather than just picking out the salient words from a search query such as ‘Does the closest florist have a returns policy’ and returning all results from a ‘florist near me’ search, BERT understands that the search is two-fold: you’ve prioritised proximity AND what are local florists offering to protect me in case that date turns bad.
Essentially, this is an update that is responding to the increase in spoken search and also in its quest to become THE answer engine – the better Google can deliver search results (SERPs) that are the most relevant to a search query, the more it owns search engine traffic. Google is perpetually upping its game to deliver the best results for search users. Organic search (results that are not purchased ads) needs to deliver the best experience for the searcher, not for the business who can game the algorithm.
The response, for business, from this update and for pretty much all of Google’s myriad checkboxes is to embrace your inner BERT – write content that will deliver well for your audience:
- Know your audience
- Deliver what your audience is seeking
- Deliver this in clear language that engages and answers your audience needs and pain points
Google will reward sites that are the best result for user. Outline your services clearly, in plain language, using the search terms that are relevant for what you deliver. Be the best and most complete you that you can be – in plain, meaningful language. Outline what you do in terms of what your audience are looking for to manage their problems – inhabit why they would be looking for you and be online and ready at exactly the time they are looking for you.