What it means to Search Engine Optimization
As if it wasn’t hard enough for people that want to DIY (Do It Yourself) the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of their website, Google officially announced on July 10, 2020 that it is once again changing its algorithms. This is going to be the largest change since RankBrain (which was almost 5 years ago).The new change is called BERT. Bert stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers and it is schedule to go into effect any day now.
According to Google BERT is a neural network based technique that teaches computers to think like a human brain. That’s the long way of saying BERT uses artificial intelligence to figure out what you are searching for. Sounds like science fiction come to life. Per Google
“The original goal of the neural network approach was to solve problems in the same way that a human brain would. However, over time, attention moved to performing specific tasks, leading to deviations from biology. Neural networks have been used on a variety of tasks, including computer vision, speech recognition, machine translation, social network filtering, playing board and video games, medical diagnosis and even in activities that have traditionally been considered as reserved to humans, like painting.”
So the question is, how is BERT going to affect searches for your website?
Well, according to Google ,BERT will allow its search engine to look at a query and figure out the relationship between the words and the users’ intent. BERT is expected to impact 10% of the 5.6 billion Google searches daily. That means 560 million searches will be impacted every day. What does that mean to you and your website? For example, say you sell Cat pictures that hang on the wall. If someone searches for cat pictures, instead of finding your place that sells cat pictures, the searcher will get images of cats. Searches for things like “find an auto mechanic near me” will still get you a list of auto mechanics.
What does the effect of BERT mean?
Past searches did not recognize what searches were trying to ask. It looked at the words as if they were all independent of each other. If someone searched Google for “USA traveler to Japan needs a passport” the old search engine would not now what the searcher meant. It wouldn’t recognize the word “to” as meaning that someone was traveling there. The results the searcher would get would be for USA, traveler, and Japan as if they were all isolated. BERT recognizes that “to” means you are “travelling to” and will give you relevant results about going to Japan.
So what can you do to optimize for BERT?
Just as it has always been you have to have good content on your website. Just putting in a bunch of keywords won’t get you up in the ratings if the content doesn’t make sense. Formatting will play a larger role than just putting a bunch of words on a page. Make sure you have alternate formatting elements like:
- Subheadings (H1, H2, 3 etc.)
- Bullet lists
- Photos that are optimized
- Tables and charts
- Any other elements that will break up big chunks of text
In the end it all comes down to making sure that you have good content. When writing you content think about what someone would put into a search engine to find your text. Make sure you address these key phrases and words. Make sure what you are writing is something that people really want to read.
At Sohr Consulting we work hard to keep up with the trends that affect your business. We help you succeed by understanding Search Engine Optimization and a multitude of other digital marketing techniques. We use a Holistic Marketing approach to make sure you are getting what will work best for your company.