RE: How does Google’s BERT algorithm impact SEO?

I've heard that Google's BERT update influences the way SEO works. Could someone explain how it functions and what steps I need to take to adjust my SEO strategy accordingly?

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Google's BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) update, introduced in late 2019, set a new course in how the search engine understands and interprets search queries. BERT is an advanced deep learning algorithm related to natural language processing. It means, it enhances the understanding of the nuances and context of words in a search query. BERT's impact in SEO lies chiefly in its ability to comprehend the context and intent behind a search query rather than merely interpreting the words in it. The update is aimed to improve the quality of search results by understanding the search queries just as humans do. Here's how it affects SEO: 1. **Keyword Stuffing**: BERT discourages the common practice of stuffing articles with keywords. It's more interested in the content's quality and relevance, ensuring that the material genuinely provides value to readers. 2. **Long-Tail Keywords**: BERT is designed to better understand the complexities of natural language, which includes longer, conversational queries, or long-tail keywords. This update can interpret the prepositions like 'for,' 'to,' etc., in a query, which were previously ignored but often have a significant influence on the meaning of the query. 3. **Content Quality**: High-quality, well-written content is more relevant post-BERT. The update rewards content that is naturally written, with relevant information, since BERT specializes in understanding context. In light of these changes, here are some steps you can take to adjust your SEO strategy: - **Focus on Quality Content**: With BERT's introduction, quality content is more critical than ever before. Create content that provides value to the reader. It must be well-researched, accurate, and insightful. - **Understand User Intent**: Instead of guessing keywords, shift your strategy to understanding what your users want. Optimize your page to answer these questions and meet user intent. - **Long-Tail Keywords**: Long-tail, conversational keywords will play a crucial role in your SEO strategy. As voice search becomes more common, and search queries become more conversational, BERT's ability to understand these longer, more specific queries becomes more critical. - **No Shortcuts**: BERT is meant to reward good content and punish attempts at manipulation or shortcuts. Stick to SEO best practices: genuine, quality content that answers search queries and provides value to visitors. Remember, though, you can't optimize for BERT per se. Rather, you should see the algorithm update as encouragement to provide relevant, high-quality content that answers users' questions effectively and accurately. In short, focus on the end-user, not the search engine.
Answered on August 23, 2023.
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