Google makes hundreds of small updates to their search algorithm each year, but their newest one is one of the biggest we’ve seen in a while.
You can read more about this on this article from TechCrunch.
Back in episode 109, we told you that Google updates their algorithm thousands of times per year, with over 3200 changes in 2018. Now a new update is rolling out, but this one is worth singling out.
The update is going by the name BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. That’s messy to say, but it’s essentially just deeper machine learning by Google.
The focus of this update is on longer queries, which is where the machine learning kicks in. Transformers, which make up the “T” in BERT, focus on the sequence of elements in a query, which makes sense that this update would affect longer search queries where Google will need to do a bit more work to determine exactly what you’re looking for.
Google says that this update affects roughly 1 out of every 10 searches, which is very high for an algorithm update. The good news for you, in theory, is that there’s nothing you need to quickly change to keep up. This update is really just about Google better understanding search query intent, and as always, comes down to Google really understanding the content of your site. If you follow best practices for SEO, this update should only do good things for your traffic.