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Google and Bert: What Does This New Search Method Mean for Businesses?

We are all aware that Google is the largest online search engine in the world. In fact, current statistics indicate that well over 63,000 searches take place each second. This equates to a staggering two trillion searches every year. Of course, this number will continue to grow as a larger portion of the global population gains access to the Internet. The main issue is that Google has always attempted to interpret the more “human” nuances within typical search terms. Much of this involves machine learning capabilities, and it should come as no great surprise that giant leaps have taken place over the years. One of the most recent innovations is known as “BERT”. What is BERT? How does it relate to online searches? Perhaps most importantly, what does this new search algorithm mean for businesses that hope to reach their intended target audience? Let's answer each of these questions in greater detail.

BERT: Interpreting Search Results with a Decidedly Human Touch

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Dave.”

Anyone who has ever seen the iconic science fiction film 2001 should be familiar with this rather spooky phrase uttered by the HAL-9000 computer. While not necessarily in the same context, the fact of the matter is that Google algorithms can encounter similar stumbling blocks on occasion when being asked to carry out a task. This often arises during situations when a search term is unable to be accurately understood due to awkward phrasing or the complex nuances of the human language. While we often take such things for granted, machines do not have the amount of instinctive insight that has served to define communication over the years. This is when a new system known as BERT comes into play.

BERT is an acronym for the decidedly complicated phrase “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers”. So, it is clear the see why BERT is used as a substitute. What does this exactly mean? Without delving into overly technical terminology, the BERT software algorithm has been engineered to “fill in the gaps” when interpreting human search syntax. In other words, it provides more accurate results than would be impossible with traditional methods.

As this official Google article points out, BERT seeks to understand all words within a query in relation to one another, as opposed to simply interpreting the search by the sequential order of the words themselves. As a result, the intention of the search phrase becomes much clearer; delivering more relevant and applicable answers to the end-user. This only makes sense when we consider that searches are becoming more complex and specified when compared to a handful of years ago.

Why is BERT Important for Businesses?

You might be wondering what relationship BERT has with the average business that is looking to increase its marketing footprint within the digital domain. The main issue is that this algorithm is still being rolled out. It is therefore slightly difficult to determine its ultimate impact upon search engine optimisation, pay-per-click campaigns and similar strategies. Having said this, we can still draw a handful of useful conclusions.

Regardless of the type of business that you may own, the authors at Textbroker always centre their efforts around these core content marketing principles:

  • Clear intent
  • Clarity
  • Quality

These will obviously not change as a result of BERT. The main difference is that you will now need to take into account how a more “human” interpretation of search results might affect the listing of your enterprise. This is why the material throughout your website will need to be even more geared towards a human audience than ever before.

Streamlining the SEO Writing Process

We all know that content marketing has evolved since the first introduction of search engines. In the past, texts tended to be laden with keywords and similar SEO-centred material in order to grab the attention of Google. Although this might have been great in terms of your listings, it would often appear bland and even confusing to the reader in question. Let’s look at a before-and-after example of how BERT is set to redefine the search engine community by highlighting two phrases:

  • “Our London-based barbers use the latest techniques to help London customers obtain the best barbers so that cost-effective solutions can be found throughout Knightsbridge and similar areas.”
  • “Our barbershop in London offers the latest deals and styles for customers throughout Knightsbridge and nearby areas.”

Which of these sentences sounds and reads more fluid? While the first one is laden with keywords in order to satisfy previous SEO requirements, the second is decidedly more “human” and relevant to the website visitor. This is ultimately what both Google and BERT are trying to accomplish; to display more accurate search results without being tripped up by the intricacies of the human language. In turn, your content will be much more appealing to the audience.

All About Specificity with BERT

Not only will your content need to be more fluid in nature, but we also should point out the importance of specificity. As blogger Neil Patel stresses, it seems as if BERT will have the greatest influence upon high-end search terms (those which are directly related to specific information as opposed to a general query). While a generic search phrase such as “how to change a tyre” will lead to thousands of results, the information-specific query of “change tyre garages in London” will lead to much more discrete details. To put it succinctly, writers will need to create content that is highly informative while containing all of the details related to your product or service.

Doing Away with Traditional SEO Myths

How long is too long when ordering an article? What should my keyword density be? How many key phrases should be included? BERT will allow content curators to take a slight step back from these questions and to focus upon a singular tenet: quality. As highlighted by the Content Marketing Institute, BERT is not trying to reinvent the ways in which searches impact your business. It is simply augmenting current standards so that written material can be created in a more natural and flowing manner. This is great news for both clients and authors alike.

Still, do not expect these changes to occur overnight. It is estimated that only one out of every ten searches will be impacted by BERT. These numbers are nonetheless predicted to increase. This is why it is important to take a look at your current content in order to determine if there is any room for improvement. As always, the professional writers at Textbroker are on your side and capable of taking on even the most challenging of requirements.

About our author

Ron first arrived in Barcelona, Spain in 2007. Although initially pursuing a career in wealth management and finance, he learned that the content writing community provided the highest level of personal satisfaction while still being able to personally help clients. He has been a full-time professional writer since 2011. Some of his other interests include martial arts and bodybuilding.

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