Skip to main content

Google BERT Update and Its Affects - All You Need to Know

Stands for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers,” BERT is potentially the biggest thing to hit the search engine optimization industry in a really long time - five years after “RankBrain.”


First of all...

BERT has nothing to do with the Autobots and Decepticons or Bert from Sesame Street!

Wondering, What the Heck It Is, Right?

BERT is an AI-enabled algorithm update unveiled from Google that has completely transformed the way SEO works.

This algorithm reads the webpages like a human, understands what the user is in pursuit of, and then returns the best possible results.


Presently, Google will be employing this update for US queries only. And, in the next couple of years, it is expected that it will cover many geographic locations.

BERT Will Help Search Better?

Google invested in the power of artificial intelligence to drive relevant results, and better map the queries with more applicable results.

So, today in this post, we’ll be going to teach you about BERT, how it impacts you, how it impacts search results, and how you take advantage of it, so that you get better rankings, more results on your website.


Google BERT is a deep learning algorithm themed on artificial intelligence that matches the search results with the context of the user, this is a kind of whole purpose of this update.

So, when people search for things- what is their actual intention, what is the thing they are trying to figure out over the Internet?

As per Google, This Major Update Will Impact 1 Every 10 Search Queries.
BERT is an additional element on top of Google Rankbrain-, it is an advanced machine learning technology that Google employs to deliver relevant search results.

To understand how BERT works, let’s take an example, a user searches “Can You Get Medicine for Someone Pharmacy.”

Scroll to Continue

Before the launch of BERT, users would have got results of prescriptions, but now with this algorithm update, you’ll get the answer- “Yes or No” - you can’t get medicine for someone.

Let’s take another example- a user searches “ 2019 Brazil Traveler to USA Need a Visa.” Yes, the above query sounds grammatically bad, but people do search like this, especially in non-native English speaking countries.


The results were news around what the person searching for, but this is not something he/she wants. The user has nothing to do with the news, all they care about is getting the answer.

Now, compare it with the results after the BERT update, they are relevant. The SERP results include the link to the website of the Embassy as illustrated by the above screenshot.

So, we can clearly see that Google is actually understanding what the user wants, what is his/her motive to search.

Instead of matching the keywords or search terms, the results are more centered in the context of the user.


Well, as a matter of truth, so SEO consultants India can clearly predict how it affects the SEO results, but one thing is for sure that this update is going to drastically hurt websites with spammy content, written not for humans.

If your website has text on it created with a sole motive on getting higher rankings on SERPs by satisfying the search engines, not the users, then you are going to have terrible times as BERT is designed to push those websites down.

So, you need to have content that connects with the users, thus, in fact, it is the major aspect of the algorithm update.


You cannot make your website BERT-ready since it is a complex science involving artificial intelligence, but what you can do is optimize the website for the end-users, and results will be in your favor. This way you’ll do a lot better rather than chasing algorithms.

Know what your users are looking for, and make sure you give the most comprehensive step-by-step details to match their expectations and encourage them to take the next step.

Don’t waste time in finding ways to actually break into the natural language processing of Google, you won’t be able to do that unless you have the quantum computing powers.

Steps You Need To Take: -

➔ Optimize for Humans, not BERT

➔ Revisit How Your Site Captures Informational Searches

➔ Avoid the Keyword Superstitions That Are Currently Everywhere

➔ Get Ready with Those Featured Snippets

Features Snippets Will Change

One thing you must note about the Google BERT update is that it is going to impact the “Featured Snippets.” They’ll change as Google now will have better identified what people are looking for.

The feature snippets answer the questions of the users directly in SERP results.

To understand this thing, let’s take a quick example, you did a search for “Parking on a Hill With No Curb.”


In the earlier days before BERT, the Google search algorithm mechanism would be completely perplexed what the user in the quest of? Typically, it would have paid great emphasis, unnecessarily on “curb,” rather than “no,” which is the central idea of the search. So, this often skewed things up- and results were “Parking on a Hill With a Curb.”

But, in 2020, the above problem is a thing of the past, as Google becomes smarter than ever with BERT. Now, the importance of the word “no” is taken into account to deliver more relevant results.

You Can’t Escape With Poorly Written Content


Poorly written content is devastating for your website rankings after the BERT update. Thinking content with multiple grammar, spelling blunders will cost you in a big way.

BERT update using the Natural Language Processing supports Google’s ability to identify the difference in words “In” or “For,” known as the transformer words in the context of a query.

These words would previously be overlooked by the Google search algorithm, contributing to frustrating results derived from the combination of phrases & words.

For example, before the launch of the BERT update, if you search “English books for Adults.” The results would have been product links to English books for demographic with the keyword “adults” in it, such as the young adults.

BERT update helps Google understand the significance of the transformer words and only puts forth books that are exclusively for the adults.

Now, the content must be curated in a manner it answers the query of the users. Typically, it is best to have more FAQs around specific concepts.

With the rollout of the BERT algorithm, the web pages need to be built over the concepts, generic content with unnecessary keyword stuffing won’t show up.

So, Where’s the Opportunity?

As mentioned earlier...

“It Is Around Creating Topic-Specific Content” - The Secret Mantra

It’s not necessary to write a long blog of 1000-2000 words, talking about 20 different things, instead a 300 words blog post answering the query is more than sufficient to rank on Google.

If you are worried about your dripping rankings, contact us and our panel of SEO specialists are there to help you out, solving your every minute query & doubt right away!

Final Takeaway


If you’re still implementing the obsolete techniques for optimizing the keywords, there are great chances you are in big trouble.

If you notice that your website’s traffic is going down, then it is the right time to audit the content and optimize it more for the users.

At last, we would love to hear your views, will Google be able to win the battle with spammy websites via artificial intelligence technology? Share it in the comment section of this blog post.

© 2020 Akshay Puri


Akshay Puri (author) on August 30, 2020:

Very True

Shivani Gupta on August 30, 2020:

This is some amazing and innovative Google update. Let us see how BERT works when launched in India

Related Articles