BERT – A Major Google Algorithm Update – But Don’t Panic

Estimated Reading Time 6 minutes

This short post looks at – what it is, why has it been released and what impact it may have.

There is always a sense of unease by the webmaster and marketing community whenever Google releases an update to its search engine. This release (BERT) has caused some excitement as its Google’s largest update for 5 years. But as the late great Douglas Adams said in his infamous book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Don’t Panic”.

On October 25, Pandu Nayak, a Google fellow and Vice President of Search, posted on the Google blog that the internet search giant was updating its algorithm.

Though Google continually updates its algorithm throughout the year, many thought the post was a general update that would be discussed on the forums and search communities around the world.

This update, however, was causing a minor tremor in the SEO community as those that study search query data and technical SEO could see that Google’s rollout was having a more profound effect.

In short, this was a Major Google Update.

Understanding intent in search queries

The blog post by Pandu, who was a Research Scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center and taught classes on Reasoning Methods in Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University; was outlining how Google was looking to better understand user search queries and that even though there are billions of searches conducted every day, a staggering 15% of those searches have never been seen before.

Enter BERT, or to give its proper technical name, Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers is designed to process words in relation to all the other words in a sentence, rather than one-by-one in order.

This means that Google can consider the full context of words by looking at the terms that come before or after the query. This intelligent software update is also backed by changes to Google’s search hardware infrastructure.

As Pandu says on his blog, “Some of the models we can build with BERT are so complex that they push the limits of what we can do using traditional hardware, so for the first time we’re using the latest Cloud TPUs to serve search results and get you more relevant information quickly.”

The Cloud TPUs Google are using have broken AI training records and will be at the heart of the machine learning BERT rollout and allow for greater scale, and at a lower cost.

Content is King – don’t manipulate it

We have known for a while that a large ranking factor on Google Search is rich informative content. This has now been accentuated by the release of the BERT update.
BERT will merge featured snippets alongside its regular ranking to provide a richer context to its search results, especially longer search queries like the example below.

BrazilTravelerToUSANeedAVisa

What is the market saying?

It is clear that that the SEO community is coming to terms with the new update. Initial feedback has been mixed.

Barry Schwartz (Rusty Brick) at SEO Roundtable said, “In short – Google updates like core updates and Panda, Penguins and the like, are specifically designed to improve search quality and go after methods that try to abuse search quality. Penguin went after link manipulation efforts, Panda went after content manipulation efforts and core updates look at quality issues overall.”

Danny Sullivan, Google’s public Search Liaison, said on Twitter, “There’s nothing to optimize for with BERT, nor anything for anyone to be rethinking. The fundamentals of us seeking to reward great content remain unchanged.”

What is clear, is that BERT is here, changes are happening and having an effect and it will all be for the greater good as Google search improves.

Reggie James
Having built and sold various technology businesses over the years, Reggie heads the consultancy and commercial side of the business. Approachable and pragmatic, Reggie previously ran the first dot-com to list on the Singapore Stock Exchange as well as developing business strategies for brands whilst at AltaVista and Yahoo! before launching Digital Clarity. As a passive investor, he is also involved in the US public OTC markets.
Today is 1st June 2020 - the meteorological first day of summer and half-way thr
Today is 1st June 2020 - the meteorological first day of summer and half-way through the year. Though it will not be business as usual . 
Today is also the day that many of the lockdown restrictions in the UK are being eased and businesses that have been trading, prepare to awake from their slumber . 
What will you business look like as we prepare to head into the second half of the year . 
Have you embraced and enhanced your digital framework to transform your business . 
Learn how we can make your next 6 months successful - contact @digitalclarity | info@digital-clarity.com | +44148 338270 .
.
.
.
#business #thenewnormal #digitalgrowth #businessgrowth #ppc #seo #newnormal #b2b #b2c #marketingagency #google #consulting #digitalmarketingagency #socialmediaagency #digitalagency #growth #planning #digitalconsulting

Posted 4 hours ago.

Today is 1st June 2020 - the meteorological first day of summer and half-way through the year. Though it will not be business as usual . Today is also the day that many of the lockdown restrictions in the UK are being eased and businesses that have been trading, prepare to awake from their slumber . What will you business look like as we prepare to head into the second half of the year . Have you embraced and enhanced your digital framework to transform your business . Learn how we can make your next 6 months successful - contact @digitalclarity | info@digital-clarity.com | +44148 338270 . . . . #business #thenewnormal #digitalgrowth #businessgrowth #ppc #seo #newnormal #b2b #b2c #marketingagency #google #consulting #digitalmarketingagency #socialmediaagency #digitalagency #growth #planning #digitalconsulting

×
All good things must come to an end
.
Clap for the NHS is no longer a thing but
All good things must come to an end
.
Clap for the NHS is no longer a thing but it will never be forgotten
.
It would be

Posted 3 days ago.

All good things must come to an end . Clap for the NHS is no longer a thing but it will never be forgotten . It would be "beautiful" to end Clap for Carers after its 10th week, and make it an annual event, said Annemarie Plas, organiser of the event . Here’s to the heroes 👏👏👏 . . . . #clapforourcarers #clapfornhs #nhs #nhsheroes #guildford #royalsurrey #clapforthenhs #clapforcarers #countyclub #isupportguildford #surrey #nhssurrey #theroyalsurreycountyhospital #theroyalsurrey

×
Deepak Chopra often talks about seeing opportunity when we sometimes see no futu
Deepak Chopra often talks about seeing opportunity when we sometimes see no future. He mentions that this opportunity is increased if the other areas in our life like health and mental wellbeing are in tune
.
Back in 1980s Chopra was disillusioned within Western medicine’s sometimes short-term approach and after desperately trying to give up smoking, turned to meditation to help
.
This quest led to a chance meeting in India with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Ayurvedic medicine - Chopra seeing this as an opportunity to bring this to Western society .
The rest as they say, is history .
.
.
.
.
#quotes #wisewords #opportunity #quote #motivationalquotes #thursdaymotivation #win #hustlehard #resilience #content #digitalclarity #marketingagency #digital

Posted 4 days ago.

Deepak Chopra often talks about seeing opportunity when we sometimes see no future. He mentions that this opportunity is increased if the other areas in our life like health and mental wellbeing are in tune . Back in 1980s Chopra was disillusioned within Western medicine’s sometimes short-term approach and after desperately trying to give up smoking, turned to meditation to help . This quest led to a chance meeting in India with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Ayurvedic medicine - Chopra seeing this as an opportunity to bring this to Western society . The rest as they say, is history . . . . . #quotes #wisewords #opportunity #quote #motivationalquotes #thursdaymotivation #win #hustlehard #resilience #content #digitalclarity #marketingagency #digital

×
A creative powerhouse in your pocket
.
The iPhone has revolutionised how we crea
A creative powerhouse in your pocket
.
The iPhone has revolutionised how we create on the move and run our business
.
Whether you are creating a post, writing a blog or running a report, the phone in your pocket; connects you to the world, your business and your customer
.
Digital Clarity work with CEO’s and owner managers of business to help them and their teams in the digital economy
.
Learn how we can help you grow
.
Call: +441483 338 270 | info@digital-clarity | @digitalclarity
.
.
.
.
#iphone #digitalmarketingagency #ppc #seo #socialmediamarketing #socialmedia #instagrammarketingtips #facebookads #instagrammarketing #googleads #creative #design #digitalagency #socialagency #createdonthate

Posted 5 days ago.

A creative powerhouse in your pocket . The iPhone has revolutionised how we create on the move and run our business . Whether you are creating a post, writing a blog or running a report, the phone in your pocket; connects you to the world, your business and your customer . Digital Clarity work with CEO’s and owner managers of business to help them and their teams in the digital economy . Learn how we can help you grow . Call: +441483 338 270 | info@digital-clarity | @digitalclarity . . . . #iphone #digitalmarketingagency #ppc #seo #socialmediamarketing #socialmedia #instagrammarketingtips #facebookads #instagrammarketing #googleads #creative #design #digitalagency #socialagency #createdonthate

×
SEO is often thought of as free. The fact that you don't pay for the clicks has
SEO is often thought of as free. The fact that you don't pay for the clicks has led to this perception, but how much does SEO cost? .
On the face of it that could suggest it is free or at least a much cheaper channel compared to PPC
.
However, search engine optimisation requires time, effort, expertise and therefore money - whether doing it in-house or outsourcing - our latest blog takes a look at what the possible SEO costs are and why they can vary so much - LINK IN BIO .
.
.
.
#seo #seotips #seoagency #befound #google #bing #organicsearch #ppc #searchengineoptimization #marketing #digitalagency #digitalconsultancy #digitalclarity #digitaltransformation

Posted 6 days ago.

SEO is often thought of as free. The fact that you don't pay for the clicks has led to this perception, but how much does SEO cost? . On the face of it that could suggest it is free or at least a much cheaper channel compared to PPC . However, search engine optimisation requires time, effort, expertise and therefore money - whether doing it in-house or outsourcing - our latest blog takes a look at what the possible SEO costs are and why they can vary so much - LINK IN BIO . . . . #seo #seotips #seoagency #befound #google #bing #organicsearch #ppc #searchengineoptimization #marketing #digitalagency #digitalconsultancy #digitalclarity #digitaltransformation

×
This quote from the American investor, business tycoon, and philanthropist, Warr
This quote from the American investor, business tycoon, and philanthropist, Warren Buffet has so many applications
.
In the main, it addresses two main points .
1. the the need for medium and long term planning
.
2. The joy in giving and helping others. 
Warren Buffett is normally known for his investment strategy prowess and the returns he has made for the firm Berkshire Hathaway. 
Sometimes less known for his philanthropic work where he intends to give away all his wealth on his death to charity
.
.
.
.
#warrenbuffett #berkshirehathaway #philanthropy #philosophy #wisewords #begood #mindfulness #creative #quotes #quotestoliveby #wisequotes #instragram  #digitalclarity #contentcreators #guildford #surrey

Posted 1 week ago.

This quote from the American investor, business tycoon, and philanthropist, Warren Buffet has so many applications . In the main, it addresses two main points . 1. the the need for medium and long term planning . 2. The joy in giving and helping others. Warren Buffett is normally known for his investment strategy prowess and the returns he has made for the firm Berkshire Hathaway. Sometimes less known for his philanthropic work where he intends to give away all his wealth on his death to charity . . . . #warrenbuffett #berkshirehathaway #philanthropy #philosophy #wisewords #begood #mindfulness #creative #quotes #quotestoliveby #wisequotes #instragram #digitalclarity #contentcreators #guildford #surrey

×
For those that don't know yet, businesses around the world can now set up a sing
For those that don't know yet, businesses around the world can now set up a single online store to sell products, with no fee, on Facebook and Instagram - that's nearly a million businesses in the UK alone
.
The stores will appear on business pages, Instagram profiles and through targeted ads
.
This is one of a number of initiatives social media channels are using to attract business - learn more:
.
E: info@digigtal-clarity.com | +441483 338 270 |@digitalclarity
.
.
.
.
#facebook #instagram #ecommerce #ecommercebusiness #b2b #b2c #instagrammarketing #facebookads #socialmediamarketing #socialmedia #socialmediaforbusiness #digitalclarity #retail

Posted 1 week ago.

For those that don't know yet, businesses around the world can now set up a single online store to sell products, with no fee, on Facebook and Instagram - that's nearly a million businesses in the UK alone . The stores will appear on business pages, Instagram profiles and through targeted ads . This is one of a number of initiatives social media channels are using to attract business - learn more: . E: info@digigtal-clarity.com | +441483 338 270 |@digitalclarity . . . . #facebook #instagram #ecommerce #ecommercebusiness #b2b #b2c #instagrammarketing #facebookads #socialmediamarketing #socialmedia #socialmediaforbusiness #digitalclarity #retail

×
Are you ready to ‘create’ your business for the new buyer? .
What will your
Are you ready to ‘create’ your business for the new buyer? .
What will your business look like in June 2020 and beyond? .
As people shift behaviour - prepare your business for the new way of working and doing business - pivot and create
.
Learn more: @digitalclarity | info@digital-clarity.com +441483 338 270 .
.
.
.
.
#newbusiness #newnormal #resilience #digitalmarketing #digitalconsulting #digitalmarketingagency #creative #socialmediamarketing #socialmedia #instagrammarketing #facebook #google #googleagency #ppc #seo #analytics #guildford #surrey #london #pinner #horsham #southampton #basingstoke #woking

Posted 1 week ago.

Are you ready to ‘create’ your business for the new buyer? . What will your business look like in June 2020 and beyond? . As people shift behaviour - prepare your business for the new way of working and doing business - pivot and create . Learn more: @digitalclarity | info@digital-clarity.com +441483 338 270 . . . . . #newbusiness #newnormal #resilience #digitalmarketing #digitalconsulting #digitalmarketingagency #creative #socialmediamarketing #socialmedia #instagrammarketing #facebook #google #googleagency #ppc #seo #analytics #guildford #surrey #london #pinner #horsham #southampton #basingstoke #woking

×