In late September, Google announced a new algorithm update that would affect how sites are ranked. It’s designed to give users more helpful and high-quality results. But what does that mean for businesses? We’ll break down the details of the update and give you some tips to make sure your site doesn’t get hit too hard during the transition.
The update, which has been named the BERT (short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) update, is designed to better understand user intent during a search. For example, if someone searches for “NFL scores,” Google will now be able to figure out that the user is looking for scores from National Football League games – and not just information about the organization itself. Google BERT will also be able to interpret conversational queries like, “Can you still buy tickets to the concert?”
The BERT update is implemented at the sentence level, meaning it’ll help Google better understand each individual sentence on a web page. This is in contrast to previous updates that looked at individual words.These algorithm changes will initially only be available in English, but Google plans on expanding to other languages in the future.
So what impact does this update have on businesses? Google has said that the update will only affect around one-tenth of all searches made in the United States. However, those searches will be much more likely to lead to a click because they’ll be more relevant to what the user is actually looking for.
That being said, there’s no need to panic if your site’s seen a dip in traffic since the update rollout. Chances are, it’s just a matter of making some minor tweaks to your content.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you get started:
- Make sure your content is clear and concise.
- Use simple language that can be easily understood by everyone.
- When possible, include step-by-step instructions or pictures/videos to help explain complex concepts.
- If you run a local business, make sure your address and phone number are prominently displayed on your website.
- Pay attention to your click-through rates and bounce rates (the percentage of people who leave your site after only viewing one page). If you see a sudden spike in either of these metrics, it could be an indication that your content isn’t relevant to what people are searching for.
- Don’t forget about voice search! More and more people are using voice assistants like Siri and Alexa to perform internet searches. Make sure your content is optimized for voice search by including long-tail keywords (phrases that are three or four words long) and using natural language.
- If you have a blog or podcast, include transcripts of each episode on your site so that Google can index them – and people can find them easily when searching. Transcripts are going to become increasingly important with this update.
Google’s new algorithm update is designed to deliver more relevant results to users. While it’s unlikely to have a major impact on most sites’ traffic levels, it’s still important to make sure your content is clear, concise, and easy to understand. By doing so, you can help ensure that your site continues to rank highly in Google searches.