Digital Marketing

Google Made a Huge Algorithm Update in October: BERT

by Zach

Another Big Change from Google

The Google BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.. go ahead, read that again…) Algorithm Update was announced at the end of October, and Google claims it’s the biggest update in the last 5 years. At its core, BERT is a natural language processing algorithm update. So, to put it bluntly, Google can understand us better now in context.

What Does This Mean For My Website?

This update furthers the importance of writing unique, informative content on your website – content that gives Google (and people) more context.

For example, let’s say you own a website that sells CBD products. Answering specific questions customers may be searching on Google related to these products within the content that lives on the actual product page itself will give you a far better chance of appearing in search results when someone searches that question, or one that is contextually similar.

It’s a win for websites that offer clear, concise messaging through descriptive, unique content.

Click through to learn more about SEO in the cannabis industry.

Can This Update Negatively Impact My Website?

In short – yes. Just like high quality unique content will help your site rank in search, websites that do a poor job of providing context, ie. there’s no copy or text uniquely describing their individual web pages, will ultimately see worse performance in search results.

Duplicated content or content that isn’t 100% unique to a given website will be devalued further. This means it’s more important than ever to build pages on your website with intent, and to write unique content that concisely describes that intent –  so that both people and search engines can get a better idea of what the page is all about.

Still Confused About BERT?

Here’s an example of Google’s BERT update in action, written by Search Engine Journal, a Leading SEO News Source:

“An Example of Context and BERT
The phrase was “how to catch a cow fishing?”

In New England, the word “cow” in the context of fishing means a large striped bass.

A striped bass is a popular saltwater game fish that millions of anglers fish for on the Atlantic coast.

So earlier this month, during the course of research for a PubCon Vegas presentation, I typed the phrase, “how to catch a cow fishing” and Google provided results related to livestock, to cows.

Even though I had purposely used the word “fishing” to provide context, Google ignored that context and provided results related to cows. That was on October 1, 2019.

Today, October 25, 2019 the same query results in search results that are full of striped bass and fishing related results.

The BERT algorithm appeared to have understood the context of the word “fishing” as important and changed the search results to focus on fishing related web pages.

Dawn Anderson explained that new search result like this:

“Bass means different things. There are different meanings for the single words. The context around the word provides more meaning.”

She’s right. That’s exactly what Google did in the search query, “how to catch a cow fishing.” BERT appears to have used the word “fishing” to add context to that search query.”

Source: Roger Montti (October 25, 2019), Google BERT Update – What it Means, Search Engine Journal

The Google BERT update is a biggie, and in order to best capitalize on it, it’s vital that your content be consistent, original, but most importantly contextually relevant to what your search results will most accurately reflect your Cannabis business.

Interested in learning more about the extensive Cannabis SEO services offered by CannaPlanners?  Fill out the form below and someone will get in touch with you soon.  Or just chat us up, in the bottom right corner of your browser screen.