BERT – Google’s New Algorithm to Better Understand Natural Language


BERT will impact 1 in 10 of all search queries. This is the biggest change in search since Google released RankBrain.

Google introduced RankBrain, almost 5 years ago, which changed search system of Google. RankBrain was totally based on Artificial Intelligence, which is handling large fraction of Google search queries.

Now, Google is rolled out another Algorithm update BERT on October 24, 2019, for better understand to search queries. This new Google search algorithm will impact 10% search queries in terms of changing the results that rank for those queries. BERT will also impact the featured snippets for all language globally.

BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It is Google’s neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training. In short, BERT can help computers understand language a bit more like humans do.

When is BERT Used?

At its core, this new update is focused on interpreting the intent of search queries better.

Google said “BERT helps better understand the nuances and context of words in searches and better match those queries with more relevant results.”

Instead of looking at the user’s search query on a word by word basis, BERT allows Google to interpret the entire phrase better to give the searcher more accurate results. Slight modification in search queries can alter search intents more.

Google Laid Out a Few Examples in Their Announcement:

In one example, Google said, with a search for “2019 brazil traveller to USA need a visa,” the word “to” and its relationship to the other words in query are important for understanding the meaning. Previously, Google wouldn’t understand the importance of this connection and would return results about U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil. “With BERT, Search is able to grasp this nuance and know that the very common word “to” actually matters a lot here, and we can provide a much more relevant result for this query,” Google explained.

Is Rank Brain Dead?

RankBrain came in existence in 2015 and was first Artificial Intelligence methods to understand queries. RankBrain & BERT both are related to understand search queries in better way. BERT does not replace RankBrain, it is an additional method for understanding content and queries. BERT is an additive feature in Google’s ranking systems. RankBrain is still working for some search queries as it was doing previously. Now with the help of BERT a search query can be better understood.

What Does This Mean for Your SEO?

You need to check your traffic on website, if traffic is down means BERT update affected on your site. Good thing about this Algorithm is that it will not Penalize anyone, it is for better to understand users queries & search intent.

The best way to make sure you win with this update is to have content that answers the questions of your target audience. Those sites which have lots of good content might be winner with this updates.

What to Do If Your Traffic Is Dropping

If your traffic is down, I suggest you that don’t do major changes in your website. In past Google have rolled out many of its updates within a week. If not, then change contents according to the downed keywords.


The new Google BERT update may be one of the biggest updates of the last 5 years of SEO. There were also 10% drops in traffic of many major content based websites. But there is nothing to worry about because this update is not focused on any sort of penalization. Instead, it’s focused on understanding search intent better.

Keep an eye on your search results and let us know what you see on your end with the contact form below contact menu.

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