Introducing Bert, if you do not know him yet, you sure will. This is the BIGGEST change to Google searches we have seen in almost five years (throwback to RankBrain). Google itself has disclosed that 1 in 10 search queries will be impacted by Bert. Get ready to refresh the way you rank all over again… 

What is Bert

Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transforms, but you can call it Bert. 

We know, hell of a mouthful. 

Basically, Google’s engineers have been busy tweaking their algorithm to a point where it now understands natural language processing just like, well, a human! This update will make Google searches a lot more specific as seen in Google’s four examples

One of Google’s search examples is for “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa.” In the past Google would have provided results on U.S. citizens travelling to Brazil, as the algorithm did not understand the importance of the word “to.” Bert, allows Search to recognise the significance of “to” here and thereby provide a much more relevant search result for this search. 

Check out the before and after below → 





(Image owned by Google Blog)

Bert’s effect on featured snippets 

Featured snippets are also becoming more specific and accurate in their response to search queries. Bert allows Search to understand the subtle nuances of language that have previously been neglected. 

For example have you ever searched for something like “parking on hill with no curb” only to see a featured snippet explaining how to park ON a curb. Totally useless and often frustrating, well now Search recognises the emphasis of “no” in this statement. Ultimately providing a much better experience for everyone on Google. 

What does Bert mean for your SEO? 

It means that in order to achieve that top ranking you have got to be very specific with your content. We know that Google is focusing on quality, not word count. You can expect Bert to impact primarily on top-of-the-funnel keywords, which are recognised as informational related keywords. 

Examples of the three kinds of search queries

Informational: “How to ride a bike”

Navigational: “Mike’s bike store” 

Transactional: “Purchase a bike” 

Our hot tip for getting along with Bert – have the best content. 

How to win with Bert 

Bert provides you with the opportunity to be the best and rank first. How? By creating the best user experience possible through answering the question better than anyone else. This will be achieved through specific details, images, videos and content that assists in the overall experience. We recommend focusing on long-tail terms.


At Content Authority, we are excited by this new update. We see it as a challenge to all companies to be better, be more specific and detailed about the topic they are covering. Bert really shouldn’t scare you, after all he is named after a Sesame Street character! So what are you waiting for? Go get super specific and see how your traffic increases. If you would like help with this, Content Authority should be your very first point of contact. 

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