How did Google’s Bert update change SEO?

You may well be a marketing manger for a large online business, on the other hand you may well be a small business owner operating a business right here in Cardiff, and you may well be working on  improving the businesses SEO yourself.

In either case you will want to know what Google’s Bert update was, and also how it may change how you improve your businesses SEO.

After all there has been many Google updates over the years, such as the Google Hummingbird update, the Panda and the Penguin update, all of these were really important.

And now the Bert update, yet where there was a lot of conversation about the Google Panda update and the Google Penguin update, there has been less so about Google’s Bert update, so we thought we would ask our team at our SEO agency to say a few things about what Google’s Bert update is all about.

So without further ado, this blog post is all about the Bert update.

What was the “Bert update”?

Bert stands for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformer”- which is quite a mouthful, yet it’s important to understand what the Bert update means.

The Bert update basically allows Google to better understand the context of a question.

We will elaborate on this later, but just imagine this question for a second you are about to cook your dinner, you fancy a tasty curry so you as Google- “how do you make a chicken Madras?”

How do you make a chicken Madras- well to us humans that’s obviously someone who wants the ingredients and recipe for making a chicken madras curry.

And many search engines are now clever enough to know this, but here’s the thing, it wasn’t that long ago when people were being more exact when asking a query, so for example, they may just type “recipe for a chicken madras curry”- which is self-explanatory what the person wants.

Yet, on the other hand, asking “show me how to make a chicken Madras curry”, well that’s more informal, and almost as how you would speak to a human, so as more and more people are talking to Google as you would a human, well this is why the need for Bert has emerged, so Google can better understand what information the person needs.

AI and Google’s RankBrain

Artificial intelligence and SEO is nothing new, that’s because of Google’s RankBrain- however with that said, we think the Bert update is just another continuation of AI becoming more and more a part of Google’s algorithm.

We think that as people talk to Google as if they would a real human, Bert was needed so that the algorithm can answer the question accurately.

So for example, “what’s the weather going to be like today”?

Well, does this mean generally across the U.K, most probably not, the person who’s living in Cardiff Bay will want to know what the weather is going to be like in Cardiff, South Wales.

So it might well be that Google is using the Bert update so that it can answer the question much more accurately.


So, in a nutshell we think that the Bert update is all about understanding the context of a question better.

So for example, “what time does Cardiff City play tonight”-, if this sentence was taken literally, it would appear to the algorithm that the person mentions a capital city, and refers to an event that’s due to take place that night. But it might have confused Cardiff city with someone asking about the city and not the football team.

Yet, because of Google’s Knowledge Vault and understanding of entities, Google will know that “Cardiff City” is a football team, and “what time do they play tonight” would refer to what time does a match start.

So Google’s algorithm is therefore using Google’s Knowledge Vault, AI through RankBrain and also now the Bert update to better answer the question.

So, this is where Bert may help, this is so that Google’s algorithm can better understand the question.  

Voice search

As more and more people ask a question, rather than typing the question, we can see why Google needed Bert- that’s because the query, or as some SEO’s refer to the question as the “search string” is getting more complicated, as people talk to Google like they are talking to a real human.

How will this change SEO?

Well, do you know what, we don’t think by much, and why do we say that? Well we think the same old rules apply, businesses and seo agencies must still offer quality content marketing.

Quality content marketing + write for the user not the search engine

We think it’s important to remember this, that is seo company’s and businesses must offer quality content marketing.

And do not write just to try and improve your businesses SEO, no instead offer helpful advice.

If your business offers really good advice, then your website is more likely to be deemed more relevant for different queries.

So for example, let’s say you run a locksmiths, just as an example, and you publish blog posts about how you can improve the security of some ones home, by upgrading locks, then your business may receive more visitors.

The reason being is that if your website has quality content marketing, then your business is more likely to deemed more relevant when someone is asking a question about locks.

So our best advice, as a white hat SEO business is this, invest in high-quality, white hat content marketing.

How our marketing agency can help:

If your business requires a new website, or help with your organic seo, then why not call us?