Google announced the biggest change and improvement their to search results in five-years, they said. It is called BERT and impacts 10% of all queries.

It’s a long known fact now that Google is rolling out small, continuous algorithm updates everyday.

Yet there are some updates that seem to have a huge impact on the SEO community and others seem to go barely noticed. Some of the more prominent recent updates were the Medic update and the June 2019 Core Update.


Why are rankings effected by some Google updates but not others?

Some Google updates are directly targeted at blackhat/greyhat SEO practices. This means specifically that they try to penalise SEO practices that are against their guidelines.

An example of a penalizing algo update was Penguin, which resulted in many sites loosing rankings if they had purchased links in the past (big No-No!).

How is the BERT algo update different?

BERT began rolling out earlier this week and should be done rolling out by the end of this week.

It’s different as it does not target SEO practitioners directly, it’s aimed at improving search results, by allowing Google’s natural language processing and machine learning to understand websites better, much like a human would.

Previously certain things such as keyword frequency, keyword clusters and word count were major determinants of rank. With BERT we may seem this shift towards more soft factors such as authority, prominence and expertise on a certain topic. These things were previously hard to assess for a computer algorithm but it’s increasingly becoming clear that this is the way Google is heading, as it’s also backed up by Googles quality raters guidelines (EAT – Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).

Originally posted 2019-10-29 00:10:00.