The Google BERT Update – What was it all about?
Back in 2015 Google came out with an algorithm update called Rankbrain. This changed the way that Google search worked as it became a self-learning engine. It began determining what people were actually searching for.
Then in October 2019, Google started to roll out another large algorithm update called BERT. It stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers as it was the largest update that Google had done since the 2015 Rankbrain update.
Google is constantly updating and tweaking its algorithm to make it smarter, but this was a biggie!
It took Rankbrain much further and put it on steroids! It was stated that it would affect 10% of all search queries which is huge.
Overnight Google search became a natural language engine that understood conversational style searches. It works out the context of a search so that it can deliver much more targeted content in its results. It basically took the search query and broke it down and analysed every word in it and its context to all the others. So, for example, the search term “parking on a hill with no curb” would have confused Google. It would have put too much emphasis on the word curb and not noticed the word ‘no’. This would have skewed the results that it showed.
Prior to the BERT update was the E.A.T update in 2018. This still holds a lot of importance, here in 2021.
Many sites took a hit as they did not fit the criteria that Google was looking for.
So what are the components of E.A.T?
- Expert – You now needed a really good About Us section full of useful content, giving your story. This needed to have references (with links where possible) to proof that you are an expert in your field. If your content was too wooly or lacking detail you would get penalised a little.
- Authority – Your site needs to have backlinks from relevant niche sites and a host of citations from around the web. This then gives Google the nod that you are an authority.
- Trust – You must have good strong Contact Us detail on your website otherwise it gives off a bad image. Total transparency is key right down to an address somewhere on your website.
So, how do you combat this?
Going forward you must have a strong About Us page with links to authority sites that cite you as an expert. If you are a medical practitioner you could link to the website that shows your qualifications. Maybe you are a tradesman that has a membership of a well-known organization or federation. Link to your profile on that foundation’s website.
Analyse your own website as if you were your customer. Are you being transparent? Can they contact you easily by various channels?
Write some good quality posts for your website that link out to good authority websites in your niche. This will give you added credibility.
What you need to realise is that Google is always changing.
Right here in 2021 we are on the verge of the latest huge algorithm update – Core Web Vitals. This will impact many websites. Your site must have a great user experience for your visitors, from the page load speed right through to what t looks like and all of the E.A.T that I have mentioned above.