Google BERT – What is it, How does it work, and Impact on SEO

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What is Google BERT?

Google is continuously working to make the search engine results more accurate. A new step towards a better knowledge of user requests is the BERT algorithm update.

Google BERT is a search result analysis technology based on neural networks. It is designed to increase the relevance of search results by processing entire sentences rather than keywords. With this approach, it will be possible to eliminate the ambiguous perception of individual phrases or excuses that change the essence of the request. As a result, a more accurate output on user request.

Is the algorithm already implemented?

The first reference to the use of Google BERT appeared in October 2019. Now the technology is being tested in the U.S. on 10% of English-language queries in the search engine. The model is also being used to improve selected fragments in 25 other countries. It is used when working with long search queries, which can be divided into key blocks that can lead to a distortion of meaning, including through the ambiguity of pretexts. The algorithm is not used for short queries, including those involving branded products. In the future, it is designed to introduce it for SERP of the majority of the states and languages. The terms of transition to this algorithm are not specified yet.

How Does BERT Work?

Google analyzes search queries as a set of key phrases. Based on this analysis, relevant results are selected. BERT has another idea. The search engine will learn to understand not the query itself literally, but its context. It will be possible not only by analyzing key phrases but also auxiliary words. These may be word combinations, definitions, prepositions.

This strategy seems reasonable, but there are some nuances. Thus, BERT is a resource-intensive algorithm. For it to work correctly, you need serious computational power. “Google has them to test the mechanism. In the future, it is projected to develop technologies due to which you will be able to solve powerful computational tasks using specific tools.

What will change for site owners and visitors?

BERT influences:

  • SERP results
  • The formation of rich snippets

It is designed to make the search results more accurate and natural. For site owners, this means that they can attract more traffic to pages with quality content created for people. Users will find it more natural to see the right pages in the search results. Also, it will influence SEOs. They can also extract a lot of useful information from the new model. Google BERT is an open technology available for study. The service is free. Probably, it will help to solve the current dilemma of choosing a title for SEO or title for CTR. Now it is a controversial topic, but we are heading that way. The introduction of Google BERT will allow you to adapt the title to the requirements of CTR for part of the pages. At the same time, there will be no negative impact on search engine optimization.

BERT vs. RankBrain

The RankBrain algorithm is used to improve the relevance of the search results. Is it similar to BERT? RankBrain looks at the request in retrospect, i.e., compares it with similar ones in the past. After that, it examines the results of the new query with those given earlier and makes corrections.

BERT has a different approach and principle. The content around the keyword is important to it. By analyzing it, the algorithm understands the meaning and context of the phrase. These two algorithms can exist on their own or complement each other. It is also possible to use them with other technologies, either together or separately.

Do we need to do something?

Google BERT has not yet spread to the entire search engine, but already now the owners/optimizers of sites can do some work:

  • Structure the information available on the site
  • Create new quality content by involving experts – articles from such areas as medicine, science, and law require the guidance of the authors of the texts
  • Design text content in conjunction with design to ensure that access to the content of the site is clear and simple
  • Analyze the search phrases and supplement them with relevant queries
  • Increase the number of pages with original content, expand the text support with additional relevant requests


The Google BERT algorithm is designed to make it easier to find the information you search on the Internet. It will allow us to rank pages more accurate by analyzing not only the keyword phrases but also long-tail keywords and the context of each sentence. Users will find it easier to find pages relevant to their request, and site owners their target audience.

So far, BERT processes only 10% of U.S. requests in English, but in the future, it is planned to use the technology with all the languages that Google works with.

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