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Ranking with BERT: Leveraging Google's AI for Higher Search Visibility

In the fast-paced world of SEO, it's essential to stay on top of the latest algorithm updates. One of the most important in recent years is BERT - Google's new AI-powered algorithm. So what exactly does this mean for rankings, and how can you optimize content for BERT?



bert AI from Google
Source: Google Research Blog

What is BERT?


BERT, or Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is a natural language processing technique developed by Google researchers. It uses neural network machine learning to better understand the context and meaning behind search queries and content.


The "bidirectional" part refers to how BERT reads text - it looks at words in relation to both the previous and following context. This allows BERT to better grasp things like irony, puns and intent. Google has now implemented BERT into its core search algorithms.


By integrating BERT, Google can parse search queries and web pages much more intelligently to determine relevance.


How BERT Impacts Rankings


So how exactly does BERT affect your search rankings?


Here are some of the key effects:

  • Better semantic matching - BERT excels at understanding the underlying meaning and context of searches. Pages that closely match the intent are rewarded.

  • Increased importance of E-A-T - BERT was trained on high-quality, trustworthy data. Pages with greater expertise, authoritativeness and trust rank better.

  • Favors readable, natural text - Meandering text is difficult for BERT to digest. Clear, organized content performs better.

  • Cracks down on keyword stuffing - Loading a page with keywords now backfires, as BERT sees right through this with its ability to detect context.


Optimizing for BERT


Here are 5 optimization best practices to help your pages perform well in BERT:


1. Focus on expert-driven, trustworthy content.

Partner with quality writers in your space.


2. Use keywords naturally and contextually.

BERT targets pages with semantically related terms.


3. Break up long blocks of text with formatting.

Headers, bullets and tables improve readability.


4. Include related terms and synonyms.

This enriches pages with greater semantic meaning. But avoid over-optimization.


5. Update low-quality, thin pages.

These now rank poorly in BERT. Expand them or remove them.




The Impact on Your SEO Strategy


To maximize search visibility, SEO strategies must evolve to align with BERT and other AI search algorithms. Conduct in-depth content audits, looking for optimization opportunities in on-page and technical factors.


Create high-quality content that semantic search can easily interpret. Avoid keyword stuffing and other tactics that sacrifice readability.


With its natural language capabilities, BERT marks a major advancement in how search engines evaluate pages. By optimizing for its AI strengths, you can stay ahead of the curve.

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