Google is rolling out another algorithm change that is expected to impact 10% of all search queries. This is the biggest change to Google’s algorithm in ~5 years. The purpose of this algorithm update is to better understand natural language in search and is intended to deliver better search results.

The update will be called BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. BERT is Google’s neural network-based technique for natural language processing.

So, what does that mean?

BERT will help computers understand the nuances of language like humans do, and that leads to better search results.

When Did The Google BERT Update Happen?

The rollout was expected to start the week of October 21, 2019.

How BERT Will Change The Results Pages?

Google shared an example search for “2019 brazil traveler to USA need a visa,” and explained that the word “to” in the query is important for understanding the meaning of the query. Without this new algorithm, Google would have returned results for U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil. Now, Google will be able to understand the importance of the word “to” within the query and will return results that actually help the user:

Google Algorithm BERT - Brazil Traveler Needs a Visa Search Example

Here’s another example of how BERT will enable Google to understand a query more like a human:

Google Algorithm BERT - Pharmacy Search Example

BERT’s Impact on Answer Boxes

Below is an example that Google shared on how BERT can positively impact featured snippet results by understanding the actual meaning of the query. In this instance, the query “parking on a hill with no curb” would previously focus on the word curb more than the phrase “no curb,” which altered the results:

Google Algorithm BERT - Parking on a Hill with no Curb Search Example

So What Does Google BERT Mean For Your Site?

At Three65 we’ve always believed in optimizing your site content for people rather than “keyword stuffing” articles that would focus more on robots. We have been ready and excited for an update like this for a long time! Long story short, we are not expecting any impact on your site but will always keep a close eye on your traffic and rankings in the next few months to ensure this to be true.