Google Announces Largest Update to Search Algorithm in 5 Years

Posted: in SEO and Content Marketing

On October 25th, Google announced a major adjustment to their search engine algorithm that is likely to impact 10%of all search queries. The company named the update “Bert”, an acronym that stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Google has indicated this is the largest algorithm update the company has rolled out in the last five years. The basis for the update is a better understanding of language and how it applies to user intent.

With the rapid rise of smart devices and voice-enabled search, Google is trying to better position search results to handle search queries that are longer and more informationally based - like the way we would ask a question - with a technology called natural language processing (NLP). Longer queries (three words or more) have historically been a problem for Google due to the complexity of language increasing as more words are added. The effort to more accurately predict user intent (what the user wants to see in search results) doesn’t just affect smart devices and voice search, but all types of search on all types of devices.

Whereas so much of early SEO was about striking a balance between writing for machines (to gain search visibility) and writing for readers (to gain, well, business), advances like BERT will enable marketers to focus more on their customers and creating high-quality content.

Google routinely adjusts its search engine algorithm, with larger updates typically occurring every thirty to sixty days. Most updates that Google makes with their algorithm are not confirmed (or named) by the company. Google’s standard advice with algorithm updates is to make sure your website is relevant and compelling. Having a well-written website is even more important moving into 2020 because of this.

The SEO team from High Level Marketing will be monitoring changes from the BERT update to align our client strategies accordingly.


Don Marks
Organic Manager