With every new Google update, SEO criteria changes. Those changes are sometimes gradual, and sometimes far-reaching and immediate. In 2020 the most talked about feature is the new BERT update. It changes the way Google’s algorithm processes language. This naturally has some big implications on how businesses and seo will have to be approached.
By introducing BERT and other features in the latest update, Google is signaling an even harder shift towards the big picture. This means that your SEO will no longer be about pinpoint precision, but overall image, branding, and user experience. Below you can read up on the most important changes in SEO that are implied in the BERT update.
1. BERT and User-Friendliness
Google explains BERT on their blog as follows: Last year, we introduced and open-sourced a neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or as we call it BERT, for short.â
The fancy acronyms and long-winded formulations are actually fairly simple concepts. Natural language processing is, in essence, teaching a program to consider words within their context. That means that a word no longer is a separate entity, but a part of phrase or sentence. BERT means that they managed to teach the software to consider how a word relates to its neighbors. It takes into account in what relation that word stands to the word that precedes it and the one that succeeds it.
The implication for SEO is that you can’t look at a keyword and attempt to rank for it alone anymore. It means a shift towards longer phrases that successfully communicate the need that prompted the user to look for an answer. Therefore, SEO in 2020 will be even more focused on long-tail keywords and user intent or needs.
2. Content Quality and Optimization
Quality content is still king. The thing that has changed is that this is being recognized more. With features such as snippets and preference for longer text, well-written content has more impact on website ranking.
Optimizing that content essentially means improving readability. The easier it is to go through your content and find specific information within it, the likelier Google will recognize it as quality content.
No, this isn’t a dietary suggestion. EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness. This is Google’s way of mildly put curating the content they promote. Based on the number of backlinks, citations, searches and 3rd party promotions, your website will get an EAT score.
This is obviously a huge advantage. Because by building this reputation with Google, your website is basically shortlisted for success. In the long run, maintaining this status results in getting ranked more frequently.
4. User Experience and Technical Optimization
As mentioned previously, user experience is a big focal point in this update. Giving your users the information they need in a succinct, easily accessible way is paramount.
This dovetails into technical optimization. The increased demand for sites to be technically flawless has been obvious for some time. Even back in 2017 mobile optimization was a top priority. This is an ongoing trend. Picking up your loading speeds and removing ugly broken links, outdated content, etc. will have an even larger impact than before.