First Look At BERT, The Newest Search Result AI From Google


SEO companies and webmasters should take note of Bidirectional Encoder Representation from Transformers or BERT, the only artificial intelligence Google has introduced since RankBrain. It will be fully rolled out within the week for English queries, affecting 10% of the results. This has been considered as the most advanced change in search history for the past five years.

With BERT, Google can understand search queries in a more comprehensive way, similar to how humans do it. It can determine the nuances and context of words in various queries to provide more relevant results. For example, the typical word “to” in the search query “2019 brazil traveller to usa need a visa” would mean a lot more to Google than simply a preposition thanks to BERT. As a result, the search engine can understand that the query is about Brazilian citizens who need a visa for travelling to the US.

Google clarified that BERT would not be replacing RankBrain. Instead, it will act as an additional level of understanding queries and content. It will be up to Google which of these two AIs to use depending on the query.

Since SEO experts and webmasters cannot optimise RankBrain, it is expected that BERT would be the same too. Therefore, everyone is advised to produce contents the usual way, but keep an eye on how this AI would affect traffic. Landing pages that would be impacted by this are most likely ineffective in conversion.

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