Have you heard about Google’s latest update to their search ranking system? It’s called BERT, and if Google is correct about its impact, you probably want to get familiar with it.
Designed to optimize online searches based on natural language – i.e. how people actually speak, and the context of the words they type into that search bar – BERT is a significant update. In fact, according to Google, it impacts 10% of search queries.
Since you’re in the business of attracting customers – many of whom are using the internet to guide them in their search for the perfect car – the BERT algorithm is also significant for your dealership.
What It Is
According to Google, BERT will effectively achieve more helpful results for users: “Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like ‘for’ and ‘to’ matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query. You can search in a way that feels natural to you.”
In case you’re wondering, BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. But you don’t need to commit that to memory; the bottom line is this: BERT is designed to help computers better understand what users are looking for based on the nuances and context of the search terms and phrases they enter.
What You Can Do
BERT is a big deal – but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to change the way you’re doing things with your website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts reiterate what has been the guiding principle for as long as SEO has been a thing: Write good content for real users.
“There’s nothing to optimize with BERT, nor anything for anyone to be rethinking,” notes Google search expert Danny Sullivan. “The fundamentals of us seeking to reward great content remain unchanged.”
It’s as important as ever – if not more so, in the age of BERT – to populate your website with fresh, relevant, usable content that has a distinct focus and delivers a clear takeaway message.
The Big Picture
While Google’s big BERT announcement spawned lots of speculation about the need for major changes and full-scale overhauls of websites, your efforts will be better spent in other ways. Use this opportunity to take stock of your content. Make sure that it adequately addresses customers’ questions. For its part, BERT will better understand those queries and direct users to sites that provide the best and most targeted answers.
Make sure that your website is among them.
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive Merchandising.
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