Anyone with their finger on the pulse of SEO knows that Google’s algorithms are not set in stone. On the contrary, they’re revised and amended on a regular basis, with the intention of providing search engine users with a superior experience and easier access to relevant content.
Search engine updates may be a boon to the end user but they can leave SEO experts feeling flummoxed; that’s because, every now and again, they can actually result in lost rankings for sites that don’t meet a certain threshold of quality.
Recently, Google rolled out a new algorithmic update that’s been dubbed Google Bert 2.0. But what does Bert mean for SEO, exactly? And what steps can you take if your site has taken a rankings tumble because of it?
Here’s our take.
What We Know About Google Bert
This first section will be brief; there’s really not much known in the SEO community about what Google Bert entails, and Google has been evasive in offering a clear answer.
One thing we do know is that Google Bert has a lot to do with machine learning. Specifically, our data shows that Bert pertains to two key factors:
- Intent of searched keyword
- How useful your content is for that keyword
For example, we have a client whose business focuses on hair restoration; the client was ranking for the term FUT, which stands for Follicular Unit Transplantation.
After the Bert update, we noticed a big drop in rankings for the keyword FUT… actually, a drop by more than 40 positions, which naturally prompted us to investigate on our client’s behalf.
Upon searching that keyword in Google, we realized that Google had changed its search results completely for that term and was instead returning FIFA (soccer) and video game results.
It turns out that FUT is an abbreviation for a trademarked term, FIFA Ultimate Team™, and that’s why Google is showing it in these search results.
How to Recover from Bert Update
But how does your business recover if Google Bert has led to a rankings decline?
Our advice: Go back to the drawing board, specifically your keyword selection and content marketing strategies. Select keywords that are not abbreviations or that don’t make 100 percent sense for your business, then build your content marketing strategies around those refreshed keywords.
Remember that, in today’s SEO landscape, it’s more critical than ever to account for Google machine learning, something Bert has made quite plain.
More questions about this algorithmic update, or how you can bounce back in your rankings? We’d love to talk with you more. Sefati & Co is a leading enterprise SEO consulting firm, and we’re always passionate about keeping our clients fully informed about Google happenings. Reach out any time you’d like to chat.