Matt1966
Matt1966 asked
Member (230 upvotes)

Google's BERT Algorithm Update

What is the purpose of Google's BERT update, and how can it enrich search in general?


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Avatar for member Chedders
Chedders
Moderator (211 upvotes)

It is still a little early to get any deep analysis of this latest update but early reports are that this will improve search quality for end-users by understanding questions and their meanings a lot better than before. 

Prior to Bert Google used stop words so words like "to, and, it, or" were mostly ignored. However, this created a bit of a problem for Google as a small word like to can and does alter the meaning of a question quite drastically. 

It's aimed at fully understanding a user's question and then matching it with the correct results from what I understand so far is the goal of this latest update. 

It's no longer just blindly word matching to get results, it's about a deep understanding of the language.  I believe this rollout is aimed only at English currently so not all websites will see much change. However, I have read 1 in 10 websites will be effected in search so this is quite a major development. 

Time will tell however as we learn more about it. 

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Avatar for member tstolber
tstolber
Moderator (99 upvotes)

Purpose is continued contextual understanding. The BERT update effected a lot of searches but its not actually new. Google has been excellent at understanding contextual relevance for a long time.

We saw this with personalized search - in that it could understand when someone searched for Windows, if they were a DIY enthusiast they were probably searching for the see through glass type windows, but if an IT professional was searching they would be more likely interested in the Windows computer system.

BERT is an evolution of this contextual excellence.

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Wonderful answer.
Wonderful answer.
Avatar for member Matt1966
Matt1966
Moderator (230 upvotes)

What is the purpose of Google's BERT update, and how can it enrich search in general?

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Avatar for member nikitacod
nikitacod
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It’s the biggest change to Google’s algorithm for five years, affecting one in ten search queries. With the Google BERT Update, Google aims to improve the interpretation of complex long-tail search queries and display more relevant search results. By using Natural Language Processing, Google has greatly improved its ability to understand the semantic context of search term.

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