Understanding Google’s BERT Algorithm

Introduction to BERT

Step into the world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) today, and you’ll likely encounter a murmured acronym — BERT. An esoteric moniker, you might think, for an algorithm that has reshaped the way we approach SEO. Yet, behind this seemingly inscrutable name lies an innovative piece of technology that is ushering in a new era of internet searchability and access to information.

This transformative change has come not in the form of a seismic shock but as a slow, tidal shift, reshaping the landscape beneath our feet. As we embark on this journey together, I urge you to set aside any apprehensions about the technical complexities that lie ahead. We will dissect this topic together, pulling apart the mechanisms of BERT and examining how they impact the world of SEO, particularly for us here in Ireland.

What is BERT?

In the simplest terms, BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is a language processing algorithm developed by Google. Before your eyes glaze over at the thought of wading through dense technical jargon, let me assure you – this is no dry, academic paper. Instead, we are embarking on an adventure through the landscape of our digital future, and BERT is our capable guide.

The inception of BERT was driven by Google’s desire to better understand the subtleties and nuances of human language. Its primary aim is to deliver more accurate and relevant search results by better grasping the context of words within a sentence. It is the Sherlock Holmes of algorithms, applying a magnifying glass to our queries and delving into the intricate relationships between words.

This innovation stemmed from an understanding that the way humans communicate — our choice of words, phrasing, syntax, and more — is often laden with complexities. As we progress, we’ll dissect how BERT deals with these complexities and the implications they have on SEO.

The inception of BERT

Google announced BERT to the world in late 2019 as a powerful tool to comprehend the context of words in search queries. This linguistic detective, borne out of a matrix of mathematical equations and layers of artificial neural networks, promised to deliver search results that aligned better with user intent. But why should we care about another algorithm update?

The answer lies in BERT’s innovative approach. It stepped away from the traditional way search algorithms handled language processing. Unlike its predecessors, BERT does not consider words in isolation. Instead, it looks at words in relation to all the other words in a sentence, thereby enabling a deeper understanding of the true intention behind a search query.

How does BERT work?

Imagine you’re at a bustling party, trying to make sense of multiple conversations happening simultaneously. You’re picking up snippets from the group to your right, catching pieces from the chatter to your left, all the while trying to stay tuned into your own conversation. This is how BERT operates. It understands the context of a word by examining the words that come before and after it, hence the term ‘bidirectional’.

This ability to capture the complexity of language context brings Google closer to its goal of providing more relevant search results. It’s like having a personal librarian who knows your taste in books, understands the nuances of your request, and can suggest the perfect read you’re looking for. In terms of SEO, it signals a move towards prioritizing content that truly satisfies user intent, over content that merely hits the right keywords.

Why is BERT Important?

The BERT update represents a significant leap forward in Google’s quest to understand and cater to the intricacies of human language. This breakthrough goes beyond just understanding what we’re asking – it attempts to decipher why we’re asking it, adding a new layer of complexity to the search process.

The implications for SEO are profound. BERT challenges us to rethink our strategies, to move away from keyword stuffing and towards creating content that genuinely addresses the needs and queries of users. In the next section, we’ll delve deeper into how BERT has changed the SEO landscape.


BERT has thrown a spanner into the traditional workings of SEO, forcing us to reconsider strategies that have, until now, served us well. The change is not one of upheaval and chaos, but rather, a shift in focus. A new emphasis has been placed on the context, the content, and ultimately, the intent behind every search query.

This shift could be likened to a change in diet. The search algorithms of yore had a strong appetite for keywords, and content creators fed it accordingly. BERT, however, prefers a more balanced diet, where the taste and aroma of keywords are enjoyed in harmony with the surrounding ingredients – the context of the content. So, what does this mean for SEO?

Impact of BERT on SEO

The introduction of BERT has ushered in a new era for SEO, one that puts the user at the centre of the stage. Rather than focusing on the rigid use of keywords, BERT seeks to understand the essence of a search query. This is a seismic shift from catering to the needs of a machine, to focusing on the needs of the individual behind the screen.

In the grand theatre of SEO, BERT has reprised the roles and rewritten the script. The importance of context and content relevancy has been elevated, while the spotlight on keywords has dimmed slightly. This isn’t to say keywords have been ousted from the play, but their role has been redefined in the context of the entire performance.

As BERT learns and grows, we can expect further evolutions in SEO. We’re not just trying to keep up with the latest algorithm changes anymore; we’re aiming to provide valuable content that meets the needs and expectations of our audience. And that, my friends, is a noble endeavour indeed.

BERT’s focus on context

Think of BERT as a sophisticated dinner guest who appreciates the nuanced flavours of a well-cooked meal. The individual ingredients (keywords) are important, yes, but it’s the way they combine to form the overall dish (context) that truly excites BERT. It’s this appreciation for the finer details that allows BERT to better understand and respond to search queries.

This change necessitates a more thoughtful approach to content creation. No longer can we rely on simply peppering our content with keywords. We must now consider how these keywords fit within the broader context of our content and how they contribute to a holistic understanding of the topic at hand.

Long-tail keywords and BERT

In the age of BERT, long-tail keywords — those specific phrases that customers use when they’re closer to the point of purchase or enquiry — have gained greater importance. BERT’s fine-tuned understanding of language nuances helps it appreciate the detailed intent behind these long-tail keywords, thereby enhancing their SEO power.

This is good news for businesses targeting niche markets or offering specific products and services. A well-crafted long-tail keyword strategy can help your business stand out in the digital marketplace, catching the attention of BERT and, more importantly, your potential customers.

How to Optimize for BERT

Now, you may be asking, “How do we cater to BERT’s sophisticated tastes?” The answer is surprisingly simple: focus on your users. Create high-quality content that provides value, answers questions, and addresses the needs and concerns of your audience. In doing so, you’ll naturally align your SEO strategy with BERT’s priorities.
isn’t just another hoop to jump through on the obstacle course of SEO. It’s a partner, helping you to better understand and meet the needs of your audience. By focusing on creating user-centric content, you’ll be in sync with BERT’s objectives and well on your way to improving your search rankings.

And let’s not forget the important role of technical SEO in this BERT-infused world. Ensuring your website is well-structured, fast, mobile-friendly, and easy to crawl allows BERT and other search algorithms to effectively do their job. With great content and a technically sound website, you’ll be ready to embrace BERT and thrive in this new era of SEO.

BERT’s Implications on Irish Businesses

While BERT has global implications, let’s bring the focus back home to our green isle. What does this revolutionary algorithm mean for Irish businesses trying to stake their claim in the vast digital landscape? We must recognise both the challenges and opportunities BERT presents to fully grasp its local impact.

In Ireland, where language brims with unique dialects and expressions, and businesses range from local SMEs to multinational corporations, BERT has important implications. As we wade through these, remember that with every challenge comes an opportunity.

Challenges for Irish Businesses

The introduction of BERT presents a unique set of challenges for Irish businesses. Navigating these challenges may seem daunting, but remember – understanding a problem is the first step towards solving it.

The complexity of our rich, colourful language and the ever-growing demand for high-quality, contextually relevant content are among the significant challenges Irish businesses face. Let’s delve deeper into these.

Embracing BERT requires a shift in mindset and an openness to change. It’s not just about tweaking a few keywords or updating some metadata. The changes required are more profound, reaching into the very heart of your content strategy.

The language issue

Our wonderful Irish vernacular, peppered with unique phrases and idioms, can sometimes confound even the most advanced language processing algorithms. Though BERT is a master of context, it can stumble when confronted with colloquialisms and local lingo. This creates an extra layer of complexity for Irish businesses trying to ensure their content is both true to their roots and optimised for SEO.

This challenge isn’t insurmountable, though. Rather, it’s a call to action for businesses to balance authenticity with accessibility in their content creation.

Overcoming the challenges

How then, do we overcome these challenges? The key lies in striking a balance between using our unique language and ensuring our content is understood by the algorithms that guide internet searches. It’s about embracing the beauty of our local dialects, while also ensuring our content can be found and appreciated by a wider audience.

Herein lies the beauty of BERT. It doesn’t require you to alter your voice, but rather, encourages you to speak clearly and contextually, using language that reflects the intent of your audience. It’s about finding that sweet spot where the charm of your unique brand voice meets the clarity that BERT craves.

Opportunities for Irish Businesses

Despite the challenges, BERT presents many opportunities for Irish businesses. For starters, the emphasis on quality content and context helps businesses create meaningful connections with their audience. By focusing on providing value, you can foster stronger relationships with your customers, which can lead to increased loyalty and engagement.

Furthermore, the rise of long-tail keywords gives businesses a chance to stand out in niche markets. By understanding the specific queries and needs of your target audience, you can position your business as the go-to resource in your industry.

The Role of SEO Companies in the Age of BERT

The advent of BERT has seen the role of SEO companies becoming even more crucial. As the seas of digital marketing swell with the currents of BERT and other algorithm changes, these experienced navigators become invaluable in guiding businesses to the shores of success.

Why SEO Companies Matter More Now

In the wake of BERT’s roll-out, the landscape of SEO has evolved significantly. While keywords and backlinks still matter, the game has expanded to include a greater focus on content quality, user intent, and technical optimisation. SEO companies, with their expertise and resources, are well-equipped to guide businesses through this complex terrain.

By employing an SEO company, businesses can ensure they stay ahead of the curve, keeping up with the ever-changing algorithm updates, and maintaining a strong online presence. But it’s not just about survival. With an expert SEO partner, businesses have the potential to thrive in this dynamic digital landscape.

Moreover, these companies can provide valuable insights and data-driven strategies to help businesses make informed decisions, ultimately leading to better results.

Expertise in tackling BERT

SEO companies live and breathe digital marketing. They’re on the frontline, constantly adapting and evolving their strategies to match the latest updates. With BERT in the mix, this expertise becomes even more valuable.

These companies can help businesses decipher the implications of BERT, developing and implementing strategies to optimise content and website performance. They can be the compass guiding you through the foggy waters of BERT’s complexities.

Creating value with SEO companies

At the heart of every successful SEO strategy is value creation. By understanding the needs and expectations of your audience, an SEO company can help create content that resonates and engages.

But the value doesn’t stop there. By enhancing website performance, improving navigation, and optimising site structure, an SEO company can create a user-friendly experience that keeps visitors coming back for more. All of this contributes to improving your website’s visibility and ranking in the eyes of BERT.

Kinsale SEO: Navigating the BERT Landscape

With all this talk of BERT and SEO, one might wonder where to turn for help. Enter Kinsale SEO, Ireland’s premier SEO company. With a deep understanding of BERT and its implications, Kinsale SEO stands ready to guide businesses through this new landscape.

Whether you’re a small local business or a multinational corporation, Kinsale SEO can help you optimise your content, enhance your website’s performance, and ultimately, improve your search rankings. With a team of seasoned SEO experts and a proven track record of success, Kinsale SEO can help you make the most of BERT and beyond.


BERT is not just another algorithm update. It’s a game-changer that’s shaping the future of SEO. While it presents challenges, it also offers exciting opportunities for businesses willing to adapt and evolve their strategies.

In this shifting landscape, partnering with an SEO company like Kinsale SEO can make all the difference. By providing expert guidance, actionable strategies, and a deep understanding of BERT, Kinsale SEO can help you navigate this new terrain, driving your business towards digital success.


1. What is BERT?
Google’s BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is a deep learning algorithm related to natural language processing. It helps Google understand natural language and the intent behind search queries better.
2. How does BERT affect SEO?
BERT affects SEO by placing a stronger emphasis on the context and intent behind search queries. This means creating quality, user-centric content is more important than ever for SEO.
3. Can I optimise my website for BERT?
You cannot optimise for BERT specifically. Instead, focus on creating high-quality, contextually relevant content that addresses your users’ needs and questions.
4. How does BERT impact long-tail keywords?
BERT has a refined understanding of long-tail keywords, which often carry specific intent. This means well-constructed long-tail keyword strategies can prove beneficial in the age of BERT.
5. Why should I choose Kinsale SEO?
Kinsale SEO combines deep understanding of BERT with extensive SEO expertise to provide actionable strategies that drive results. Whether you’re a small business or a multinational corporation, Kinsale SEO is equipped to guide you through the changing SEO landscape.
6. How does language complexity affect BERT’s performance?
While BERT is designed to understand complex language structures, local dialects and idioms can pose challenges. Businesses need to balance their unique voice with accessibility to effectively navigate this complexity.

About the author

Casey Meraz is the Founder of Kinsale SEO, Juris Digital, Solicitor Digital and Ethical SEO Consulting. He has been helping companies thrive online through effective organic SEO and Local SEO programs.

Leave a Comment