By Aubrey Barcena
People who have been in the digital marketing scene for a while now know how frequently Google tries to upgrade its search algorithm in a bid to improve user experience. The latest update on this end is BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.
In a nutshell, BERT addresses a former weakness of Google’s search engine where it couldn’t fully understand the context of a query. For instance, if a user is trying to determine how old Hailee Steinfeld was when she earned a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination, Google couldn’t provide a quick answer.
With BERT’s arrival, however, that all changed. You’ve probably noticed the improvement of the snippet of information that the Search Engine Result Page displays at the top of the browser whenever you’re looking for a specific piece of information.
That right there is BERT’s doing and is one of the most coveted spots among digital marketers for obvious reasons. Put simply, the new update allowed Google’s search engine to perceive the intent behind the question, while also understanding the prepositions present in the inputted keywords.
As a result, web pages that are delivering the most relevant information to a respective query gets to occupy the aforementioned snippet real estate. So how will BERT affect digital marketing moving forward?
1. Create Quality Content
Google’s objective behind BERT is to make sure that websites are providing the best content for their respective niches. As such, your digital marketing strategy should focus on quality, which should be your top priority, to begin with.
Always tailor your content on bringing value to your audience and Google will eventually pull you up the search engine result page (SERP). Conversely, if you’re targeting irrelevant keywords, your site will likely take a hit.
2. Answer the Question
If you’re writing content about a certain topic, always ask yourself what’s the purpose behind it. Let’s say your topic is digital ledger technology (DLT) and you’re writing about its influence on the financial sector.
That means your target audience are those moving within the crypto ecosystem. Thus, try to ask yourself what a person will enter the search bar if they’re trying to find information about the relationship between DLT and financial technology.
Keep in mind that people phrase their questions differently when they’re asking Google compared to real life. So that person might input “how can digital ledger technology improve financial sector” or “Improve financial sector using digital ledger technology” on the search bar.
If you write your content around this question and add more relevant information to it, then you’re adding value to your audience. Not only are you answering the question, but you’re also providing more data about the subject that might pique the interest of your audiences. In turn, this will add more authority to your site and people will see you as a great source of information the next time they’re looking for crypto-related topics.
3. Aim for the Snippet
As mentioned earlier, aiming for the snippet space will provide your site with a significant boost in traffic. However, it’s particularly tricky to create a strategy around this, given that it’s running on a different algorithm than Google’s traditional 200 ranking signals.
But ultimately, it all comes down to intent and answering the question. Answer the five W’s (who, what, when, where, and why) to increase your chances of getting that coveted spot.
Be warned, though. You should also include more interesting information in the content. This is because a user might not click your page if the snippet has provided all the info that they were looking for.
By adding more enticing facts, you will increase your chances of people clicking your piece and reading the entire article. Think of the snippet as your hook that will lure people in and consume what you’ve written.
4. Use Semantics
Aside from your main keyword, you should also add synonyms in your content to ensure that you’re covering all the bases. This turns your hook into a net, blanketing every possible word that your target audience might input on the search bar.
One of the easiest strategies to gather semantic words and phrases related to a keyword is the search result page itself. Try entering your keyword on the bar and scroll down at the bottom where Google provides several alternative options for you to explore.
Another approach is to use SEMRush and SpyFu to harvest more relevant phrases. But keep in mind that you shouldn’t oversaturate your content for the sake of semantics itself. It should always be within context and shouldn’t interfere with the article’s flow.
5. Leverage Long-Tail Keywords
As smartphones are becoming more ubiquitous, people are starting to use voice search queries. This means that long-tail keywords will be more relevant in the future as people try to be more specific with their searches in an attempt to find a specific piece of information on their first try.
People enter keywords differently when typing and speaking, so you must cover both those spectrums as well. Long-tail keywords are also great at adding more chances in snatching the snippet spot.