Google has revealed that “almost every” search query now makes use of the BERT natural language processing tech that has changed how content is matched to search intent in listings.
When it was first launched in late 2019, Google said that only about 10% of queries were making use of BERT, with the majority of these being longer search queries, but fast forward a year and the landscape has changed considerably.
In a statement last week, Google said: “Today we’re excited to share that BERT is now used in almost every query in English, helping you get higher quality results for your questions.”
Google has been using BERT to gain a better understanding of the context of each word in relation to its surrounding words, rather than focusing on each one in isolation as it did in the past.
In addition to providing an update on BERT, Google also announced a few other changes that will have an impact on search and SEO in the coming months.
It said that a new spelling algorithm is now being deployed that enables Google to understand words that have been misspelled by users.
There is also a new indexing passage system that will impact around 7% of searches.
Google says that it will now surface content within a page so that it can provide users with relevant passages even when copy is located further down a blog or article.
Google called this finding the “needle-in-a-haystack information” and said that it could lead to specific passages being ranked for a query rather than the broader pages.
This could have significant ramifications for how pages are ranked in search, so marketers and SEO should keep an eye on how this develops.
The system will only improve a small number of queries for now but, like BERT, it could potentially extend to more as it rolls out.