Google is set to usher in a new age for search engine algorithms after launching a new neural networking-based technology called BERT, which it claims will make one in ten searches in English more relevant for users.
On Friday, Google VP of Research, Pandu Nayak, claimed BERT, which is shorthand for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is the “single biggest” and “most positive change” to search in the last five years.
The new tech is able to process words in relation to others more effectively and thus gain a clearer understanding of queries, so the search results and content served up is more useful.
Google noted: “Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like “for” and “to” matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query”.
The updated core search algorithm is set to shake up SERPs as around one in ten queries will now make use of BERT and have new, updated search results as a consequence.
Google is wasting no time in rolling out the new algorithm as it is already live for featured snippets in 24 countries and available across the board in US English with other languages and locales set to be included in the coming weeks.
For now, the impact of BERT is unlikely to rival that of a broad core algorithm update despite Google revealing it will be a game-changer for understanding queries, but brands should keep an eye out for any ranking changes.