If you’ve been keeping up with the most recent Google news, you might have heard about a little thing called BERT.  This is one of the most important updates for Google’s algorithms and ranking system to have been developed in the last decade. It will affect one in every ten searches and dramatically improve the relevance of these search responses. But what is it and what does it mean for your digital marketing strategy?

First of all, BERT is an update that Google has just issued. It’s basically a machine learning enhancement that processes the words in your search relative to one another. Instead of just taking each word on a one-by-one basis, Google will now factor in more context, processing an entire phrase or sentence.  Google will now be a great deal more effective at interpreting natural language and nuances of context.

This will dramatically improve the effect of long tail keywords and voice searches.  At the moment, it’s only been released in the US.  However, it’s set to extend throughout other countries within the next year, which means that this is the best time to start thinking about how to optimise your site in advance.  The great news is that there’s not much to optimise in terms of structure of your site or mortgage broker marketing strategy.  The biggest impact will come in terms of content.

Essentially, BERT focuses on “long tail, more conversational queries.”  These are searches that you might speak instead of typing.  Phrases that are more natural to speak.  Words like “for” and “to” are often important in our sentences, and yet they’ve been ignored in Google searches in the past.  BERT now processes these in context with the phrase and in relation to other words.

One of the keys to understanding this update is that there’s nothing structural needed to optimise your online marketing.  SEO is the process of making your site easier to find by search engines. In the past, this could be done with keyword loading and link building.  Basically, BERT gets rid of the shortcuts.  It boosts the value of your actual relevant content, helping users to find the exact information they’re looking for more quickly.  So the key here is user intent for your target audience.  If you know what your demographic of interested clients is most likely to search for, then you can craft content to make sure this information appears most directly.

In simple terms: content written humanly, with valuable information, and with direct information about what your client is interested in.  Here are three key factors to writing content that both has value for your users and boosts your search ranking to increase your visibility:

1. Make use of Google’s SERP Analysis

SERP stands for search engine results page. A SERP analysis explores specific keywords for their tendency to show up in searches.  You can both do an analysis of your keywords and those of your competitors with this tool.  Follow it up with the Ranking Analysis from Google’s Content Optimiser Tool.  This will provide insights regarding a specific keyword, leading to long tail keywords and other insights.  These tools will also show you exact keywords and links that boost page rankings.

2. Make sure your content is optimised and relevant.

This is nothing new.  Content has been king for decades.  If you’d like an assist with this, Google has a tool called Content Optimiser that will help you to include the long tail keywords that you identified from the previous tools.  This also helps you to make sure that your search is relevant to user intent.  Even when using this tool, it’s important to remember that value comes from understanding your customers and what they want.  You need to offer answers to questions that you know they’ll ask.

3. Continue to refine your approach by researching new keywords and ranking opportunities.

One keyword is great. But it’s not enough. Interested clients will often use a variety of different words to search for your products or services.  Keep using keyword analysis and the content optimiser to discover new relevant words and phrases. The ranking of these will change over time and use, so make sure to keep your content optimisation strategy current.  Also, by finding new questions connected to a previous search, you’ll have ample subjects to produce more relevant and valuable content.

This is just the beginning.  If you’d like to know more about SEO or your ideal digital strategy, feel free to contact us.  At Reputation by Design, we know the industry and we’re here to help you get your business to the top.