Optimizing for BERT: A Guide to Understanding User Intent in 2022





Blog Date

June 5, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Optimizing for BERT: A Guide to Understanding User Intent in 2022

Optimizing for BERT: A Guide to Understanding User Intent in 2022

The BERT Shakeup: Navigating Google’s Natural Language Update

As an SEO enthusiast, I’ve always been fascinated by the ever-evolving landscape of search engine optimization. So, when Google rolled out its latest algorithm update, BERT, in late 2019, I was immediately intrigued. This neural network-based technique for natural language processing promised to transform the way we approach content creation and optimization. And let me tell you, the BERT shakeup has been nothing short of exhilarating.

You see, BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is Google’s way of upping the ante when it comes to understanding user search intent. Instead of simply matching keywords, BERT delves deeper into the nuances and context of the words used in search queries. It’s like Google has suddenly gained the ability to read between the lines, interpreting the true meaning behind what users are searching for.

As one marketing expert on LinkedIn points out, BERT is designed to help Google “gain a more in-depth understanding of users’ natural language and present them with relevant content that directly pertains to their search queries.” This is a game-changer for SEO, as it means we can no longer rely on simple keyword stuffing or surface-level optimization tactics.

Contextual Content: The Key to BERT-Friendly SEO

In the post-BERT world, the name of the game is contextual content. It’s not enough to simply include the right keywords in your pages; you need to craft content that speaks to the underlying intent behind those keywords. This means understanding how users are phrasing their queries, the broader context they’re operating in, and the specific information they’re seeking.

Let’s say you’re an SEO agency in Manchester, UK, and one of your clients is in the health and wellness industry. As the team at JEMSU explains, the old approach of optimizing for rigid keywords like “symptoms of flu” just won’t cut it anymore. Instead, you need to create content that addresses more natural, conversational queries, such as “what does it mean if I have a headache and a sore throat?”

By understanding the nuances of how users express their health-related concerns, you can craft content that is not only informative but also deeply relevant to their search intent. This is the kind of content that BERT is designed to surface, as it aligns with the way people actually communicate and search.

Mastering the Art of Natural Language Processing

Of course, optimizing for BERT isn’t as simple as just writing more conversational content. It requires a deep understanding of natural language processing (NLP) and the underlying mechanics of how BERT works.

As the team at JEMSU explains, BERT treats words like stars in a constellation. While each word has its own individual meaning, it’s the patterns and relationships between them that define the broader context and intent. By considering these linguistic nuances, you can create content that BERT can readily understand and recommend to users.

This means incorporating techniques like:

  • Using complete sentences and natural speech patterns
  • Answering questions directly and providing relevant context
  • Incorporating synonyms, related terms, and conversational phrasing
  • Structuring content in a way that reflects how people naturally communicate

It’s a complex task, to be sure, but one that is essential for thriving in the BERT-centric world of SEO.

Striking the Balance: Quality Over Quantity

One of the common misconceptions about BERT is that it’s all about cranking out more content. However, as JEMSU’s experts point out, the true key to success is in crafting high-quality, relevant, and informative content.

Statistics show that websites with comprehensive, in-depth content are more likely to rank well on search engine results pages (SERPs). In fact, the average Google first-page result contains 1,447 words, suggesting that detailed and thorough content typically outperforms shorter, less informative pieces.

For an SEO agency like MCR SEO, this means focusing on creating content that goes beyond simply answering a question. We strive to provide examples, case studies, and actionable tips that truly engage the reader and position us as industry leaders.

It’s not just about filling pages with keywords; it’s about crafting a narrative, telling a story, and ultimately delivering value to the user. By taking this approach, we’re not only optimizing for BERT’s sophisticated natural language processing, but also building trust and credibility with our audience.

Embracing the BERT Revolution

The introduction of BERT has undoubtedly shaken up the world of SEO, but I see it as an exciting opportunity rather than a challenge. By embracing the principles of natural language processing and user intent, we can create content that truly resonates with our audience and stands the test of time.

As an SEO agency in Manchester, UK, MCR SEO is at the forefront of this revolution. We’re constantly studying the latest developments in NLP, staying ahead of the curve, and helping our clients navigate the complexities of BERT-optimized content.

So, if you’re ready to take your SEO strategy to the next level and truly connect with your audience, I encourage you to dive in and explore the wonders of BERT-friendly content creation. The future of search is here, and it’s time to seize the opportunity.

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