You may be wondering who BERT is and what he did to affect your business. The answer would simply be: Not much. BERT is the latest major update in a long line of releases from Google.
Algorithm updates generally pursue two objectives: enhancing the average user experience and drawing people deeper into Google services.
Major updates tend to send companies scrambling to find out how their business (and/or their clients) will be affected in the keyword rankings. While this year has certainly been an impactful one for millions of listings across the US, we aren’t seeing the dramatic change with this latest algorithm renovation. As Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz reassuringly tells us, “…many SEOs and many of the tracking tools did not notice massive changes in the Google search results while this algorithm rolled out in Search over the last week.”.
Google representative Danny Sullivan goes even farther with his Tweet on the subject:
What Does the Google BERT Update Change?
Essentially, BERT enables better interpretation of long-tail conversational search phrases. It better analyses user intent behind longer search queries, and subsequently provides stronger listing matches. Long-tail searches take up a smaller percentage of search volume compared to the popular (and ultra-competitive) short keywords, yet Google believes this update will affect 1 in 10 searches across the nation.
It’s clear that the Google BERT update has clear ramifications for businesses across the country, but what takeaways can your business pull from this release?
Tip #1: Don’t Rush to Rewrite Your Content
Every time a new major algorithm change comes from Google, there’s an instant urge to burn everything to the ground and start over. Don’t put the torch to your content just yet, because the Google BERT update probably won’t impact your rankings very much (in the short term). If you’ve already taken the time to connect with your target market through informative content, you may notice higher rankings thanks to the update!
Take a little time to examine this last week’s Google Analytics results against numbers from previous weeks, just in case.
You should also read Google’s blog article on the subject, where they discuss in detail BERT’s effects on search query results. The update has been steadily rolled out over the last month in numerous languages. We also know from Danny Sullivan’s tweets that the Google BERT update has ramifications for both organic and local search results (such as featured snippets).
Tip #2: Get Reinspired to Make Quality Content
Every new question to the Google team seems to come back with the same answer: Continue making excellent content for your users. There’s been such a heavy emphasis on keyword-optimization in the past, that many plumbing contractors forget the ultimate purpose for website material. Content is meant to provide helpful insights to guide behavior and solve problems.
Does your content directly answer the key questions that searchers are asking?
If not, let the Google BERT update inspire you to make greater steps towards insightful content. Your materials may include video, original photos, infographics, podcasts, and a host of other engaging devices, but everything comes back to user value. The good news: you can draw people to your website with user-friendly content, and still create leads for your plumbing company.
Tip #3: Invest More Energy in Content Marketing
If you haven’t taken time to learn more about the latest SERP features, check out our guide on the subject. Featured snippets and local map packs are dominating local search results, and Google continues to place more emphasis on them. As we mentioned already, BERT impacts both organic traffic and snippets, which is traditionally won by content marketing materials.
To this day, it’s still a struggle trying to convince plumbing professionals why they should invest time in blogging and other practical forms of content marketing.
Not only does content marketing enable your website to rank for more keywords, it provides more opportunities for interacting with potential clients. By solving real world problems that a would-be client faces, you create that much respect for your business and recognition for your website. Plumbing companies that do really well can earn featured snippets, which offer tremendous traffic boosts (ie: potential leads) for their website.
Don’t let this latest release from the search engine giant intimidate you. Watch out for digital marketing companies that might claim the Google BERT update comes with changes that only they know how to address. You shouldn’t feel any major effects in the near future, at least as far as your general website traffic goes.
However, there are some valuable lessons that we can learn from our buddy BERT.
- Google remains heavily invested in directing users towards great content.
- Even long-tail queries have significant impact in search.
- Google has a vested interest in SERP features, such as snippets.
- Content marketing will continue to play a key role in featured SERP results.
If you haven’t been taking stock in long-tail keywords till now, it’s time to heavily consider infusing some into your content. While they may not have the volume that search volume that shorter plumbing phrases do, they’re valuable for their heavy user intent and higher conversion rates. As we’ve talked about before in previous blog posts, developing a diversified keyword strategy typically provides better traffic and growth for your business online.
Don’t miss out on traffic that you could be earning with content marketing either! Even one blog post a month could have significant value for your brand and for your local searchability. If you aren’t sure what sort of materials perform best, try seeing what sort of content your top ranking competitors are producing. You can also check out our page on perfect content for plumbing sites!
Need a Hand?
Our team at Plumbing Webmasters would love to help you grow your business online. With our custom web design, in-depth keyword strategy, and dedicated content development, plumber businesses like yours enjoy incredible rankings in local search! To learn more about our services or ask questions about the industry, call us at (877) 388-9884.