Google as a search engine has changed the landscape of how we view both information gathering and advertising. The amount of information input and gather is greater than we can fathom at 40,000 searches on average per second. In the early stages of the internet, there were little regulations regarding what information would make it to the top of search results. Most people could maneuver their way to the top of a search list by abusing the SEO system. However, the more popular Google became, the more regulations were needed and thus algorithms to police content were born.
The latest of the algorithm changes were implemented back in October of 2019, in the form of Google BERT. What is it, what changes are they making, and what sort of impact is Google trying to make with its search engine? Let’s look into it further.
Voice Activated Products
Before we talk about what Google BERT is, we must talk about the technology that drove the change in the first place. Voice-activated products. Google Alexa, cellphones and another tech that relies on speech patterns have been in the works since the ’50s. However, it wasn’t until the ’90s when it starts to take shape. Microprocessors were finally able to process speech fast enough to catch up to natural dictation.
” In 1990, the company Dragon releases ‘Dragon Dictate’ which was the world’s first speech recognition software for consumers. In 1997, they improved it and developed ‘Dragon NaturallySpeaking’; you could speak 100 words in a minute. “
It wasn’t until both Google and Android perfect the technology in the 2010s that it became more widespread. ” They would record different users’ voice queries to develop an enhanced speech model. It consists of 230 billion English words. ” Apple would pick up Siri, a rival technology that would do the same thing.
How Voice Activation Technology Works
According to Total Voice Technologies, ” Recording a voice sample of a person’s speech and digitizing it to create a unique voiceprint or template. Each spoken word breaks up into discrete segments which comprise several tones. These tones get translation into a digital transcript and the program captures these tones in order to create a speaker’s unique voice template. “
These patterns can be biological and/or behavioral in nature. and the program will most likely match these consistent patterns into templates that are already there. However, as amazing as that sounds, there are still some imperfections that can easily trip up the VA templates and cause a mismatch.
” Differences in the physical well being and emotional state of an individual can also cause a person’s speech to change. For example, having a cold can change a person’s speech enough to create a mismatch between the stored template and the person’s current voice sample. This is even possible if the person is excited, depressed, stressed or even on medication. Other factors, such as background noise, ambient temperature, and the input device can also affect the result of the system. “
Because it is a burgeoning field of technology and Google has investments in it, that would mean that their search engine would have to account for audio search. Enter the latest algorithm BERT.
What Google BERT Does
CSMwire explains the nature of the algorithm as, ” [BERT] leverages machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) to better understand the context of a search query. ” In a less sesquipedalian context, Bert simply does what every voice activation software does, picks out patterns from natural speech and translates it to a template for the software to understand for search results.
This is a response to the growing number of voice-activated searches. And if you think about it, it makes some sense. People don’t write the same way they speak. In fact, speaking can often create a series of tone or context that is lost in the written word. So, Google BERT is taking that into account in voice engine search models.
But that isn’t the question that most people who are involved with SEO are asking. What they often want to know is,
Will Google BERT Affect my Site Ranking?
Not really. While it may shift some rankings around in snippets on mobile devices, there is little that is going to change. If anything, as long as you have been aware of the SEO trends and rules for the past few years, then you are already covered. Just be relevant, use long-tail keywords, and focus on local results. If you are already doing that, keep doing what you are doing. It’s all good. If not, you might want to look into hiring someone who knows a little more than the average “web guru”.