What to do?
So, how can you adapt your content to optimise for BERT? As mentioned before, if you’ve already been following best practices, there shouldn’t be much for your SEO agency or marketing teams to change.
Instead, it’s more a case of focusing efforts on being specific and relevant. All of Google’s updates have the same common theme: making content more useful to the reader. Therefore, the best advice as always is to focus on optimising content for the end user, rather than thinking about how to tick boxes for Google.
Specifically, the following are great ways to make the most of the new updates:
Focus more on informational queries, less on the navigational and transactional queries
As per the marketing funnel, there are three types of query people use – usually one after the other. Informational queries come first. These are usually broader questions such as “how to get more sleep”. These broad queries will bring up a list of potential options.
Typically, a user then will home in on a particular answer and make another search for this. Let’s say “herbal sleep remedies” came up as a result for “how to get more sleep”. The user would then search for this, which is known as a navigational query.
Finally, the transactional query is the step towards a conversion. The user has decided exactly what he/she needs and is searching to transact, e.g. “buy lavender online”.
BERT encourages SEO agencies and search marketers to focus on the informational query more than ever before. This is because Google want their users to be completely informed before they make a decision. If they can streamline this process and get an answer in a single query, even better.
BERT is designed to allow Google to better understand a user’s intentions from that first informational search, presenting them with the most relevant article to solve their problem.
Create more content related to specific questions
BERT encourages us to think about the specific questions our target audience might be asking, and focus on how to answer that specific question.
Therefore, the best piece of advice would be to make sure you think this way when you create your content. Take the time to focus on what the reader actually wants to know, rather than simply casting the net wide in hopes of more traffic. More specific results may result in lower traffic, but it will be higher-quality traffic. It will reduce your bounce rates and, crucially, increase your chances of conversions.