I write for humans. I always say this to anyone who asks, some that don’t and basically anyone who will listen. This is why I’m thrilled to hear about BERT.

BERT is not my marketing persona. It’s not a fictional human I write for. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. So now you know, or maybe not.

What it means is some techy software stuff and some techy hardware stuff going on behind the scenes at Google on NLP and NLU. NLP is natural language processing (NOT neurolinguistic programming i.e. mind trickery!) and NLU is natural language understanding. With me? OK, the important bit that you need to know, and that got me excited, is that in practice it’s about making search better.

The natural language element in NLP and NLU is about Google understanding that words that come before and after other words provide context. That understanding of context and natural language delivers better search results, i.e. more accurate. It means you get to the pages you want quicker, not in terms of the speed of search but in the accuracy of search. It means quality content is rewarded. It means less guff to wade through to get to what you want. It means good writing will get to the top.

Yee ha to anything that improves the quality of search and reduces the amount of nonsense and gubbins that gets traction on t’internet.

At the moment BERT is only operational in America and only in English, but it will be rolled out to other locations and other languages so you have time to prepare.

Say NO to keyword stuffing.

Say YES to natural language and subtle nuance.

Write for humans and you will be rewarded.


If you want to know some of the science/techy stuff behind BERT try these links.

AI and SEO in the Post-BERT World: What Marketers Need to Know

Understanding searches better than ever before

Open Sourcing BERT: State-of-the-Art Pre-training for Natural Language Processing