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Say Hi to BERT, a New Google Surprise


BERT. It's Google's Latest Surprise

In case you haven't heard, Google recently introduced us to BERT, the largest change to search since Google unveiled RankBrain almost five years go.

And BERT is going to shake up search results. Google expects it to impact 1 in 10 search queries. 

But before we go into BERT, we should note the bigger trend that's going on here: Google is always tweaking search and changing what SEO is. 

Google made 3,200 changes to search in the past year. 

With each tweak, Google looks at your website just a little differently. In fact, these days Google doesn't just look at your site. It also looks at how your visitors look at your site. (You can thank Google's Artifical Intelligence, RankBrain, for that.)  

What does all this change mean for attorneys looking to market themselves on the internet? You need modernized SEO, in particular, stronger, more compelling content.

But let's get back to BERT, and then go into how AI affects search results, which is a huge deal for marketing legal services. Then you'll have the info you need to decide if you are keeping pace with the latest Google changes ... or at risk of slip-sliding in the rankings.

Who ... or What... is BERT?

BERT is Google's neural network-based method for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training. In a nutshell, BERT helps computers understand language more like humans do. 

For example, it's better at understanding prepositions, like "to." Prepositions may be small words, but they have a big impact on understanding search queries. (Google explains it here.)

So far BERT's impact "looks" smaller than past algorithm updates. But the fallout may be somewhat hidden. Speculation among SEO sleuths is that the impact is less obvious because BERT affects longer, more conversational search queries and most tools that track Google changes are geared for short, keyword searches. 

What Should You Do?

The good news is that BERT hasn't changed Google's raison d'être: Serve up the best answers to users' questions. As Danny Sullivan, Google's search liaison, tweeted: "The fundamentals of us seeking to reward great content remain unchanged."

BERT is just there to help better understand people's search intent so Google can be a better matchmaker between queries and the best, most relevant results. 

If you've been following along and creating great content that people like and your content is hands-down better than your competitors, you are good to go.

If you've been letting content slide ... maybe we should talk.

You see, with RankBrain looking over people's shoulders, content is now even a bigger "thing." The interesting twist is that Google's RankBrain is not so much interested in what's on your site, but how people react to your content. And then ranking you based on metrics that show much people "like" what you have to say.

Clearly, the task at hand is to create great content that people like ... that they linger over.

How Can You Tell What People Like?

We get it, understanding what people want is, well, difficult. How do you know if a book will be a best seller? Or that a movie will be a Top 10? 

Luckily, when it comes to online content, we've got an advantage: Artificial Intelligence in the form of the Einstein eIQ Engine.  

We use it to track users' online digital body language (Where they go ... What they click ... How long they stay) to measure interest and engagement. 

That data is digital gold. It allows us to analyze past behavior and predict what will engage readers when we create our signature Premium SEO Content for clients.

 

The AI Advantage: Insight

Why the Emphasis on 'Engagement'?

Clearly, you want readers to be engaged with your content. The more engaged they are, the longer they linger on your site ... and the more likely they are to contact your practice for an appointment. 

But there's another reason to double down on engagement. Engagement is important for wooing Google. You see, Google's RankBrain tracks if people "like" your site by measuring visitor engagement with your site.

How does it do that? By tracking how long people stay on your site, where they go on the site, and what they click. RankBrian then ranks your site accordingly. As we noted above, Google no longer judges just what's on your website ... but also how people react to your website. 

With RankBrain watching every move, the days of trusting your gut to create website content are long gone. The eIQ Engine uses cold, hard facts to understand what people want.  

The eIQ Engine

The complexity of the internet and the ramifications on marketplace behavior make access to AI a compelling advantage in understanding today's consumer and growing your practice.

A core issue is that people's ability to turn to search on a moment's notice has changed how they look for goods and services. New search data reveals that people shop in unique ways ... basically, everyone's different and follows a different path. That, of course, highlights the complexity involved in creating website content that appeals to these varied personalities.

You could waste time and money trying to guess what content will ring people's bells. But intuition is a fickle and undependable guide. We prefer making decisions based on data.

Einstein employs the eIQ Engine to churn through huge dumps of real-time data to understand what people like and the type of content that keeps them engaged. We then use that insight to craft Premium SEO Content that engages readers, improves your site's visibility, and builds your client base.    

But we don't stop there. The eIQ Engine also calibrates what specific competitors in your market are doing so that we can quantify just how much content you need to overtake them. No more wasted marketing spend.

Questions About AI?

If you have questions about BERT or how to use data and AI for "smarter" marketing, give us a call. 

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