Comprehending the world of Google searches can be a critical component of a marketer's success. Google's recent implementation of BERT, one of the most significant algorithm updates in the last five years, has led substantial changes to user query results. Understanding what BERT is, and how it can affect marketing strategies, will be vital to a company's long-term success with search.

BERT Strategies:

As with all Google algorithm updates, the purpose of BERT is not to hurt individual sites or to benefit others. Instead, BERT was created to more accurately and efficiently align user search queries with the desired search results. However, in the world of advertising and marketing, BERT search advertising can come with significant implications. Advertisements will now have to be even more specific to convince Google that their material is relevant and should appear with the more curated organic results. To better optimize on BERT search advertising and let it help your paid search results, try incorporating the following suggestions:

Keyword Bidding

No matter what business you are in, or what your specific objective is, making sure you choose the right keywords is critical to search advertising success. As Google is now looking into the overall intent behind long conversation searches, marketers must start moving away from crafting keyword-driven material and shift toward providing more comprehensive content. Instead of focusing on specific keywords, BERT will now help Google focus on the context of the whole search query and process specific keywords with the prepositions and words around them. To get ahead of your competition, it is essential to create explicit, natural content that targets all the long-tail keywords. This will help you maintain your rankings while surpassing your competitors. 

  • Example: To have better success, marketers will need to structure content in a way that can resolve a user's problem or help address a user's search query - not just match the specific words they include in their search. That is why having a consistent and meaningful presence on non-branded keywords will be extremely important. 

Ad Structure and Grouping

Before BERT, it was important that a campaign contain a specific ad structure and grouping that would be limited to a particular number of keywords relevant to the landing page and the particular advertisements, and the ads were all related to one another. However, with the introduction of BERT, it is essential to remember that the structure of the whole sentence will be important, not just individual keywords. Recent results have shown that long-tail, non-branded queries that are longer than five words yield the best search results. Therefore, the best course of action for your campaign structure is to create new ad groups for these newly identified terms. 

Related Post: Understanding Google's Newest Update: Meet BERT

How Ads are Served:

Google's primary purpose is to make sure its content is highly relevant, even with the type of paid ads it serves up. That's why the more relevant the ad, the more likely Google will like it and place it higher. If you have a weak advertisement, you will still be able to buy a top spot for your ad. However, it will end up costing you a lot of money. Before BERT, when creating your ad, you would first choose a set of keywords that would trigger your advertisement to show up when people were searching online and would use these keywords in their search. Now, with the implementation of BERT, it will be essential for marketing teams to create material that is useful and relevant to the specific user, tailoring their material beyond ad text customization. Specifically, marketers will need to increase the depth and detail of their content, which will work with search queries that use more than three words. A great way to master this structure is to focus on the overall consumer's intent by looking at conversational search keywords and themes. This technique will help marketers connect with the right content and build their advertisement material from there. 

  • Examples: 
    • BEFORE BERT: Searches for "best vegetarian vitamins" and "best vegan vitamins" would serve the same advertisement. 
    • AFTER BERT: BERT would analyze all the words in the sentence and decide that the two search queries are not related, and your advertisement would only show up in one of the searches. 
    • BEFORE BERT: Searches for "do estheticians stand a lot at work?"  would usually have Google yielding results indicating the different type of esthetician jobs because Google's system would think that "stand" was the same as "stand-alone."
    • AFTER BERT: Searches for "do estheticians stand a lot at work?" recognize that "stand" has a context of physical activity and would produce results indicating what the physical demands of standing as an esthetician are. 


Right now, the BERT update will affect 10% of all US English searches. However, as BERT improves over time, Google will bring it to more languages and locales. That's why it is ideal for marketing teams to begin changing the way they craft their content now, as it will have significant benefits for the company down the road. For professionals that are looking for a better understanding of BERT, or want to see how this change will affect their specific marketing content, contact Ironmark today. Our experts have extensive knowledge in all things marketing, and will gladly help guide you through this new algorithm update. 

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Written by Juliet Hulse

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