Google BERT Update – SEO is Dead Long Live SEO

Ok, so this is very familiar. We keep saying this whenever Google releases a new major update to how it indexes and ranks pages. It is not about one single update it is about the trend over time. Instead of rushing around like a headless chicken, look at the finish line. Look at what Google’s overall objective is.

So, BERT gives Google a better understanding of what users mean when they make a search. This allows them to match content better. Ultimately, it makes google much better from a users standpoint.

Essentially, AI is the biggest development to impact SEO probably ever. Why? because it can derive implicit intent from searches and match that intent with the implicit meaning of content.

In summary, it allows Google to “empathise” with humans. It allows Google to “get it.” Therefore, users get the best results and can find what they want faster.

 

What Does Google BERT mean for your Betting Site?

Quite a lot actually, I know this is surprising given that most betting sites are just a collection of markets taken from a feed with a paragraph at the bottom of the page for SEO.

To boil it down, your on-page content must be clear and concise for Google who is now using BERT to understand. Many SEOs believe that sites with detailed well-written guides will benefit. However, this needs to be counterbalanced by the “get my bet on now” UX layout that sends positive RankBrain user KPIs to Google.

 

Here is what Google says.

 

Which Betting Site Will Benefit The Most from BERT?

Sites that take technical SEO seriously including UX and structured data for snippets and also run a comprehensive content strategy.

Crystal Ball Google BERT

If my last week’s football bets are anything to go by, you shouldn’t listen to me predicting the future but here is how I see it.

So as I mentioned at the start it isn’t about BERT in isolation it is the trend where Google is going. It is going towards a “Human First” future. By this, I mean that each search and SERP will be evaluated concerning how effective it is at satisfying human intent.

What hasn’t been talked about yet is how Google BERT will form personas. With that, I mean a searches mostly made by structural engineers will require a different style of content than searches mostly made by ice cream enthusiasts. So, with that in mind, a search made mostly by NFL bettors will require a different approach to searches made by Golf bettors etc.

As a result, in my opinion, the following is likely to happen (caution: remember my disastrous weekend of betting?).

  1. Your SEO conversion rates will improve but your traffic may drop off. Monitor this.
  2. Snippets and parts of your page text will be used to answer questions – Yes this is common already but BERT will hypercharge this.
  3. Sportsbooks who refactor their technical SEO and UX will have an advantage.
  4. SEO is about solving peoples problems so sites that answer implied questions will benefit.
  5. SEO and brand marketing: What once was straightforward link building is now about digital PR and digital awareness across multiple channels. Sites that focus on delivering core answers and solutions and who also understand the “unseen” SEO hand of brand development will start to pull away even more.

At the moment, these are just my initial thoughts. We will be testing lots of stuff and we will have a much better idea on the actual impact of BERT in a few months.

So what should you do?

Optimise for Humans – BERT is an element of that, but RankBrain also looks at things from a user standpoint. So, you need proper well-written content that fits the context of searches and you also need to make sure users get what they want from your site (UX KPIs are strong). Wow, haven’t we heard this stuff for years!

Here is the Action List:

  • Review your technical on-page SEO – Make sure you are using the right structured data.
  • Start creating high-quality betting content for each sport. Include these on your top-level event pages.
  • Create educational betting guides. Proper detailed stuff that people can use.
  • Weekly betting previews as well.
  • Add live odds to your posts and guides.

If you have any questions just drop us a line.