How BERT, The Helpful Content Update, and EEAT Impact SEO

A Google search - Google's recent algorithm updates are an SEO gamechanger
Home | Guides | How BERT, The Helpful Content Update, and EEAT Impact SEO
Last updated: February 2024

Using Google Algorithm Updates to Your SEO Advantage

As the way we search changes over time, so do search engine algorithms. Google in particular is notorious for regularly updating its algorithm to stay ahead of the game and adapt to new search trends. In order to achieve SEO success, understanding the algorithms and the impact they may have on your website is critical.

In this article, we explore some of the biggest algorithm updates in recent years, 2019’s BERT and 2022’s Helpful Content updates, as well as the update to the long-established EAT guidelines to EEAT, and explain what changes you should be making to utilise them to your advantage.

Google’s BERT Update

BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (phew, BERT is easier), and is a is a natural language processing technique that Google introduced in October 2019. This update was a game-changer in the world of SEO because it focused on understanding the context of words in a search query. Before BERT, Google’s algorithm struggled to grasp the nuances of language and often returned results that were less relevant to the user’s query.

Now, Google is more adept than ever at understanding the intent of a search. With BERT, Google’s algorithm gained a better understanding of context by analysing the entire phrase or sentence rather than just individual keywords. This has led to better quality search results, improving the user experience.

To put this into practice, a searcher looking to travel from Glasgow to Perth might search “Glasgow to Perth”. Before BERT, Google may run into several complications here. The first being that there are two cities called Perth – one in sunny Australia, and the other in not-so-sunny Scotland. This confusion may lead to a mixed bag of results. With BERT, however, Google now applies contextual clues to understand what the traveller is actually searching for and delivers better results accordingly.

BERT’s Impact on SEO

Google has long been attempting to shift the focus from keyword stuffing to creating content that is genuinely relevant to the user’s query. BERT’s new understanding of search helped them to do this by applying context to searchers. As a result, the relevance of long-tail keywords has become even more important in SEO.

Additionally, BERT’s ability to understand context means that websites that use natural language and context-rich content tend to perform better in search results. BERT rewards high-quality, informative content. Websites with well-researched, comprehensive articles are more likely to rank higher in search results.

The Helpful Content Updates

2022 brought with it two updates known as the “Helpful Content Updates”, with a third update arriving to further fine-tune the algorithm in September 2023. Like BERT, these updates were designed to further improve the quality and relevancy of results shown on the SERP pages. Ultimately, Google’s goal is to reward helpful, relevant content with visibility, and the Helpful Content Updates created a system that allowed them to do so by gauging which pages were most successful at engaging visitors.

It may seem obvious, but a good content strategy is key in order to make the most of the Helpful Content updates. This includes regularly updating your website’s content to ensure it is relevant, accurate, and provides useful information to your target audiences.

For many, this means taking the time to create more long-form content, or getting smarter about the hierarchy of their content and how it is structured in order to rank well and establish your website as an authority.

It isn’t all about guides and articles, however. Sites that incorporate high-quality multimedia elements like videos, images, and infographics to make content more engaging and informative also saw a boost to their SEO rankings with Helpful Content.

From EAT to EEAT

The EAT guidelines that inform how to evaluate if content is relevant and helpful to searchers have long been established, but in 2022, they received an update, adding an extra “E” to the equation to create the EEAT guidelines we have today.

Before we dive into what this means for SEO, it’s important to understand what EEAT stands for – experience, expertise, authority, and trust.

Experience: The new “E” stands for experience. Google defines this as “actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person experienced”. In order to demonstrate experience, you need to have first-hand accounts and demonstrable life experience with the topic, and be ready to show that off in your content.

Expertise: The other “E” stands for expertise. In other words, that you know what you are talking about and can back that up with researched, accurate information. In order to demonstrate expertise, make sure your information is up to date and true, and ensure you are taking information from trustworthy sources.

Authority: Authority is defined by how well-known you are in your particular niche. There is no quick way to establish authority, rather, it is something grown over time by consistently adhering to Google’s guidelines and consistently creating valuable and reliable content.

Trust: Truth and transparency win big with Google. Make sure the information you offer is true and honest, and you are being open with who you are, where you come from, and what you have to offer.

The EEAT update adjusts how we look at creating content, providing helpful tips on what Google is actually looking for when it displays results on the SERPs. By being consistent with the content you are putting out, you can help improve how you are viewed through the lens of Google over time – remember that the more content you create that adheres to EEAT guidelines, the more likely it is the rest of your content will rank.

Leveraging Algorithm Updates

Google’s BERT update, coupled with a focus on helpful content and google, has transformed the SEO landscape. To succeed in this new era, it is essential to create content that is not only optimised for search engines but also genuinely valuable and relevant to users. By following these principles and adapting to Google’s evolving algorithms, you can ensure your website ranks well and continues to thrive in the digital realm. For more help and support with improving your SEO rankings, feel free to get in touch with our team.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, or would like to discuss a specific issue with your site, please get in touch using the form below.

And connect with us on social media to stay upto date with our latest news:

Magnus Linklater SEO Consultant

Author: Shanna Doherty

As a digital marketer, Shanna has a wealth of SEO and online marketing experience. A passionate content writer, she prides herself on keeping up to date with the latest news and updates in the marketing world.

Looking for something different?

Follow us on social media

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This