fbpx

Google gives a detailed explanation of what causes algorithm to rewrite meta descriptions.

In a Webmaster Central hangout, a publisher asked Google’s John Mueller why their meta description was being rewritten. Mueller’s answer offered a peek into how Google’s algorithm chooses when to rewrite meta descriptions.

The question was specifically about a meta description on the home page being rewritten on the Google search results pages (SERPs) for branded search queries. The publisher used the example of using the modifier “UK” with the brand name.

There are no specifics mentioned in the question so there is no way to address the publisher’s issue directly.

But because Mueller’s answer is general, it provided an answer that gave some insight into why Google rewrites meta descriptions.

Here’s the question

“We have an issue with the meta description that is being displayed for hour home page.

So, even though we have a meta description that is being implemented on that particular page, somehow in Google when our website appears, the meta description is completely different.

And in some cases, if we search for our company name plus the word “UK,” the meta description makes no sense whatsoever. It’s just a bunch of words put together from various parts of the page.

I know sometimes Google goes hunting for various things on the page if it cannot find relevant content for that particular region.

So I guess my question is, because we have a lot of traffic that is coming up from branded searches… it is important for us to have the correct meta description showing up.”

What do we do to rectify the situation?”

 

John Mueller Explains What Causes Meta Description Rewrites

Before answering why Google rewrites meta descriptions, John Mueller stated he hasn’t seen the publishers specific search result and could not answer why it was specifically happening for a query he hasn’t seen.

“It’s hard to say without looking at the search results. So that’s kind of the one part.”

Then he offered explanations of what causes Google to rewrite meta descriptions.

First he states that you have to have a meta keyword:

“Usually what happens is we need to have the description meta tag on the page. That’s kind of the first step.

It sounds like you already have that set up.”

Reason 1: Poor Use of Meta Description

Now the explanation of what triggers Google’s algorithm to rewrite the meta description tag:

“The other thing there is that we need to be able to, I guess, trust the meta description on the page so that it looks kind of reasonable.

In particular, sometimes when we see a bunch of keywords that are just kind of collected in the meta description.

Then that’s something that our systems might look at and say well, this doesn’t look that useful for users.

So they’ll try to rewrite something else.”

Mueller is saying that one of the reasons why the meta description may be rewritten is because it’s focused more on keywords and less on what the page is about.

But more importantly, what makes that meta description a target for rewriting is that he said that it “doesn’t look that useful for users.”

Reason 2: Content and Query Matching Can Trigger Meta Description Rewrite

That “less useful” part, in the context of the above publisher, is relative to the search query. T

he publisher said that branded queries with the “UK modifier were being rewritten.

That “UK” search query modifier may be what’s causing Google to rewrite the meta description.

If the web page itself isn’t specifically sending UK related content signals then Google might choose to modify the meta description.

Adding modifiers to search queries can cause Google to rewrite the meta descriptions (and title tags too). This is especially going to happen when the keyword modifiers (like UK or Home Page) don’t exist in the written content of the page.

Suffering from fewer conversions for the same ad spend on your Google Ads?
Your ads might be getting click fraud. Check if you need to protect your ads from competitors & bots. Simple setup. Start your free checkup today.

Example of Query and Content Matching Causing Meta Description Rewrite

Compare the search query “Walmart” to the query, “Walmart Home Page” and you will see that the search query “Walmart Home Page” has a rewritten meta description.

example-google-rewriting-me-5ecd365921828.gif

Google is trying to show a relevant meta description for the term Walmart Home Page. But the words “Home Page” do not exist on the Walmart home page.

But those words do exist on the yellow star icon that has this alt tag: “Icon for spark” and if you hover over the Walmart and “spark icon” logo, the words, “Walmart Homepage” show up in an alt tag tooltip.

So what’s happening is that Google’s algorithm is trying to make the meta description relevant for the search query, “Walmart Home Page.”

The algorithm is trying to do that by rewriting the meta description. But as you can see above in the case of the search query Walmart Home Page, Google isn’t doing that so well.

John Mueller confirms what I wrote above:

“And most of the time when it tries to rewrite something, it’s based on the content on the page itself.”

What happened in the Walmart Home Page search query that caused Google to rewrite the meta description is that the words Home Page or Homepage do not exist anywhere on the Walmart home page except for in the alt tag for the home page button.

So Google grabbed some alt tag text associated with the Walmart Home button, selected the wrong alt tag, and displayed the phrase, “Icon for spark” in the rewritten meta description.

Reason 3: Search Query Influences Meta Description Rewrite

As I illustrated above, and John Mueller will say below, the meta description rewriting depends on the search query. And I would expand that to say that it depends on the search query and the content on the web page.

Here’s what Mueller said:

“And the other thing… you noticed, is the description can vary depending on the query that is used.

So the first thing that I would do is just take the normal branded query that you use and double check that the description that you provide in the meta description is actually pretty useful and not too… spammy or overdone.

And then go from there, essentially, to figure out… is this something where Google always gets it wrong?

Or is it something where sometimes Google’s algorithms pick up something else on the page and get it wrong?”

Google Meta Description Rewriting Explained

John Mueller gave a great explanation of the reason why Google rewrites search queries.

I know some people are going to react and say that Google’s rewriting is arbitrary. But it’s not arbitrary.

This article has described specific situations that cause Google’s algorithm to rewrite meta description tags.

Google’s algorithm rewrites meta descriptions based on the relationship between the search query and the web page content.

So if you have an issue with Google rewriting the meta tags, take a closer look at how the search query relates to the on-page content.

Watch Google’s Webmaster Central here:

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Roger Montti - Uploaded by the Association Member: Robert Hensonw]

Categorized in Search Engine

Google has started rolling out a new core search algorithm update that it calls the May 2020 Core Update. The new update comes months after the search giant released the last core algorithm update back in January. The goal behind updates like these are to try and improve the quality of results that users get when they enter a search query into the site. While this is good for an end user, many sites might see their performance fluctuate as a result of the core update. To avoid its results being manipulated, Google doesn't give out the details of its routine updates, merely advising content creators to focus on quality content.

A tweet posted by Google earlier today announced that the May 2020 Core Update has started rolling out for all users. The update would, however, take about one to two weeks to fully roll out.

Screenshot 1
Broader update to enhance Google search experience
The new update is a broad core algorithm update that would bring a list of changes to Google's search algorithms and systems. This is unlike the regular changes that the company releases incrementally to improve search results.
“Several times a year, we make significant, broad changes to our search algorithms and systems. We refer to these as ‘core updates.' They're designed to ensure that overall, we're delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers,” Google noted in a blog post defining the core algorithm updates.

Apart from other changes, core updates are likely to affect Google Discover. Some sites are also expected to note drops or gains during such updates.

“We know those with sites that experience drops will be looking for a fix, and we want to ensure they don't try to fix the wrong things. Moreover, there might not be anything to fix at all,” the search giant said.

Having said that, webmasters and search engine optimisation (SEO) teams are advised to stay focussed on bringing quality content through their sites. The content should provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis along with a comprehensive description of the topic. It is also recommended to have a descriptive but not exaggerating or sensationalist headline. Furthermore, there are a list of content, quality, expertise, and comparative questions that webmasters and SEO folks should ask themselves about their content.

Drops, gains from search algorithm updates are common
It is natural that since Google makes certain changes at the algorithm level, some websites face drops, while the other ones get some gains in their traffic. There isn't any hard and fast rule to fix such impacts post an update starts rolling out. Nevertheless, it's better to consider analytics to understand ranking changes of your website.

The last core algorithm update that Google brought to its search engine took place in January. The company had also introduced a new design for desktop searches around the same time that faced some backlash from users initially.

[Source: This article was published in gadgets.ndtv.com By Jagmeet Singh - Uploaded by the Association Member: Deborah Tannen]

Categorized in Search Engine

Internet marketing and advertising is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive, especially for small to mid-level businesses. Veteran SEO expert Tony Rockliff urges business owners to utilize the power of YouTube as a promising alternative to the otherwise slow, painful and expensive build of a Google SEO campaign.

CLEARWATER, Fla.Feb. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- In 2020, according to the World Advertising and Research Center, spending on internet advertising will reach more than 50% of total global ad spend, an all-time record.(1) "A subset of internet advertising—search engine optimization (SEO) is now the major battleground in marketing today. SEO expert Tony Rockliff, founder and CEO of Tony Rockliff Productions, states as SEO "gets bigger, it gets tougher." For an increasing number of companies, especially SMBs, the smart move is to consider YouTube as an additional SEO powerhouse instead of the conventional reliance on Google. By using YouTube, business owners can combat the stiff competition for consumer attention and variating Google search algorithms.

Text Versus Video Content

According to a research study from Common Sense Media, more than twice as many young people watch videos every day as did four years ago, while the average time spent watching videos—primarily on YouTube—has roughly doubled, to an hour a day.(3) Video's popularity has exploded, while text takes a back seat. It is increasingly obvious in the industry that text-based content is saturated, and that if a company isn't willing to give it at least one year and invest considerable amounts, they shouldn't spend much time on traditional Google based SEO. (2)

The combination of the video-centricity of today's consumers coupled with the increasing expense and difficulty of attracting attention via text-based Google listings, Rockliff suggests, is what identifies YouTube an increasingly robust platform for video-savvy marketers.

How Businesses Can Adapt to YouTube

To capitalize on this opportunity, Rockliff urges marketers to research YouTube to qualify exactly what video content is needed, and which of this content will get the most responses from its viewers, or potential clients. He organizes the four major stages of YouTube optimization:

  • 1. Find out what is being searched for on YouTube in your area or niche that you can compete for.
  • 2. Create video content that answers what is being searched for, and also provides what YouTube is searching for, i.e. views per video, average time spent watching, engagement per video, and number of subscribers gained per video.
  • 3. Publish your videos properly and in an optimized manner.
  • 4. Promote your videos according to how and when YouTube wants to see them promoted.

Rockliff has been in search engine optimization since 1998 and online marketing since 1995. His online community membership site has grown to 1.3 million members and was receiving 1.5 billion hits per year before he sold it in 2002. Over the years, Rockliff has seen profound changes in both opportunity and approach of YouTube as a marketing strategy, and right now, YouTube represents a great prospect to get noticed and build a brand loyal following. This is especially useful for organizations that do not have an extensive marketing budget. "The key is to understand what you're selling and optimize all four major stages," Rockliff states.

Tony Rockliff will be speaking at the Podfest 2020 Multimedia Expo, March 6th-8th, at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida. For more information, please see http://podfestexpo.com/speakers/

About Tony Rockliff Productions:

Tony Rockliff Productions was founded in 1995 by digital pioneer and trailblazer, Tony Rockliff. His video marketing company is based out of Clearwater, Florida, and brings over fifty years of audio/video marketing experience to the business. Remaining to be a top disruptor of the video marketing and media industry throughout his career, his world-renowned success is a product of his passion for storytelling through the art of video. Tony Rockliff Productions specializes in video and audio creation, producing music and videos, YouTube optimization, and building out-of-the-ordinary websites. Currently, Tony Rockliff Productions focuses on organic YouTube video marketing, a profitable niche of the industry that is host to 1.9 billion logged-in users per month. You can visit him here https://tonyrockliff.com/

  • 1. Handley, Lucy, "Global ad spend has slowed but 2020 looks set to be a bumper year," CNBC, October 24, 2019, cnbc.com/2019/10/24/global-ad-spend-has-slowed-but-2020-looks-set-to-be-a-bumper-year.html.
  • 2. Patel, Neil, "Everything I Taught You About SEO Was Wrong," neilpatel.com/blog.
  • 3. Siegel, Rachel, "Tweens, teens, and screens: The average time kids spend watching online videos has doubled in 4 years," Washington Post, October 29, 2019, washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/10/29/survey-average-time-young-people-spend-watching-videos-mostly-youtube-has-doubled-since/.

[Source: This article was published in finance.yahoo.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jasper Solander]

Categorized in Search Engine

Now that the Google January 2020 core update is mostly rolled out, we have asked several data providers to send us what they found with this Google search update. All of the data providers agree that this core update was a big one and impacted a large number of web sites.

The facts. What we know from Google, as we previously reported, is that the January 2020 core update started to roll out around 12:00 PM ET on Monday, January 13th. That rollout was “mostly done” by Thursday morning, on January 16th. We also know that this was a global update, and was not specific to any region, language or category of web sites. It is a classic “broad core update.”

What the tools are seeing. We have gone to third-party data companies asking them what their data shows about this update.

RankRanger. Mordy Oberstein from RankRanger said, “the YMYL (your money, your life) niches got hit very hard.” “This a huge update,” he added. “There is massive movement at the top of the SERP for the Health and Finance niches and incredible increases for all niches when looking at the top 10 results overall.”

Here is a chart showing the rank volatility broken down by industry and the position of those rankings:

 all-niche-data-jan2020-core-update-800x550.png

“Excluding the Retail niche, which according to what I am seeing was perhaps a focus of the December 6th update, the January 2020 core update was a far larger update across the board and at every ranking position,” Mordy Oberstein added. “However, when looking at the top 10 results overall during the core update, the Retail niche started to separate itself from the levels of volatility seen in December as well.”

SEMRush. Yulia Ibragimova from SEMRush said “We can see that the latest Google Update was quite big and was noticed almost in every category.” The most volatile categories according to SEMRush, outside of Sports and News, were Online communities, Games, Arts & Entertainments, and Finance. But Yulia Ibragimova added that all categories saw major changes and “we can assume that this update wasn’t aimed to any particular topics,” she told us.

SEMRush offers a lot of data available on its web site over here. But they sent us this additional data around this update for us.

Here is the volatility by category by mobile vs desktop search results:

semrush-catts-642x600.png

The top ten winners according to SEMRush were Dictionary.com, Hadith of the Day, Discogs, ABSFairings, X-Rates, TechCrunch, ShutterStock, 247Patience, GettyImages and LiveScores.com. The top ten losers were mp3-youtube.download, TotalJerkFace.com, GenVideos.io, Tuffy, TripSavvy, Honolulu.gov, NaughtyFind, Local.com, RuthChris and Local-First.org.

Sistrix. Johannes Beus from Sistrix posted their analysis of this core update. He said “Domains that relate to YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) topics have been re-evaluated by the search algorithm and gain or lose visibility as a whole. Domains that have previously been affected by such updates are more likely to be affected again. The absolute fluctuations appear to be decreasing with each update – Google is now becoming more certain of its assessment and does not deviate as much from the previous assessment.”

Here is the Sistrix chart showing the change:

 uk.sistrix.com_onhealth.com_seo_visibility-1-800x361.png

According to Sistrix, the big winners were goal.com, onhealth.com, CarGurus, verywellhealth.com, Fandango, Times Of Israel, Royal.uk, and WestField. The big losers were CarMagazine.co.uk, Box Office Mojo, SkySports, ArnoldClark.com, CarBuyer.co.uk, History Extra, Evan Shalshaw, and NHS Inform.

SearchMetrics. Marcus Tober, the founder of SearchMetrics, told us “the January Core Update seems to revert some changes for the better or worse depending on who you are. It’s another core update where thin content got penalized and where Google put an emphasis in YMYL. The update doesn’t seem to affect as many pages as with the March or September update in 2019. But has similar characteristics.”

Here are some specific examples SearchMetrics shared. First was that Onhealth.com has won at March 2019 Core update and lost at September 2019 and won again big time at January 2020 Core update

 onhealth-800x320.png

While Verywellhealth.com was loser during multiple core updates:

 verywell-800x316.png

Draxe.com, which has been up and down during core updates, with this update seems to be a big winner with +83%. but in previous core updates, it got hit hard:

 draxe-800x318.png

The big winners according to SearchMetrics were esty.com, cargurus.com, verywellhealth.com, overstock.com, addictinggames.com, onhealth.com, bigfishgames,com and health.com. The big losers were tmz.com, academy.com, kbhgames.com, orbitz.com, silvergames.com, autolist.com, etonline.com, trovit.com and pampers.com.

What to do if you are hit. Google has given advice on what to consider if you are negatively impacted by a core update in the past. There aren’t specific actions to take to recover, and in fact, a negative rankings impact may not signal anything is wrong with your pages. However, Google has offered a list of questions to consider if you’re site is hit by a core update.

Why we care. It is often hard to isolate what you need to do to reverse any algorithmic hit your site may have seen. When it comes to Google core updates, it is even harder to do so. If this data and previous experience and advice has shown us is that these core updates are broad, wide and cover a lot of overall quality issues. The data above has reinforced this to be true. So if your site was hit by a core update, it is often recommended to step back from it all, take a wider view of your overall web site and see what you can do to improve the site overall.

[Source: This article was published in searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Uploaded by the Association Member: Edna Thomas]

Categorized in Search Engine

Michael struggles to find the search results he’s looking for, and would like some tips for better Googling

 Want to search like a pro? These tips will help you up you Googling game using the advanced tools to narrow down your results. Photograph: Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images
Last week’s column mentioned search skills. I’m sometimes on the third page of results before I get to what I was really looking for. I’m sure a few simple tips would find these results on page 1. All advice welcome. Michael

Google achieved its amazing popularity by de-skilling search. Suddenly, people who were not very good at searching – which is almost everyone – could get good results without entering long, complex searches. Partly this was because Google knew which pages were most important, based on its PageRank algorithm, and it knew which pages were most effective, because users quickly bounced back from websites that didn’t deliver what they wanted.

Later, Google added personalisation based on factors such as your location, your previous searches, your visits to other websites, and other things it knew about you. This created a backlash from people with privacy concerns, because your searches into physical and mental health issues, legal and social problems, relationships and so on can reveal more about you than you want anyone else – or even a machine – to know.

When talking about avoiding “the creepy line”, former Google boss Eric Schmidt said: “We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”

Google hasn’t got to that point, yet, but it does want to save you from typing. Today, Google does this through a combination of auto-complete search suggestions, Answer Boxes, and “People also ask” boxes, which show related questions along with their “feature snippets”. As a result, Google is much less likely to achieve its stated aim of sending you to another website. According to Jumpshot research, about half of browser-based searches no longer result in a click, and about 6% go to Google-owned properties such as YouTube and Maps.

You could get upset about Google scraping websites such as Wikipedia for information and then keeping their traffic, but this is the way the world is going. Typing queries into a browser is becoming redundant as more people use voice recognition on smartphones or ask the virtual assistant on their smart speakers. Voice queries need direct answers, not pages of links.

So, I can give you some search tips, but they may not be as useful as they were when I wrote about them in January 2004 – or perhaps not for as long.

Advanced Search for everyone
Advanced Search for everyone.jpg
 Google’s advanced search page is the tool to properly drill down into the results. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The easiest way to create advanced search queries in Google is to use the form on the Advanced Search page, though I suspect very few people do. You can type different words, phrases or numbers that you want to include or exclude into the various boxes. When you run the search, it converts your input into a single string using search shortcuts such as quotation marks (to find an exact word or phrase) and minus signs (to exclude words).

You can also use the form to narrow your search to a particular language, region, website or domain, or to a type of file, how recently it was published and so on. Of course, nobody wants to fill in forms. However, using the forms will teach you most of the commands mentioned below, and it’s a fallback if you forget any.

Happily, many commands work on other search engines too, so skills are transferable.

Use quotation marks
4759.jpg
 Quotation marks can be a powerful tool to specify exact search terms. Photograph: IKEA

If you are looking for something specific, quotation marks are invaluable. Putting quotation marks around single words tells the search engine that you definitely want them to appear on every page it finds, rather than using close matches or synonyms. Google will, of course, ignore this, but at least the results page will tell you which word it has ignored. You can click on that word to insist, but you will get fewer or perhaps no results.

Putting a whole phrase in inverted commas has the same effect, and is useful for finding quotations, people’s names, book and film titles, or particular phrases.

You can also use an asterisk as a wildcard to find matching phrases. For example, The Simpsons episode, Deep Space Homer, popularised the phrase: “I for one welcome our new insect overlords”. Searching for “I for one welcome our new * overlords” finds other overlords such as aliens, cephalopods, computers, robots and squirrels.

Nowadays, Google’s RankBrain is pretty good at recognising titles and common phrases without quote marks, even if they include “stop words” such as a, at, that, the and this. You don’t need quotation marks to search for the Force, The Who or The Smiths.

However, it also uses synonyms rather than strictly following your keywords. It can be quicker to use minus signs to exclude words you don’t want than add terms that are already implied. One example is jaguar -car.

Use site commands

2618.jpg
 Using the ‘site:’ command can be a powerful tool for quickly searching a particular website. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Google also has a site: command that lets you limit your search to a particular website or, with a minus sign (-site:), exclude it. This command uses the site’s uniform resource locator or URL.

For example, if you wanted to find something on the Guardian’s website, you would type site:theguardian.com (no space after the colon) alongside your search words.

You may not need to search the whole site. For example, site:theguardian.com/technology/askjack will search the Ask Jack posts that are online, though it doesn’t search all the ancient texts (continued on p94).

There are several similar commands. For example, inurl: will search for or exclude words that appear in URLs. This is handy because many sites now pack their URLs with keywords as part of their SEO (search-engine optimisation). You can also search for intitle: to find words in titles.

Web pages can include incidental references to all sorts of things, including plugs for unrelated stories. All of these will duly turn up in text searches. But if your search word is part of the URL or the title, it should be one of the page’s main topics.

You can also use site: and inurl: commands to limit searches to include, or exclude, whole groups of websites. For example, either site:co.uk or inurl:co.uk will search matching UK websites, though many UK sites now have .com addresses. Similarly, site:ac.uk and inurl:ac.uk will find pages from British educational institutions, while inurl:edu and site:edu will find American ones. Using inurl:ac.uk OR inurl:edu (the Boolean command must be in caps) will find pages from both. Using site:gov.uk will find British government websites, and inurl:https will search secure websites. There are lots of options for inventive searchers.

Google Search can also find different types of file, using either filetype: or ext: (for file extension). These include office documents (docx, pptx, xlxs, rtf, odt, odp, odx etc) and pdf files. Results depend heavily on the topic. For example, a search for picasso filetype:pdf is more productive than one for stormzy.

Make it a date

1700.jpg
 Narrowing your search by date can find older pieces. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

We often want up-to-date results, particularly in technology where things that used to be true are not true any more. After you have run a search, you can use Google’s time settings to filter the results, or use new search terms. To do this, click Tools, click the down arrow next to “Any time”, and use the dropdown menu to pick a time period between “Past hour” and “Past year”.

Last week, I was complaining that Google’s “freshness algorithm” could serve up lots of blog-spam, burying far more useful hits. Depending on the topic, you can use a custom time range to get less fresh but perhaps more useful results.

Custom time settings are even more useful for finding contemporary coverage of events, which might be a company’s public launch, a sporting event, or something else. Human memories are good at rewriting history, but contemporaneous reports can provide a more accurate picture.

However, custom date ranges have disappeared from mobile, the daterange: command no longer seems to work in search boxes, and “sort by date” has gone except in news searches. Instead, this year, Google introduced before: and after: commands to do the same job. For example, you could search for “Apple iPod” before:2002-05-31 after:2001-10-15 for a bit of nostalgia. The date formats are very forgiving, so one day we may all prefer it.

 [Source: This article was published in theguardian.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Carol R. Venuti] 

Categorized in Search Engine

The new language model can think in both directions, fingers crossed

Google has updated its search algorithms to tap into an AI language model that is better at understanding netizens' queries than previous systems.

Pandu Nayak, a Google fellow and vice president of search, announced this month that the Chocolate Factory has rolled out BERT, short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, for its most fundamental product: Google Search.

To pull all of this off, researchers at Google AI built a neural network known as a transformer. The architecture is suited to deal with sequences in data, making them ideal for dealing with language. To understand a sentence, you must look at all the words in it in a specific order. Unlike previous transformer models that only consider words in one direction – left to right – BERT is able to look back to consider the overall context of a sentence.

“BERT models can, therefore, consider the full context of a word by looking at the words that come before and after it—particularly useful for understanding the intent behind search queries,” Nayak said.

For example, below's what the previous Google Search and new BERT-powered search looks like when you query: “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa.”

2019 brazil

Left: The result returned for the old Google Search that incorrectly understands the query as a US traveler heading to Brazil. Right: The result returned for the new Google Search using BERT, which correctly identifies the search is for a Brazilian traveler going to the US. Image credit: Google.

BERT has a better grasp of the significance behind the word "to" in the new search. The old model returns results that show information for US citizens traveling to Brazil, instead of the other way around. It looks like BERT is a bit patchy, however, as a Google Search today still appears to give results as if it's American travelers looking to go to Brazil:

current google search

Current search result for the query: 2019 brazil traveler to USA need a visa. It still thinks the sentence means a US traveler going to Brazil

The Register asked Google about this, and a spokesperson told us... the screenshots were just a demo. Your mileage may vary.

"In terms of not seeing those exact examples, the side-by-sides we showed were from our evaluation process, and might not 100 percent mirror what you see live in Search," the PR team told us. "These were side-by-side examples from our evaluation process where we identified particular types of language understanding challenges where BERT was able to figure out the query better - they were largely illustrative.

"Search is dynamic, content on the web changes. So it's not necessarily going to have a predictable set of results for any query at any point in time. The web is constantly changing and we make a lot of updates to our algorithms throughout the year as well."

Nayak claimed BERT would improve 10 percent of all its searches. The biggest changes will be for longer queries, apparently, where sentences are peppered with prepositions like “for” or “to.”

“BERT will help Search better understand one in 10 searches in the US in English, and we’ll bring this to more languages and locales over time,” he said.

Google will run BERT on its custom Cloud TPU chips; it declined to disclose how many would be needed to power the model. The most powerful Cloud TPU option currently is the Cloud TPU v3 Pods, which contain 64 ASICs, each carrying performance of 420 teraflops and 128GB of high-bandwidth memory.

At the moment, BERT will work best for queries made in English. Google said it also works in two dozen countries for other languages, too, such as Korean, Hindi, and Portuguese for “featured snippets” of text. ®

[Source: This article was published in theregister.co.uk By Katyanna Quach - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]

Categorized in Search Engine

As always, when Google releases a new update to its search algorithm, it’s an exciting (and potentially scary) time for SEO. Google’s latest update, BERT, represents the biggest alteration to its search algorithm in the last five years.

So, what does BERT do?

Google says the BERT update means its search algorithm will have an easier time comprehending conversational nuances in a user’s query.

The best example of this is statements where prepositional words such as ‘to’ and ‘for’ inform the intent of the query.

BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, which is a language processing technique based on neural networking principles.

Google estimates the update will impact about 10% of United States-based queries and has revealed BERT can already be seen in action on featured snippets around the world.

How does Google BERT affect on-page SEO?

SEO practitioners can breathe a collective sigh of relief, because the Google BERT update is not designed to penalise websites, rather, only improve the way the search engine understands and interprets search queries.

However, because the search algorithm is better at understanding nuances in language, it means websites with higher-quality written content are going to be more discoverable.

Websites that have a lot of detailed ‘how-to’ guides and other in-depth content designed to benefit users are going to get the most from Google BERT. This means businesses who aren’t implementing a thorough content strategy are likely to fall behind the curve.

Basically, the BERT update follows Google’s long-running trend of trying to improve the ability of its search algorithm to accurately serve conversational search queries.

The ultimate result of this trend is users being able to perform detailed search queries with the Google voice assistant as if they were speaking to a real person.

Previous algorithm updates

While BERT may be the first major change to Google search in five years, it’s not the biggest shakeup in their history.

The prior Google PANDA and Google PENGUIN updates were both significant and caused a large number of websites to become penalised due to the use of SEO strategies that were considered ‘spammy’ or unfriendly to users.

PANDA

Google PANDA was developed in response to user complaints about ‘content farms’.

Basically, Google’s algorithm was rewarding quantity over quality, meaning there was a business incentive for websites to pump out lots of cheaply acquired content for the purposes of serving ads next to or even within them.

The PANDA update most noticeably affected link building or ‘article marketing’ strategies where low-quality content was published to content farms with a link to a business’ website attached to a keyword repeated throughout the article.

It meant that there was a significant push towards more ethical content marketing strategies, such as guest posting.

PENGUIN

Google PENGUIN is commonly seen as a follow up to the work started by PANDA, targeting spammy link-building practices and ‘black-hat’ SEO techniques.

This update was focused primarily on the way the algorithm evaluates the authority of links as well as the sincerity of their implementation in website content. Spammy or manipulative links now carried less weight. 

However, this meant that if another website posted a link to yours in a spammy or manipulative way, it would negatively affect your search rankings.

This meant that webmasters and SEO-focused businesses needed to make use of the disavow tool to inform Google what inbound links they approve of and which they don’t.

[Source: This article was published in smartcompany.com.au By LUCAS BIKOWSKI - Uploaded by the Association Member: Bridget Miller]

Categorized in Search Engine

Search-engine giant says one in 10 queries (and some advertisements) will see improved results from algorithm change

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—Google rarely talks about its secretive search algorithm. This week, the tech giant took a stab at transparency, unveiling changes that it says will surface more accurate and intelligent responses to hundreds of millions of queries each day.

Top Google executives, in a media briefing Thursday, said they had harnessed advanced machine learning and mathematical modeling to produce better answers for complex search entries that often confound its current algorithm. They characterized the changes—under a...

Read More...

[Source: This article was published in wsj.com By Rob Copeland - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jasper Solander] 

 
Categorized in Search Engine

Don't try to optimize for BERT, try to optimize your content for humans.

Google introduced the BERT update to its Search ranking system last week. The addition of this new algorithm, designed to better understand what’s important in natural language queries, is a significant change. Google said it impacts 1 in 10 queries. Yet, many SEOs and many of the tracking tools did not notice massive changes in the Google search results while this algorithm rolled out in Search over the last week.

The question is, Why?

The short answer. This BERT update really was around understanding “longer, more conversational queries,” Google wrote in its blog post. The tracking tools, such as Mozcast and others, primarily track shorter queries. That means BERT’s impact is less likely to be visible to these tools.

And for site owners, when you look at your rankings, you likely not tracking a lot of long-tail queries. You track queries that send higher volumes of traffic to your web site, and those tend to be short-tail queries.

Moz on BERT. Pete Meyers of Moz said the MozCast tool tracks shorter head terms and not the types of phrases that are likely to require the natural language processing (NLP) of BERT.

dr.pete

RankRanger on BERT. The folks at RankRanger, another toolset provider told me something similar. “Overall, we have not seen a real ‘impact’ — just a few days of slightly increased rank fluctuations,” the company said. Again, this is likely due to the dataset these companies track — short-tail keywords over long -tail keywords.

Overall tracking tools on BERT. If you look at the tracking tools, virtually all of them showed a smaller level of fluctuation on the days BERT was rolling out compared to what they have shown for past Google algorithm updates such as core search algorithm updates, or the Panda and Penguin updates.

Here are screenshots of the tools over the past week. Again, you would see significant spikes in changes, but these tools do not show that:

mozcast 800x348

serpmetrics 800x308

algoroo 800x269

advancedwebranking 800x186

accuranker 800x245

rankranger 800x265

semrush 800x358

SEO community on BERT. When it comes to individuals picking up on changes to their rankings in Google search, that also was not as large as a Google core update. We did notice chatter throughout the week, but that chatter within the SEO community was not as loud as is typical with other Google updates.

Why we care. We are seeing a lot of folks asking about how they can improve their sites now that BERT is out in the wild. That’s not the way to think about BERT. Google has already stated there is no real way to optimize for it. Its function is to help Google better understand searchers’ intent when they search in natural language. The upside for SEOs and content creators is they can be less concerned about “writing for the machines.” Focus on writing great content — for real people.

Danny Sullivan from Google said again, you cannot really optimize for BERT:

johan

Continue with your strategy to write the best content for your users. Don’t do anything special for BERT, but rather, be special for your users. If you are writing for people, you are already “optimizing” for Google’s BERT algorithm.

[Source: This article was published in searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Uploaded by the Association Member: Joshua Simon]

Categorized in Search Engine

Google said it is making the biggest change to its search algorithm in the past five years that, if successful, users might not be able to detect.

The search giant on Friday announced a tweak to the software underlying its vaunted search engine that is meant to better interpret queries when written in sentence form. Whereas prior versions of the search engine may have overlooked words such as “can” and “to,” the new software is able to help evaluate whether those change the intent of a search, Google has said. Put a bit more simply, it is a way of understanding search terms in relation to each other and it looks at them as an entire phrase, rather than as just a bucket of words, the company said. Google is calling the new software BERT, after a research paper published last year by Google executives describing a form of language processing known as Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.

While Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm, BERT could affect as many as 10 percent of English language searches, said Pandu Nayak, vice president of search, at a media event. Understanding queries correctly so Google returns the best result on the first try is essential to Google’s transformation from a list of links to determining the right answer without having to even click through to another site. The challenge will increase as queries increasingly move from text to voice-controlled technology.

But even big changes aren’t likely to register with the masses, he conceded.

“Most ranking changes the average person does not notice, other than the sucking feeling that their searches were better,” said Nayak.

“You don’t have the comparison of what didn’t work yesterday and what does work today,” said Ben Gomes, senior vice president of search.

BERT, said Nayak, may be able to determine that a phrase such as “math practice books for adults” likely means the user wants to find math books that adults can use, because of the importance of the word “for.” A prior version of the search engine displayed a book result targeted for “young adults,” according to a demonstration he gave.

Google is rolling out the new algorithm to U.S. users in the coming weeks, the company said. It will later offer it to other countries, though it didn’t offer specifics on timing.

The changes suggest that even after 20 years of data collection and Google’s dominance of search — with about 90 percent market share — Web searches may best be thought of as equal parts art and science. Nayak pointed to examples like searches for how to park a car on a hill with no curb or whether a Brazilian needs a visa to travel to the United States as yielding less than satisfactory results without the aide of the BERT software.

To test BERT, Google turned to its thousands of contract workers known as “raters,” Nayak said, who compared results from search queries with and without the software. Over time, the software learns when it needs to read entire phrases versus just keywords. About 15 percent of the billions of searches conducted each day are new, Google said.

Google said it also considers other input, such as whether a user tries rephrasing a search term rather than initially clicking on one of the first couple of links.

Nayak and Gomes said they didn’t know whether BERT would be used to improve advertising sales that are related to search terms. Advertising accounts for the vast majority of Google’s revenue.

[Source: This article was published inunionleader.com By Greg Bensinger - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jeremy Frink]

Categorized in Search Engine
Page 1 of 7

airs logo

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.

Follow Us on Social Media