Last year, we introduced and open-sourced a neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or as we call it--BERT, for short. This technology enables anyone to train their own state-of-the-art question answering system.
This breakthrough was the result of Google research on transformers: models that process words in relation to all the other words in a sentence, rather than one-by-one in order. 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.
But it’s not just advancements in software that can make this possible: we needed new hardware too. Some of the models we can build with BERT are so complex that they push the limits of what we can do using traditional hardware, so for the first time we’re using the latest Cloud TPUs to serve search results and get you more relevant information quickly.
As can be expected every single time Google announces a search update, the SEO community went nuts.
You see, every time there's an update, the SEOs think this is an opportunity to get some attention by both positioning their expertise, as well as, instilling fear into their clients.
So, let me do you a favor: You don't need to spend a second thinking about BERT.
Here's another gift from me to you: If someone pitches you on their BERT expertise, they actually did you a favor. You can summarily dismiss them as a charlatan.
You're welcome again.
However, if you get sucked into the BERT expertise lore, and you've read this, then you have no one but yourself to blame when you get bamboozled by your SEO guru. It's not Google. It's not SEOs. It's you. Take some accountability.
You should bookmark this post so that the next time someone pitches you on their special knowledge of a Google update you can talk yourself off the ledge.
And for those of you getting ready to comment, "but what about the ________ blank update," don't bother. Yes, some updates actually do impact how we do things day to day. But let's face it, those are extremely few and far between.
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