Google BERT and eCommerce – The Aftermath Explained

November 4, 2019

Google BERT, in simple terms, is an intelligent algorithm to understand and revert to an unformulated search query more effectively and relevantly. Google’s RankBrain update from 2015 already made this search giant smart enough to learn the ‘intent’ behind a query. The latest breakthrough is a considered step-up in the same arena where the machine learning enables word processing in relation to all the other words present in a sentence, rather than one-by-one in order. A few examples of ‘before’ and ‘after’ search result scenarios are available on Google’s BERT announcement.

If we are to spell it technically, BERT is an abbreviation to Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It is a neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) that helps decode complex and conversational search queries with more relatable results. Putting the technical jargon aside, Google BERT is here to crack the search queries with an ability to process prepositions (e.g. – ‘to’, ‘for’, ‘from’, ‘with’) present in a sentence! Long story short, BERT will understand and revert to the natural language used by searchers in contrast with going by the keywords.

The theories of how the Google BERT model works and how it will affect 10% of the English language searches are not the things that we are here for. This episode today is for eCommerce businesses and how they will be influenced by this acclaimed biggest leap forward in the history of Search. We have tried encompassing possible BERT effects on online stores, and the good news is, they’re positive!

Google BERT and eCommerce

eCommerce sales are creating new benchmarks YOY! People are turning towards online purchases and on the other side, eCommerce businesses are striving to provide better customer services. Google BERT is nothing but Google’s strongest effort to serve its customers, i.e. searchers better! It is a good news for the eCommerce businesses because BERT will help rank the product and category pages more once the search intent is clear. Product pages have great potential to rank in SERPs and with this advancement, quality traffic will drive to eStores. 

The story again ends at CONTENT! How Google BERT algorithm will affect your online store rankings is entirely depends on the quality of the website content you offer. This update supports preposition evaluation in a search query by giving an edge of language understanding capabilities to Google. eCommerce stores have product listings that are described via prepositions for its various attributes. Different types, colors, sizes, features, and services of any product need some major explanations that are correlated with prepositions. These descriptions available on the websites have higher chances of getting featured by the BERT update. People searching with specific product details and attributes will now see more accurate results.

The Google BERT Aftermath for Product Pages

The product page descriptions play a major part here.

Page content holding descriptive, relevant sentences will benefit from BERT. The details present on the product webpage would have the product attributes written with prepositions, and BERT will make use of it to provide the searcher with significant results. Let’s better understand this with a few examples.

For example, someone’s Googling,

  1. 7 ft curtains with cartoons, or
  2. men’s analog watch in black dial with metal straps, or
  3. greeting cards for back to school

The mentioned search queries have specific attributes like Cartoon, Black Dial & Metal Straps, and Back to school respectively, which are described by prepositions. In these scenarios, Google will return with definite results by understanding the intent. The product pages containing these pieces of information are more likely to get picked with the help of BERT.

This is how your product content will get benefitted from this latest search algorithm. 

We searched for the term “shoes with spikes in red color”, and below is the screenshot of the results we got.

Google BERT eCommerce example

What Should eCommerce Stores Do?

Google BERT is here for good and will support more to-the-point results. As mentioned earlier, it’s the game of Content! Do take care of your product page content and make it descriptive enough for the end-users. Providing specific and in-depth product information is more of a necessity than advice. People make online purchase decisions solely based on what they read and see, thus making their experience worth is something that all online stores should work upon. BERT is not penalizing any sites, but a drop in relevant website traffic is more or less the same. Moreover, when explicit search results will appear, the quality of relevant visitors will also increase. Only people with higher purchase intent will visit your online store, so overall, it’s a Win-Win for the eCommerce stores that have considerable content on their product pages.

Pro Tips:
  • Writing for the online store visitors is the KEY rather than writing for the search engines. Never put up descriptions and photos directly from manufacturers. Inculcate a habit of writing unique, relevant content for your products.
  • Include attributes on your product detail page descriptions that explain your offering better. Optimize the descriptions of your best-selling product pages with content that is plagiarism-free.
  • Provide visual cues for shoppers and text labels for the search engines when you add attributes like colors.
  • Target long-tail queries followed by a well-defined site search option to rank better.

Over To You

The BERT search algorithm stands still by the years-long Google’s approach to provide high-quality, credible, and helpful content. If your eCommerce store has this basic and crucial requirement fulfilled, you don’t have to worry about the update. But if you still have faced a drop in traffic, try applying the tips and look for the better-performing pages for inspiration. If you’re looking for a FREE, in-depth SEO Audit for your eCommerce store, get in touch with our eStore handymen.

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