Google’s BERT update: what it means for iGaming affiliates

Google recently rolled out ‘BERT’ in the US, which was its most important search engine update for a long time. The primary aim of this feature is to give users more accurate search results at the first search attempt. 

It’s therefore a good idea for affiliates focussing their effort in the US to keep up with news around this, and start thinking about how they can adapt their content strategies to match more natural searching terms.

BERT: What is it? 

Officially, BERT stands for ‘Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers’. Sounds like some kind of fancy movie character right? Well, it’s not quite that. In effect, this update will use natural language processing to show users more accurate search results. 

A few SEO blogs have referenced this example with a search term example such as this: “2019 Brazil traveler to USA need Visa’. The top result pick for a pre-BERT search would’ve been sites that give advice for US citizens visiting the South American country. Afterwards, however, it’s geared at Brazilians travelling the opposite way. 

We’re sure that you’ve had instances where you’ve searched for something, but the results given were irrelevant. It’s pretty annoying, as you’ll probably agree. But with the implementation of BERT, users will be more likely to find *exactly* what they’re looking for. 

How can iGaming affiliates adapt to these updates? 

It’s important to remember that people are your customer, and algorithms aren’t. So, you should be writing for those who could benefit from the advice you have to offer. Since BERT will result in more accurate personalised searches, you should view it as an opportunity to tailor your content even further. 

The online gaming space gets noisier each day, so authentic voices are the ones that’ll continue to stand out. If you share original, insightful and authentic content, users will be more inclined to visit your website and keep returning too. But if you do the opposite, they’ll go elsewhere. And that’s without even mentioning how, if you just copy the work others, Google will penalise you.

If you do the above, you can then use search engine rankings further to your advantage. Making use of long-tail searches could be one way to do this. According to searchmetrics, an estimated 70% of online searches are long-tail. And yet, as was mentioned here, fewer than 2% of marketers are focusing on terms longer than five words at the moment. 

This form of SEO will become even more important as voice search continues to become more popular. In fact, BERT might be perceived by some as the natural next step in adapting to this. Rabbit & Pork Founder Jack Campbell’s thoughts on voice search back this up: “In regards to voice, I still think that websites play a key role.” Since almost everybody is focusing on short-tail at the moment, doing the opposite could get you ahead of the game.