SEO Monthly Roundup December 2019

January 8th in SEO 4 minute read

Christmas didn’t get in the way of another busy month for SEO in December. Google announced they’ve fully launched BERT across 70 different languages and also put the voice search fad to sleep. 

We’re going to take you through the hot SEO news straight off the press and explain what it might mean for you.

Google confirms BERT rollout

You may remember back in our October SEO update we looked at Google’s new BERT Update. For those need reminding, BERT is:

  • A machine learning algorithm similar to Rank Brain.
  • It helps Google to “humanise” search queries, targeting more conversational queries and natural language forms.
  • You can’t optimise your site for BERT specifically but you can for the humans that will use it.

At that time, Google had only rolled the update out across 10% of US English queries. However, on the 9th December, they revealed that it would now be accessible worldwide across 70 different languages. You can see their tweet below confirming the news.

What can we expect from BERT?

As with any update from Google, you can expect to see some wobbles and fluctuations over time. On the face of it though, we feel that BERT will have an overall positive impact on search queries. We’re likely going to see more accurate answers to the more niche questions and queries we pose to Google. Time will tell to see what the overall impact of BERT is but we believe, on the whole, it will be a positive one! 

Google attempts to put voice search fad to sleep

Google’s Gary Illyes recently tweeted the following:

It’s a new year, maybe we can put the voice search optimization fad to sleep finally…”

So what does this mean for voice search? What he is suggesting is that, whilst voice search is growing, SEOers can’t optimise for it specifically to gain an advantage.

In the past, Gary has suggested that the future is likely to be dominated by images and other forms of multimedia. With all this in mind, maybe there is a reason that Google has avoided adding voice search to search console? 

John Mueller, another big name from Google has spoken about voice search in the past:

Bing partners with flight booking sites to optimise flight search results

Bing has announced a partnership with airlines to give users more optimised flight search results. They make use of real-time data and integrations with airline flight search facilities to make comparing prices and booking flights a seamless experience.

Reservations aren’t booked directly through Bing, similarly to Google Flights. You’ll simply be redirected to the flight companies booking page. Users can search “flights from Leeds to Barcelona” to get the results they’re looking for.

You can see an example of their new results below:

Bing flight search

Why should we care?

With the flight search comparison interface being so prominent on the page, this could impact flight comparison sites like Trip Advisor, Expedia, and Skyscanner the most. The new interface will push those companies further down in SERPs as people much of the same information directly from Bing. 

Russian search engine, Yandex, releases new Vega update

Yandex is Russia’s largest search engine and they recently released a new algorithm update called “Vega”. This update reportedly introduced 1500 improvements to the Yandex search experience. Yandex claim this update is set to bring more human elements into search and is their biggest to date. 

What do they mean by ‘Human Elements’?

Yandex has been quoted as saying they have:

“updated the ranking algorithm with neural networks trained on data provided by real experts in several fields, providing users with even higher quality solutions to their searches.”

Essentially, it appears that Yandex is going to use real human inputs to ensure that they drive better results for their users. 

What else is the update bringing?

Yandex is also set to bring a Q&A service to its search results. This service is called Yandex Q and is set to see users receive direct answers to any queries they put forward in search.

They’re also set to double the size of their index whilst also improving the speed that results are delivered. Yandex wrote:

“Our search index is now twice as large, with 200 billion documents, thanks to a clever method for grouping similar web pages into clusters”

Their ultimate aim, like any search engine, is to optimise the user experience and help them find what they’re looking for. Alongside Google and Bing, they’re taking the next big steps towards making the world’s information universally accessible.

Get ready for SEO in 2020

2020 is here and your site needs to be ready. With a further focus on multimedia, human language, and refined search queries, 2020 is set to be another busy year. At Zeal, we offer a no-obligation, free SEO audit to ensure your site is ready for what’s to come. Follow the link to get in touch with our SEO team and find out more.

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