An Insider Look Into Google’s New AI Search Update

A brief overview on Google’s new AI update and how it might affect your ranking and SEO strategy.


Google’s BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.

A mouthful, this is basically a method for natural language processing (NLP). In other words, it helps the algorithm better understand the link behind search query and intent.

Google has built BERT for search queries that are unique and unprecedented. Something they can’t anticipate or model based on their collected data.

At the end of the day, search is about understanding language, and Google is doing their best to learn about our intent before we even type a full query into the search bar.

Previously, BERT was only used in about 10% of searches. This year, it will be used for almost every single one.

Upgraded spelling algorithm

According to Google, this is the ‘biggest improvement to spelling in five years.’

Thanks to this update, Google will be able to understand misspelled words even better. Not only that, but also their context.

Remember those times where you butchered a word so hard that even auto-correct couldn’t help you?

Well, with this upgrade, they might be able to.

Passage indexing

This is a game changer for SEO and will affect traffic numbers to a degree.

In essence, when a user asks a question, Google will index a passage within a webpage instead of only showing bluelinks in the SERP.

So, your audience won’t even need to click and opt in to get their questions answered.

Not only that, but the exact answer within the passage will be highlighted, giving users even less of an incentive to enter a site and exit the Google results page.

According to Google, this will impact 7% of search queries. So, if you see a 7% drop in traffic, you’ll know why.

Subtopic optimizations

This affects those general queries like ‘sport shoes’ for example.

Google will essentially provide more diversified results on the SERP. In our example, they’ll show results for running shoes, gym shoes, basketball shoes, etc.

Previously, as long as you were ranking number one for ‘sport shoes’, you were golden. Well, not anymore. Now you will have to optimise your pages for subtopics too.

AI upgrade for videos

According to Google, this change will impact 10% of searches

Earlier this year, Google started using AI to understand the deep semantics within a video.

Just like chapters within a book, they can analyze and dissect videos, making them easier to navigate. Thus, finding answers in a heartbeat to whatever questions you were asking.


These are the major changes Google will soon roll out. It’s vital to keep an eye on them to make sure your SEO strategy is fully updated.