NLP (Natural Language Processing) is the process of computer science that allows computers the ability to understand the text and spoken words as closely to the human language as possible. NLP is constantly used by software and computers – think Siri, Alexa, translation software, voice assistances, social media monitoring tools, chatbots, spam filters, and more importantly search engines.
Natural Language Processing is redefining the computer/human relationship by allowing machines to better understand the human language and behaviour. This artificial intelligence allows the search engine user to have the best experience possible – by finding exactly what they are looking for when they search a particular term, sentence, or word.
This has become more important recently particularly with many now utilising voice commands in searches. This type of technology allows search engines like Google to not only understand the words, but also the context and tone. It’s all about the computer being able to process and understand the natural components of the human language to give the user the best possible search results. For SEO, understanding how these algorithm updates affect your keywords and phrases is vital for success.
To stay ahead of the curve, especially with the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) it’s vital that your keywords and content address the search engine user’s needs.
Why Does Google Use Natural Language?
Back in 2011 Google began its NLP journey to better understand if this type of technology would ultimately be beneficial to their search engine and the results of their users.
By 2019 BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) algorithm update was launched onto the platform and was seen to improve searchability in around 10% of their searches.
BERT was able to better analyse the meaning of individual words and how they fit into a sentence – allowing the searcher to be directed towards a website or answer efficiently regardless of how long the sentence was. BERT interprets sets of words rather than the specific order of those words – reading the surrounding words for cues and context.
However it may have been the expert in short sentences, but not very capable of understanding full passages or larger documents in searches….
BYE BERT, HELLO SMITH?
SMITH (Siamese Multi-Depth Transformer-based Hierarchical) was then implemented in approximately 2020 – however, the platform didn’t actually say when it was released but presented a research paper defining its advantages.
SMITH was an upgrade from its predecessor BERT, with better capabilities, in particular, to understand larger documents and search queries. SMITH is able to compare an entire document – comparing sentences before and after rather than just words. PLUS: SMITH does it quicker. Together they combine to make the Google search engine the most reliable and efficient to date.
For SEO and optimising, websites that understand these important aspects are able to rank better in search engines. It’s all about staying ahead and ensuring that your keywords and long-tail keywords are in line with these algorithms. Think about it being a conversational aspect alongside keywords.
What is a Long-Tailed Keyword?
Long-Tailed keywords are longer and a specific keyword phrase that search engine users are more likely to use when searching a particular product or utilising voice commands for their search. For example “buy natural Australian skincare products” compared to “buy skincare”.
SEO & SMITH/BERT
When it comes to your SEO it is vital you keep up-to-date with the algorithm changes and what is occurring when it comes to changes in top search engines like Google. Understanding that Google is not there to promote your website, they are there to offer their search engine users and visitors the most efficient and effective search engine experience possible. Linking them to the websites they are looking for, quickly and easily.
For businesses to have a website that Google will represent and take note of, it needs the keywords, possible phrases, and information that will ultimately link your website to potential customers.
TOP KEYWORD TIPS:
1. Headings are super important! Make them as natural as possible. It’s not just about throwing in the keyword and being done.
2. Think about what your potential customer will be punching into Google to find you.
3. Consider featured snippets – answer a direct question in your content and base your keywords around that.
4. Go the long-tailed keywords! Research suggests they can account for more than 70% of search engine results.
5. Research your keywords – there are plenty of free online tools that can help you see first-hand what people are searching for and what is relevant to your industry/product.
6. Stay relevant with your keywords. They need to match what your products/services are.
It’s also important to create quality content. It’s not just about throwing as many keywords (long or short) into your work. Google wants to see you answering questions, developing strong content, and is linked to additional educational information of reputable sites.
Having quality keywords, inspirational and educational blogs and information on your website is paramount for Google recognising you as an authority and good source of the material.
Understanding how SMITH and BERT work, can help you better understand the types of things your website should contain. As these algorithms progress with smarter technology, it’s imperative that SEO specialists keep updated and ahead of the game.
Is Google Translate Natural Language Processing?
Translating language is no easy feat! It is much harder than word replacement methods as it requires much more context than a dictionary is able to provide, not to mention how many of the same words have completely different meanings. NLP is able to address some of these challenges when it comes to translating languages.
In November 2016 Google developed the Google Neural Machine Translation system or GNMT as it is known for short. It was designed to help with the fluency and accuracy in the Google Translate platform.
GNMT is able to translate whole sentences at once rather than word for word, with this is it able to memorise phrases to translate making the system much more reliable. This system of deep learning has millions of examples and has improved the quality of translation. Results are able to be re-arraigned to better understand grammatically when it comes to the complexity of the human language.
If your website is international and you promote globally, understanding these phrases is a good way forward to ensure your website is being translated accordingly.
Checking on how your website looks when it is translated is advised. What phrases are not working? Consider re-writing to ensure your page looks good no matter what language it is representing – this is particularly true to your customers.
For instance, if you send a lot of products to Italy then making sure your content is easily translatable to Italian is important.
With a little research and keeping ahead of the game, you can not only increase visibility on search engines but also allow customers ease when finding you.
Need some help? Get in touch with SEO Specialist Doreen Brown today.