It is no secret that in today’s digital age, the online space is a powerful and valuable asset. Nowadays, gadgets have become something of a necessity, making it normal to see everyone carrying a smartphone wherever they go. Likewise, the Internet has evolved into a top source of information, which billions of users browse through daily to learn about various things. With the level of advancement that technology has achieved in the present day, it is no surprise that businesses are capitalizing on it to further grow and scale their operations.


Harnessing the capabilities of search engines can prove to be useful, especially for businesses. Having an established digital presence can attract a larger customer base and ultimately generate more leads and sales. Thus, strategies like search engine optimization (SEO) have become essential in any marketing plan. SEO is now a household name for every business and marketer as it is the ultimate cornerstone to solidifying your online presence.


When using SEO, it is important to stay updated and well-informed about Google’s algorithms to ensure that your site ranks high in search engine results pages (SERPs). Back in 2019, Google launched a major algorithm update known as BERT to better understand how people use language. As one of the biggest changes to Google’s algorithms in the past five years, many questions are now being raised on how SEO strategies can be refined to optimize for BERT.

What is BERT?


BERT is short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers and is a natural language processing pre-training that aims to understand the nuances in language. It was designed to help the Google search engine understand how people communicate. When users search for information online, they expect to get accurate answers to their queries. BERT was developed to address this need and better process search queries to understand the intent behind them.


With BERT, search engines can better understand what users mean when they search for particular things. Thus, the smallest nuances, such as the use of prepositions, can affect the entries that appear in the SERPs. With this update, the search process is expected to be much more helpful, providing users with accurate answers to their questions.


BERT Emphasizes Natural Language


Keyword research is one of the essential aspects of SEO. However, BERT prioritizes natural language and writing since it tries to understand how people communicate and write queries. The term bidirectional in BERT means that Google reads searches from left to right or right to left, allowing the search engine to process queries more comprehensively.


For example, the search query is “do RV dealers offer online payment options.” Before the BERT update, Google would have shown search results with keywords like RV dealers or online payment. However, with BERT, Google would show results that directly answer the query. As such, RV dealerships must optimize their content to answer the common questions that first-time buyers may have, especially since the online buying process is still new to many.


Overall, the main point is that BERT can detect search intent even without matching keywords. Thus, your content need not force keywords or jam them together if it makes the language sound unnatural. While using keywords will still be helpful, it should not be the top priority. Instead, more focus should be placed on writing naturally and in a way that is easy for any person to understand. By doing this, Google can better understand the meaning behind your words.


BERT Understands Long-Tail Keywords


Another important thing to note about BERT is that the model understands the intent behind long-tail keywords. Long queries have been relatively tricky to deal with in the past, especially since longer keywords require an understanding of the context.


Fortunately, BERT uses a feature called attention scores, which involves going through each word in a sentence and comparing it to one another. The attention score helps Google understand the influence that each word has in a sentence. It is particularly effective in dissecting ambiguous words, allowing the search engine to recognize what words have heavier weight in the user’s search intent.


One significant change would be the use of prepositions, which BERT can understand to identify intent more accurately. For example, if you are searching for “RV rentals to city,” then BERT will pay more attention to the use of “to.” Back then, your SERPs would likely have shown entries on RV rentals, but they would not have been focused on those that are catered to a particular city. However, BERT understands the purpose of including the preposition in the query and will thus show you rentals that can go to the city.


Overall, BERT can be particularly beneficial for longer search queries since the update can better understand the context in searches. Thus, it may be a good opportunity to polish your long-tail strategy. In refining your content, make sure your headings answer your title and keywords directly. Since BERT is designed to understand natural language, it is also effective for voice search optimization, which tends to use more long-tail keywords.


BERT Checks for Inaccuracies


With the BERT update, Google is set to provide more reliable and accurate content to users. Back in 2016, the search engine released a fact-checking mechanism by comparing an article to other similar articles and content pieces. However, BERT was designed to enhance this feature by using the model’s understanding of language and context to create more accurate matches and expose inaccuracies more effectively.


Essentially, BERT performs fact-checking the same way it processes search queries to understand the intent behind them. Thus, it is best to go over your content once more and use fact-checking tools like Google’s Fact Check Tools to ensure your article is not rendered inaccurate.

BERT Improves One in 10 Searches


The new Google algorithm is said to affect one in 10 searches in the US in English to improve search results quality and match results to intent more accurately. According to Google, the BERT algorithm is so complex that it can only be used for a limited number of searches. However, even with this limitation, the changes will still be evident and visible, especially with the billions of searches made by users every day.


BERT aims to make the search process more user-friendly and helpful. Thus, for content creators, the main task will be to understand what their target audience is searching for. Only then will they be able to provide reliable and relevant answers to their questions.


BERT May Impact Featured Snippets


BERT may affect featured snippets, though in a more indirect way. Technically, BERT is merely focused on natural language processing and trying to understand what users are looking for in their queries. However, similar to how the model will affect what appears in SERPs, it will also likely affect what appears in featured snippets. The bidirectional reading mechanism, attention scores, and understanding of prepositions can all change the snippets returned by Google.


With that said, the update should not be a cause for alarm or concern since it essentially tries to cater more to how humans naturally speak.


What Does the Update Mean for Marketers and Content Creators?


After Google rolled out BERT, many marketers, web makers, and content creators became wary about how the update will affect their existing website and strategy. However, the primary objective of BERT is to provide more accurate results to users’ search queries by understanding their intent. Thus, if your content has already been written to cater to your users, you need not do anything differently. The main takeaway is that you must write content for readers and not for search engines.


If anything, the most important change to remember with BERT is that you can now write more naturally, similar to how the human language works. If you are unsure about this aspect, you can perform a content audit to look back at your existing articles and see whether you can make some improvements.


Understanding how BERT works and how it affects your website is crucial to ranking high and appearing on the right SERPs. Whether you are new to SEO practices or more familiar and experienced with the strategies, it is essential to examine your content and see if it will be effective in the age of BERT.

Top BERT-Friendly Practices for Vehicle Dealers


Technology has indeed transformed the business world and workplace in more ways than one. Industries that were once focused on face-to-face selling are now starting to diversify into the online space. This is particularly true for vehicle dealerships as the majority of customers begin their research online and prefer to do most of the buying online as well.


The big question now is: How can dealerships create effective websites and content, especially with the BERT update? Take note of these important practices to help you optimize your content successfully.


Understand Your Audience

Knowing your target audience is perhaps one of the most significant steps to take now that BERT is underway. Since this new update aims to deliver more accurate and relevant results to users, the first thing you must do is identify who your audience is. Know who they are, what answers they want, and how they make search queries. This way, you can create content that answers their questions directly.


There are various ways to better understand your audience. One of these would be to create personas to identify the types of audience that your site attracts. You can check your site analytics to know more about your visitors and learn about their behavior or how they engage with your content.


Focus on Context in Keywords

Keywords have long been an important part of SEO as they help Google determine what entries to include in a user’s SERP. However, BERT is more focused on search intent, so it processes queries by examining the nuances in the language to understand the context. Due to this update, you must now shift your emphasis from the traditional way of viewing keywords as exact match terms that will show up in SERPs.


Now, it is important to look at the context surrounding your keywords and positioning them in your sentences appropriately. For example, if you want to use a keyword like “RV dealers,” it would help to include points related to RVs, such as camping, traveling, and the like. Using related keywords will also be useful as it helps BERT recognize your content as inclusive.


Sound More Conversational

BERT emphasizes the idea of writing with your readers in mind, so your content must sound more conversational and organic. One of the biggest reasons explaining this would be the growing popularity of voice searches. Since these sound more natural than textual searches, Google is working to deliver more accurate results to users. Focus on being straightforward and concise, and avoid using too many filler words.


Use Long-Tail Keywords

With search intent now a top priority for Google, you can better capitalize on your long-tail keyword strategy. Voice searches tend to be longer in nature since people word their queries differently when speaking, so you can tap into the potential of using long-tail keywords while still sounding natural.


It is important to take note that the BERT update does not mean you must optimize purely for long-tail keywords. Your main focus must still be on keyword quality and tying this into the context of your content, rather than keyword length. However, the purpose of bringing up long-tail keywords is to mention how BERT can better recognize the intent behind longer queries, giving you more room to work with them.


It is worth noting that there is nothing to optimize specifically for BERT. However, it is useful to know how this update affects your content to know what practices you can better work on and refine. That said, if you have already been creating content that answers your audience’s queries and using natural language, you need not worry about your site getting affected by BERT.



BERT is revolutionizing the search process to better account for natural language and the different contexts and nuances in words. The changes brought about by this Google update have led to deeper transfer learning in natural language processing, making it one of the top machine learning contributions in 2019.

2020 has been challenging—and the biggest reason for this is the unexpected occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a global phenomenon, the entire world has been affected by the virus in one way or another. As such, people worldwide have had to transition to various changes in their daily lives. From taking classes online to working from home, the pandemic has led to the need for the so-called new normal.


Businesses are also not exempt from this, as the pandemic has forced companies to stop conducting business as usual early on in the year. Some industries, like tourism and entertainment, have been badly affected by mobility restrictions. However, as a whole, the economic recessions and downturns in different countries have caused businesses to plummet, with many still recovering from the impact.


Interestingly, the COVID-19 pandemic saw an increase in the number of people engaging in recreational boating. Boat sales have risen starting the summer of 2020, prompting questions about how the industry will fare as the economy recovers. Take a look at the 2020 recap of the boating industry to learn about the trends, statistics, and outlook on it.


Boat Sales Hit By Rocky Start, But Recovered in the Summer


Like many other businesses, the boating industry was hit hard by the pandemic. It became vulnerable and at risk due to the travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, and quarantines that have kept people at home. According to the Marine CEO Sentiment Report, 81% of boat manufacturers saw an overall decline in sales in the first quarter, while 15% of manufacturers permanently shut down operations.


Surprisingly, however, the second quarter saw a significant turn of events, with boating sales increasing during the summer. Total boat sales increased by 59% in May compared to April, and some businesses have reported over 40% year-on-year growth for the months of May and June. People have learned to navigate the situation by looking for alternative hobbies to spend their time. Boating has turned into one of the most popular recreational activities during this time as it allows people to practice social distancing while having fun.


Vacationers, in particular, have turned to recreational boating due to air travel restrictions, which have put a halt on many people’s travel plans. Due to the pandemic, many have opted to leave the city and find solace in islands and lakes to get some calm out of their busy lives. Sales for new and used boats have surged significantly, with the former growing by 30% and the latter growing by 74%. Cumulative data also shows that sales for personal watercrafts, fishing boats, and jet boats have all increased this year compared to last year.


While boat sales may have peaked in the summer, reports show that the momentum has started to slow in September. The month registered slower shipments, which led to lower supply, but this is expected to pick up in the following months.


Surge in First-time Buyers


The rise in boating sales can be attributed to many buyers, but first-time buyers are one of the largest contributors. Boat buyers vary in characteristics, with some being first-time buyers looking for a chance to get out of the house and others being former boat owners who want to rekindle the hobby. The effect of the pandemic has come as a surprise to many as the industry boomed during this time. With boating recognized as a COVID-safe outdoor activity, many have turned to this new outlet.


The trend in sales from first-time buyers began in the summer and continued to grow through fall. So far, 2020 has seen about 25,000 more boat purchases than 2019, and 24,000 of these can be attributed to first-time buyers.


While the surge is certainly beneficial and profitable for dealers, it will also be important to help first-time buyers get acquainted with boating in general. They will need guidance in the types of boats and where they can be used, proper maintenance procedures, and other important protocols to help them get started. Educating them on safety guidelines will also be crucial to ensure they have smooth sailing experiences.


Boat Dealers Face Shortage in Supply


With the unprecedented increase in boat sales starting the second quarter of 2020, several boat dealers faced shortages. Some companies and manufacturers have expressed how unexpected the turn of events were, with many experiencing such a high demand for the first time in their many years of working in the industry. One salesman in Marina del Ray Yacht Sales noted that he used to sell 11 boats per month, as opposed to two or three before the pandemic.


Due to the all-time high demand, many dealerships have sold out of their products, giving rise to the problem of shortages. While the pandemic may have led to an increase in sales, it has made procurement of boats more difficult since several manufacturers were able to sustain their operations. For manufacturers that managed to continue amidst the pandemic, several disruptions have slowed down their production, leading to lower inventory levels.


Aside from manufacturing restrictions, lack of personnel has also proven to be a problem for dealers. Since the rise in demand was unexpected and unpredictable, several boat dealers are struggling to find enough manpower to meet the demand and provide appropriate customer service.


Coordinating Boat Sales During the Pandemic


2020 has certainly disrupted many industries, with the boating industry being no exception. While sales may have skyrocketed, dealers and sellers were still required to adjust to the changes, especially due to physical distancing restrictions. This year has particularly highlighted the growing importance of online sales and marketing. Customers prefer digital and contactless buying methods now, more than ever, due to the emphasis placed on health.


As a result, automated payments, online management and scheduling tools, and virtual communication platforms have all been important in managing sales amid the pandemic. As much as possible, customers want to limit contact with the purchasing process. Due to stay-at-home measures, many also begin their research on the internet.


As boat dealers and buyers venture into this new and uncertain situation, proper communication will be key. Whether it be matters regarding new boat sales, service repairs, or getting parts to complete repairs, dealers will have to communicate realistic expectations to customers.


First-time buyers, in particular, tend to have unrealistic expectations about how the process goes. Failure to set expectations can cause them to have negative perceptions on dealerships, making communication an integral part of the seller-buyer relationship.


Challenges Brought About by COVID-19


Several boating dealers have cited what they consider to be a buying frenzy earlier this year, particularly in the month of April and onwards. During this time, restrictions had started to ease slightly, and people saw boating as the perfect opportunity to recreate while social distancing. As a result, sales surged and the number of people with new boats and on the water increased significantly.


Evidently, the pandemic has led to an unprecedented positive outcome for the boating industry as it prompted many to learn about the activity. However, the shift in demand has also presented some challenges for boat dealerships.


In the short-term, the challenge will be forecasting sales to determine appropriate inventory levels, as well as staffing requirements to accommodate the demand. While the current situation has led to a rise in boat demand, the industry’s trajectory in the coming years is still not concrete. Changes are also expected to ensue in the coming months and year, now that air travel restrictions are slowly easing and people are starting to travel once again.


In the long-term, the challenge will mainly revolve around how the boating experience and business can be improved. This will include refining manufacturing processes to make them more efficient, developing new and innovative products, improving the customer experience, and many others. Overall, the prospects for the future have to do with how sellers and dealers can continue to promote the boating culture and convince people of the hobby.


Indeed, the pandemic has led to the need for a new normal, making it infeasible for businesses to run their operations as usual. Given the uncertainty on how things will unfold, there remains to be several questions. One of the most important, which remains to be unanswered, is whether the sales surge caused by the pandemic will be sustained in the coming years.


Innovation to Drive Boating Industry


The sales frenzy experienced by boat dealers this year has prompted many new market opportunities to emerge. For one, the industry is witnessing several new advancements and innovations in technological features to promote the boating experience. Nowadays, customers are becoming more reliant on automated controls to avoid having to spend too much time on learning how to operate a boat.


Some innovative features include lightweight engines and power systems, automatic controls, and digital throttle. With the rate at which boating sales, it is expected that these technological advances will be driving the industry in the coming years.

Boating Industry Trends to Anticipate for 2021


The global pandemic has caused much of the dynamics in the economy to shift. Though oating sales increased sometime in the second quarter, dealers and sellers must still be cautious about the market’s volatility. As the year 2020 nears its end, several trends are expected to drive the boating market for 2021.


  1. Fishing

Boats have exploded in popularity for many reasons, but fishing is undoubtedly one of the top uses for these vehicles. Thus, fishing boat sales are expected to regain momentum in 2021 after they dropped in 2019. Related fishing accessories will also accompany the boats and are projected to have favorable growth for the coming year.


  1. Rentals

Aside from boat sales, boat rentals have also risen in popularity during the pandemic. Many people have found solace in spending a day or two in the water after months of staying at home, thus leading to increased boat rentals. Organizations like the Center of Disease and Control (CDC) have provided safety guidelines to practice social distancing and protect one’s health.


With that said, the positive growth in the boat rental industry is expected to continue through 2026. Medium-sized boats ranging from 28 to 45 feet in length tend to be the most popular and in-demand category for sales, boats larger than this have observably lower demand for rentals.


  1. Affordability

The pandemic has caused consumer perception and priorities to shift significantly, so customers are now more discerning about their expenses. Fortunately, boats have started to become more affordable due to more advanced technologies that can boost efficiency in production and manufacturing. However, with that said, affordability may be relative to the consumer, so it still depends on the company’s target market and product offers.


  1. Family Activities

Boating demand increased rapidly for various reasons, and family activities serve as one of the top growth drivers for revenues and sales. As a result, family-friendly and family-oriented boats are expected to remain popular. This projection will also prove to be valuable for manufacturers as boats like the pontoon can be customized and innovated in various ways.



The boating industry is one of the industries that saw an unexpected rise in sales due to the pandemic. Such a change was coupled with challenges like the lack of workers due to lay-offs, shortages due to manufacturers closing operations, and many others. However, on the flipside, it has also led to many opportunities to get more buyers to incorporate boating into their lifestyle.