Google Mum…does she know best?

21st September 2021 | | Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation

Google MUM update – Everything you need to know. 

They say mother always knows best…but what about Google’s MUM update? Google has recently launched their latest algorithm update to improve the way we search and to make the results more insightful and inclusive.

But what does this mean for business owners, webmasters, and marketing agencies?

What is Google MUM?

Google’s Multitask Unified Model, or MUM for short, aims to answer modern search demands by using an AI-powered algorithm to improve online search performance. One of the main benefits of the new, smarter algorithm, is that it will remove the need to carry out multiple searches that users currently do to compare and gain deeper insights into the subjects that they are searching for. The update can understand and populate results based on textual content but also an interpretation of images, videos, and other media in a way that was never possible before.

MUM interprets meaning in a user-friendly way, breaking down language barriers (the update has the ability to understand and search in 75 different languages) to provide us with the most complete search engine capability ever.

Traditionally, SEO content and keywords have been the most important part of how information is served in the search results and how it needs to match intent. Over recent years, whilst this has remained significant, it has changed slightly to be more phrase friendly, finding keywords used in a more natural context. This certainly benefits the new MUM search algorithm.

Making multi-modal matter

While MUM should know better (hopefully), considering it uses the T5 text-to-text framework and is 1,000 times more powerful than BERT (the algorithm it is replacing) We will still see answers to straightforward questions and keyword searches. However, results for more complex queries will be much improved to the multi-modal approach. The answer to the question ‘what will my teeth look like after Invisalign if I have an overbite’ could be in an image rather than text.

AI and the search engine

Search engines have driven the way content is created, focusing heavily on keywords, phrases and search intent. So should this update change how businesses, SEOs, and agencies think about attracting visitors and engaging them? Content has been king in the eyes of Google since the Google Panda update in 2011, and this new update only reinforces this. Google MUM will bring more relevant and varied content to the fore.

Content that is wrongly pitched will disappear more quickly than ever before. This reinstates how important the user experience, content, overall SEO and accessibility are for search engine success. To consider content high quality, it must, therefore, be better than a few placed keywords and it must make optimal use of multimedia formats that Google MUM will look at. End-users are MUM’s focus and that must be at the front of how content marketers and agencies work.

Google MUM has a far greater ability to answer comparison style questions too.

“What’s the difference between Invisalign and 6 Month Smiles?” style questions will bring answers in one go. Previously we might have had to dig around for the information for each treatment and compare ourselves. Not only will one question suffice to provide information for each, but it will offer added value information on each treatment that it knows people may have gone on to search. It may include relevant comparisons between the two treatments, such as cost, before and afters, appearance and comfort.

What this means for Marketing Agencies

  • The main strategy will be to create content that remains high quality, unique and focused. Content must answer questions and provide the right level of added value, including appropriate use of multimedia formats so that MUM will notice you. Written content, including blog posts and articles, is still a key player in attracting attention. There is increased importance on backing this up with images, audio, and video content – this would help when MUM’s new iterations come into play.
  • Produce content using informative, engaging writing, images, and other media. Structured data optimisation will be important to give the algorithm clues about the content. We know that Google MUM will widen search answers, so image optimisation, videos, audio, FAQ sections on important (treatment) pages and a blog that is updated regularly will be more important to perform and rank well in Google than ever before. With fewer old school SEO tricks to hide behind, is it is critical that content translates to quality. If it is interesting, relevant, and valuable to your end-user (your patients), then it will compete well in the search results.

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