Google Updates

Google MUM: How to Prepare for the Latest Google Update

Summary: Google is releasing a new algorithm update, known as Google MUM. Learn what this means for your business and how you can effectively prepare!

Anyone who works in marketing and SEO knows that Google’s algorithms constantly change. Each update usually brings small changes that improve the user experience and prioritize unique, valuable content.

In May of 2021, Google announced their plans to release an algorithm search update called MUM. This update is powered by new technologies Google has developed over the last several years, and it is poised to drive big changes in the world of SEO. Thankfully, there are some easy things you can do to get your company’s marketing and SEO strategies ready for this shift.

What is Google MUM?

Google MUM (Multitask Unified Model) is an upcoming update to Google’s search algorithm. The new algorithm will harness the power of AI and machine learning to provide a significant upgrade to the engine’s search capabilities.

Google MUM: How to Prepare for the Latest Google Update
Google. (2021, May 18). [Google shows how their MUM update will make connections based on context to better refine search results.]. Google: The Keyword.

When fully implemented, MUM will:

Break Down Language Barriers

Google searches currently only look for information written in one language at a time. If you search for something like ‘best restaurants in Paris’ in a browser configured for English search, you will only get results written in English, even though information from local French diners would probably be more useful to you.

Google MUM: How to Prepare for the Latest Google Update
Google. (2021, May 18). [Google shows how their MUM update will make connections based on context to better refine search results.]. Google: The Keyword.

With MUM, this will change. Each search will pull information from all relevant sources, including those written in a different language from the one you used to start the search. This will open up a wealth of previously inaccessible international content to English-speaking users and give them access to all the English content they could not read before. This is a significant step toward making Google better serve the needs of our globalized world.

Incorporate Non-Text Information into Searches

Writing is far from the only way to communicate information. Today’s users love visual content like photos, infographics, and videos. These mediums provide an additional dimension to the content while still conveying valuable insights.

MUM will allow users to run searches using images and refine those searches using additional text information. The new algorithm will pull data directly from these sources without relying solely on text-based elements like alt tags and transcripts, greatly increasing their relevance and reach.

Demonstrate of Google MUM update Google's New Search Feature

Google. (2021, September 29). [Google demonstrates how MUM will offer users access to expanded content selections.]. Google: The Keyword.

Improve Search Results

Google’s ultimate goal is to make every search as useful as possible for its users. Currently, it can only provide quality answers to straightforward questions, such as ‘What is the federal capital of Canada?’ or ‘What day does the summer solstice fall on this year?’ This makes it a useful but imperfect tool.

MUM will be significantly better at answering more complex questions that require layers of context to understand. Google’s blog posts use the example of an avid hiker asking, “What can I do differently to prepare to hike Mt. Fuji after hiking Mt. Adams last year?” While the engine could not provide good answers to this query in its present state, the MUM update will give it the ability to understand what this user wants and synthesize the information needed to respond appropriately.

The engine’s improved access to international and non-text content will also greatly expand the list of possible sources it can pull from to get the information it needs. On average, it will take users fewer searches to find the answers they need, and when they do find those answers, they will be more complete and helpful than they would have been previously.

Google MUM: How to Prepare for the Latest Google Update
Google. (2021, May 18). [Google shows how their MUM update will make connections based on context to better refine search results.]. Google: The Keyword.

How to Adapt Your SEO Strategy for MUM

SEO will still be important after MUM launches, but it will not operate the same way as it does now. To help your company prosper through the coming changes:

Continue Using Classic SEO

Classic SEO won’t be the same once MUM launches, but it will still influence how well your website performs in search rankings. Continue to use elements like schema, internal links, and targeted keywords to signal your website’s importance to Google and get your content the high ranks it deserves.

Local SEO will be particularly important after MUM’s introduction, so be sure to incorporate more local focus into your overall SEO strategies. There may be many more sources competing with your content on general topics, but content made by local companies will always have an audience. Working with an SEO company can help you build up your archives with quality local content that will only grow in value as MUM’s implementation draws closer.

Create New Content That Answers Users’ Most Pressing Questions

MUM results will be formulated based on how well they can answer users’ questions, so content covering common topics of interest in detail will do well.

Focus on creating content that adds value for the user, especially if you can include specific details that few other sources delve into. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are a great way to address these questions directly and draw a clear line between your content and your users’ search intent. Following these guidelines makes your content more likely to be incorporated into a MUM result.

Leverage Image Search in Google Lens

Google Lens currently allows users to perform a few basic types of searches based on images, such as finding products for sale online based on a photo of that product. The MUM update will extend these abilities, making it possible to search for items with the same pattern, colour, or shape as the reference image and add additional stipulations to the image query.

Remember that MUM will also remove language as a factor in search, opening international markets to non-native customers. Users will be able to search for very specific products based on their unique tastes and will have access to more options than ever before. This gives e-commerce retailers a golden opportunity to meet this rise in demand. Include many high-quality images of your products to maximize the chance they will appear in this new type of search.

Demonstrate of Google MUM updateGoogle's New Search Feature

Google. (2021, September 29). [Google demonstrates how MUM will offer users access to expanded content selections.]. Google: The Keyword.

Add Different Types of Content, Such as Images and Videos

Since MUM searches will draw on many different types of content to generate results, now is the time to expand your marketing efforts beyond traditional written formats.

Use plenty of images on your website and blog posts, and be sure to include descriptive alt tags for each to help Google better understand what they are depicting. If you have not done so already, you should consider adding video marketing to your advertising strategies. You can use it to show off what your product can do while also giving your company more chances to appear on MUM search results in the future. A good digital marketing agency can help you with both of these things.


Google. (2021, September 29). [Google demonstrates how MUM will offer users access to expanded content selections.]. Google: The Keyword.

MUM is an Opportunity, Not a Threat

MUM will significantly alter standard SEO practices, but with enough preparation and the right mindset, companies can use the new MUM search paradigm to their advantage.

If you are interested in making MUM work for you, consider hiring WSI Comandix for help. As a leading digital marketing agency in Toronto, we are no strangers to search algorithm changes and have helped clients overcome many similar challenges in the past. Contact us today to discuss your current and future SEO needs, and let us help you prepare for the many changes that MUM will bring.

FAQs

When is MUM rolling out?

MUM is still in the early stages of development at Google. This means that it will likely before Google implements it for regular search users. While you should still be working toward adapting to MUM and its requirements, you will have plenty of time to take small steps toward this goal.

What does ‘Multimodal’ mean?

The word ‘multimodal’ refers to the MUM update’s ability to combine information from content in different formats (written works, images, videos, and more).

How will MUM affect my SEO?

MUM will require marketers to change the way they conduct SEO. This might mean focusing more on local SEO, giving more thought to e-commerce image search, or expanding into different mediums like photo and video content.

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