In June 2021, Google’s Multitask Unified Model (MUM) algorithm update was launched.
The algorithm update was created to provide search results that will go beyond the formatting and language barriers to give a better search experience to users.
Google’s MUM update goes deeper than the BERT update and accesses a lot of information around a core search query, that was previously inaccessible.
Now, this sounds quite confusing, right?
Well, it simply means that the new algorithm will be able to give you better and targeted results around your search query, so you do not have to do multiple searches to get the same results.
Google MUM will have the ability to understand and translate up to 75 different languages from all over the world.
Apart from languages, it will have a better understanding of text and images.
Google MUM will be the one that finally makes BERT go obsolete.
Will the Google MUM update know what is best for you? Pun intended.
Well, this article will explain what Google MUM is and how it will make internet searches more inclusive and intuitive, and how you might be able to take advantage of that, to get a better ranking.
We will look at what the Google MUM update means for you as a website owner, SEO practitioner, or digital marketer.
What Exactly is the Google MUM Update?
The Google Multitask Unified Model (MUM) algorithm update, will be able to answer user search expectations and demands, by using a powerful AI-powered algorithm, with a higher search capability than the BERT update.
When people search the Internet, they are sometimes forced to conduct multiple searches before they can get the results that they need.
This may be due to geographical or language barriers since the BERT update did not have as much intuition to overcome these barriers.
With the new Google MUM update, there will be no need to perform several searches, to compare and gain a better insight into the information you are looking for.
It will be able to understand your search query better, give you results based on the textual content of your search, and also bring related videos, images, and podcasts, in a manner that was not possible in the past.
The fact that the Google MUM update can understand 75 languages means that it will look for, and present results, that will be more comprehensive and holistic, making sure that it can answer even the most complex of search queries.
The update will bring a new meaning to search relevance, thereby changing the way people get access o information around the internet, and how they use it.
However, users will also have to do their due diligence, since not all information on the Internet is trustable.
Basically, it will all come down to the discretion of the user.
With the MUM update, the searches conducted by users will come up with insights that are both helpful and insightful and will go much deeper when searching for these results, than any other update has done in the past.
According to Google, the MUM update is the answer to most of the challenges that users have been facing when conducting searches on the Internet.
In the earlier days, there will be several changes to the algorithm update, but it will be exciting to see just how the update will serve up answers to users as Google makes these changes.
According to Google, they are working towards building the “World’s Best MUM” by making sure that they remove any biases brought about by machine learning.
Here are some of the areas that they will be paying attention to:
They will use feedback from humans, using the Search Quality Rater Guidelines, which will help MUM understand how people go about finding information on the Internet.
MUM will also go through the same development processes applied to all Google search models, like the 2019 BERT update.
They will also apply research findings on how to minimize the carbon footprint, caused by the large neural network training systems that they use, to make sure that the search network functions as efficiently as possible.
So Why Does Google’s MUM matter?
The Google MUM update will provide search results in a human-friendly manner. It will bring down language barriers, giving users the best and most all-inclusive search engine ever.
It is speedy, goes deeper in search of relevant results, and is very thorough in the way that it does so.
This is very important in a world where users are looking for relevant, accurate, and detailed answers within a few seconds after they hit the search button on Google.
People want these answers anywhere and at any time, which breaks the geographical barrier.
The search silos that people used to find themselves in, will be eliminated. There will be improved intuition that goes beyond the veils of language barriers.
The update will look at user comparison needs, questions, and queries from a wide range of angles, thereby cutting down the time a user takes when trying to find the best answer to a query.
That is quite a mouthful, but a very great development when it comes to getting the best answers to your queries.
Since the start of search engines, keywords and SEO techniques were very important when it came to getting results. And just how these results were served up by the search engines, based on user intent.
Today, keywords and SEO continue to form the basis of search, but there have been changes aimed at being phrase-friendly and also finding keywords that people using a natural context.
This is certainly advantageous for the MUM algorithm update.
It will be able to use Natural Language Processing or NLP, to give nuanced answers to questions.
It will be able to use a deeper global knowledge to bring up additional information using various formats such as text, images, audio, and video.
What are the Benefits of MUM?
Google’s MUM update can reason beyond the statement of the question posed in the search engine. It will go into the multiple dimensions of the SERP as well as SEO.
Users, content creators, and businesses will now have to wave goodbye to the days of “Exact response”, and think more about the journey and user intent, which are more layered, generalized, and sometimes complex.
Google’s MUM has AI smarts which will add more to understanding and mastering the thought processes and intent of users.
Just imagine that you want to travel to a foreign country. There are various questions that you will need to ask to learn more about that country.
- You need to know just how you will get there.
- Then you will need to know where you will stay.
- You will need to know what are the attractions found in the area where you will be staying.
- You will need more information about the VISA requirements and whether you need to take vaccinations prior to travel.
- You will need to know more about the weather of the place.
- And the list goes on and on.
This means that you will have to conduct several searches, perhaps trying to find answers to each of the questions (needs) in your list.
You will have to invest a lot of time and effort to go through all the answers that you get for each query.
Well, since you want to get more answers within a single search, Google MUM will endeavor to do that.
Here are some of the ways in which the new algorithm will help you get better answers to such complex queries:
#1: Elimination of Language Barriers
The new MUM algorithm will be able to find results that may be written in other languages. This will give you access to local, and more insightful results. This is much better than any previous search algorithm given by Google.
It will now become your translator and expert on all matters related to your search query.
All the value that you would get from a human expert will be provided by this new update.
No matter what language the information is presented in, you will get it expertly translated into a language that you can understand.
The search that one makes will not be limited by the parameters used.
You will be able to get a better result by adding more parameters such as an image, web page, or video.
This will make sure that you get more information from all over the world than the previous algorithm iterations could.
When the language barriers are broken down, users, businesses, and SEO professionals will be able to see more localized answers and insights.
From a digital marketing and SEO standpoint, it also means that there will be more competition.
The local people in the area review and rate facilities, amenities, and attractions, and these will be used in the presentation of search results, and would usually be missed, because of the language barrier.
In the past, users had to search deeper and wider, using local terms, languages, and spellings, to discover more information. This will no longer be necessary.
#2: Making Multimodal Crucial
It is a given.
The MUM algorithm update will be a know-it-all, thanks to the T5 text-to-text framework, and the fact that it is a thousand times more powerful than BERT.
However, users will still be able to see straight answers to straightforward questions.
But for those that are a little more nuanced, and do not have a straightforward answer, the MUM update will go into the Multimodal approach.
Just imagine if the best answer to your question can be found in an infographic, which is written in Chinese.
MUM will find it!
#3: Better AI within the Search Engine
Up to this day, search engines have driven how content is created!
They have pushed for the use of keywords, phrases, and intent, among other important factors.
The question is, should the AI use change how businesses, marketers, and other SEOs go about attracting visitors and engaging with them to make sure they get the best exposure from the MUM update?
The MUM update is a very intelligent algorithm, and it will be able to understand the nuances in the search query and bring more varied and relevant answers than in the past.
If there is content that has a wrong pitch, then it will disappear much faster than before.
This underlines the importance of the user experience, overall SEO, the content created, web accessibility, and the intent of the user, for better ranking within the SERPs.
This means that content optimization will no longer be about carefully pacing phrases and keywords to get better rankings.
It will be crucial that multimedia formats are also used so the MUM can understand a web page better.
MUM is focusing on the end-user, and this is what marketers should bear in mind when creating content.
When you are redesigning your website, consider all these new features. You must look at the way you do your SEO using keywords and phrases which MUM will interpret better.
The Google MUM update will also be able to answer comparison style questions better.
For example, if someone asks whether the weather in Mumbai is better than the weather in Kuala Lumpur, then the MUM update will give answers in one go.
In the past, one would have to dig into the weather information from each of the two cities, and then do a manual comparison.
The MUM update will give you the weather conditions of the two cities, compare them for you, and add more information about the cities too.
It will look at other information that other people have searched for, such as vaccinations or VISAs, and give it to you within the same results.
You will get a lot more information from the Google MUM update than you would have got in 2019.
Read this article to understand how machine learning and AI contribute to your ranking in the search engines
Google’s MUM vs BERT
Just like the past launches of Google’s algorithms, the latest is always said to be the best.
The Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) algorithm came into being in 2019 and was able to understand user searches more than any other algorithm in the past.
It was at this time when the use of keywords now became the use of key phrases since BERT also wanted to give results based on the user intent.
This meant that the content had to answer certain common questions.
For example, if a user searched for the term “BANK” BERT would look at the intent and look at various intents to give the proper results; terms such as River Bank, A Bank of seats, A seed Bank, A financial Bank, etc.
The statistics say that MUM is a thousand times more powerful than BERT, and one would wonder whether this MUM will always know what is best for users.
One thing that you can be sure about is that the MUM update will change the face of SEO and search as we know it today.
Using the same example, MUM will probably give you results based on your search history when you have used the term BANK before.
This means, that if you are constantly looking at financial data, then the algorithm will probably assume that you intend to get information on financial banks and need a riverbank or seed bank.
So, What Do You Need To Do?
Keep on creating content that is of high quality, has a specific focus, but still opens up a lot of opportunities, through the use of tangential linking to other related topics.
The content that you create should answer the basic questions, and also add more value.
This means using multimedia to support the textual content, as this will be more visible to MUM.
Of course, written content on blog posts articles and web pages will still be the main focus of the algorithm, but there will be a need to add more value to this content by adding videos, podcasts, images, and other multimedia formats.
This would help MUM know the number of new iterations that will be in play when giving results to users.
Google MUM will look at each piece and know that it is relevant, thereby placing it within the search results.
Know that the content you create will now compete with a large number of competitors from all over the world, thanks to the ability of MUM to break down language barriers.
In the past, a person looking for a specific item in the USA may only have received results written in English, but now, a Japanese or Korean manufacturer of the same item will become a competitor, even when the content describing the item is written in the local dialect.
Even though MUM will be able to break down language barriers, it is prudent that you continue having multiple-language versions of your website as part of your SEO.
This will improve the regional ranking of your content. Use it to give you the extra boost over your competition. You will be able to be more relevant if your content is already written in a different language, as opposed to a competitor whose content has to be translated.
You need your content to continue having regional relevance, more neighborhood visibility, and be more relevant verbally and visually.
You should also continue to create content that builds brand recognition and loyalty.
Continue to write engaging and informative content, and don’t forget to add relevant images and other media.
You must also have structured data on your web page to give the algorithm clues about what your content is all about.
You must all bear in mind that this is an AI-powered algorithm update, and it will learn as time goes by.
Although the Google MUM update will widen the search answers that it serves to users, people will still have some knowledge of where to go when looking for answers that they need.
Therefore, the larger pool of search results and competitors will not necessarily reduce the current volume of visitors that you get to your site – as long as you keep showing them that you are an authority within your field.
This is why you must always continue building your expertise and authority within your industry.
Read this Google EAT guidelines article to see how you can build your authority in your industry.
Basically, there are much fewer tricks to use, so all you need to do is make sure that you create content that will be palatable to the MUM update, and make sure that it is of high quality.
If you create content that is captivating, valuable, and relevant to the end-user, then the content will be served up by the MUM update.
On the one hand, you will be able to widen the potential number of new visitors that you get to your website, but on the other hand, it will also widen the number of businesses that you will be competing against.
So, the Google MUM update may be a good thing, as well as a bad thing for many.
The world seems to be heading towards a world driven by the Internet, and language barriers will no longer be an issue.
The question remains whether the power of MUM, when it comes to understanding what people are looking for in the search engine, will open up the search-scape to a truly more worldly experience.
At this moment, one cannot find all the answers to such questions, and many more questions will arise as the rollout of the Google MUM update gains speed.
Time will tell, as Google continues to use the MUM update as time goes on.
Remember, technology and innovation are an ever-fluid entity and never stand still for long.