The Google MUM Update: What It Means for the Future of SEO

google mum update
For a long time now, internet users have struggled with language and geographical barriers when using search engines. That explains why Google constantly upgrades its algorithms to improve how search engines rank websites. Besides addressing bugs, the updates enhance the quality of search results for a better user experience. However, the Google MUM update is nothing like past rollouts. While other updates utilize different trained models for various tasks, MUM uses one system for ranking, indexing, and data retrieval.

Understanding the Google MUM Update

MUM, which stands for Multitask Unified Model, emerged in May 2021, taking over from BERT. The update depends on AI to identify content relevant to a user’s search intent. That way, you don’t need multiple searches to find relevant results. MUM comes with the following features:

  • Zoom Topic: It allows users to refine or broaden their searches. For instance, you can begin with a simple query and narrow down the search to detailed results. You can also expand the search to view the topic from a general angle.
  • Things to Know: This feature provides pathways relevant to a user’s initial search. Google identifies what people look for in a topic, and displays surface content before users search for the related queries.
  • Visual Search: MUM offers visual inspiration through a browsable results page. By merging text and images, this feature supports visual queries when you cannot describe your searches using words alone. According to Google, one Visual Search Application is using the Lens icon to find identical patterns on different clothing items.

Other Google Updates

The Google MUM update follows other algorithm releases. For example, the 2015 Hummingbird update sought to understand a user’s search intent before delivering query results. Google also launched RankBrain that year. But, while the update was intent-focused, RankBrain delivered search results based on user history.
Another important update was Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT). Google released this deep learning strategy in 2019 to better interpret language and keep search results relevant. The impact might not have been instant—but the innovation taught content creators to prioritize users over search engines. That notwithstanding, the Google MUM update is estimated 1,000 times more capable than BERT. 

Using MUM Effectively?

There are several steps to follow to be successful with MUM. First off, create high-quality content. Besides answering user queries, content should provide value using various multimedia formats for better MUM visibility.
While you shouldn’t completely ditch keyword matching, find creative ways to focus content on search intent. Additionally, include structured data on the page to serve as clues. Don’t hesitate to incorporate multilingual SEO into your strategy. Although MUM can process around 75 languages, a multilingual approach increases your regional relevance.  

Will MUM Change SEO?

Some may argue the Google MUM update is the end of traditional SEO. However, this innovation ushers in a diverse SEO era that combines text with other media formats. MUM helps businesses understand their audiences by identifying what users look for and related topics. Like past updates, MUM may effect changes over time to improve user experience. Contact Uptick Marketing for more help regarding your SEO-related questions!