Google MUM Algorithm Update

Search Engine Optimization is highly influenced by Google’s Algorithm updates and these tweaks always keep SEO practitioners on their toes. Indeed, keeping a tab on the latest algo updates is an essential and on-going task requirement for SEO. In Google’s line-up of updates, the latest and most prominent one currently is the Google MUM update which aims at taking the user’s search experience to the next level.

So, in this post we’ll try to understand what this update is all about and how can we align our SEO efforts to stay in the good books of Google. Lets dive in…

What is Google’s MUM update and Why Does it Matter?

Google’s Multitask Unified Model (MUM) algorithm update aims to improve online search capabilities by using artificial intelligence. Users are often faced with multiple searches, geographic, and language barriers when they use search engines. Google’s new algorithm will be able to detect and identify multiple topics at once, allowing users to find relevant information across various platforms such as Google images, YouTube videos and individual websites. It will help tackle complex search queries which may typically require multiple searches by predicting what those searches are and address as many of them as possible on a single SERP (Search Engine Result Pages).

The algorithm will also allow for better results based on location (see also Local SEO) and language and can translate up to 75 different languages, including texts and images. This update bids farewell to one of the many preceding updates called BERT that was rolled out in 2019. So, it’s an evolution of the BERT algorithm, except it is 1000 times more powerful. Google MUM algorithm breaks down language barriers to give us the most comprehensive search engine functionality ever. It’s faster, broader, and more thorough than any previous search engine update. This certainly matters in a world where people expect detailed, relevant, and correct answers in seconds — anywhere, any time.

How Google MUM Helps Get Things Done

On average, Google finds that it takes people eight searches to complete complex tasks. The Google MUM update when fully rolled out will attempt to predict and answer all these searches in a single SERP….so think of it as an advanced recommendation system.

For example, if a user has a query like “I’ve hiked Mt. Adams and now want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, what should I do differently to prepare?” then today, users would have to search for different pieces of information to answer that question, such as the elevation of each mountain, the average temperature in the fall, difficulty of the hiking trails, the right gear to use, and more. However, Google MUM algorithm would be able to deliver a response that a hiking expert would give to the same question. Furthermore, it is capable of surfacing helpful subtopics for deeper exploration, like the top-rated gear or best training exercises. Search results would direct the user to helpful articles, videos, and images from across the web.

How to Adjust Your SEO Strategy for MUM

Google MUM update doesn’t require a radical change in your SEO strategy. But it does put more weight onto some new SEO elements, like entities and advanced content markups. This list shows what you need to do now to prepare for the introduction of MUM into Google.

  1. As before, you need to establish subject relevance with content, authority with links, and quality with UX signals on your website
  2. Optimize for topics and entities rather than be fixated on keywords
  3. Try to emulate Google’s content strategy…your goal when writing content for a product must then be to cover every step of the customer journey from awareness to purchase
  4. Markup your content with Schema Markup which helps you get rich snippets in SERPs and highlights important content pieces within your webpages
  5. Make your content multimodal. Yes, it should be a combination of text, images, and videos at a minimum

Final thoughts

The Google MUM update will trigger a shift from a traditional leader board-style SERP to a wiki-style SERP.  As a result, complex queries will now be addressed with special features, which means that regular snippets will be pushed so far down a page that they will become completely irrelevant. For these queries, rather than focusing on ranking for a specific SERP position, we should focus on being featured in a special feature at the top of the results page. 

To stay abreast with such Google Algorithm updates, SEO ranking factors and more, attend our eCommerce course (includes SEO) here!

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Instructor: Azhar Katib

About the author

Azhar Katib is the founder-director of WebSell Solutions Ptd Ltd., a company specializing in online presence management for SMEs in Singapore and Malaysia.

He has a background IT and Digital Marketing for the past 25+ years. He is also a trainer for Singapore SkillsFuture Programs