Google’s MUM Update And Everything You Need To Know

A graphic for the Google MUM update

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Hey Google, hey Alexa, hey Siri…

It’s probably safe to assume that all of us have relied on AI technology at some point in our everyday lives; whether that be through our phones or through a pod in our homes. As we are becoming more accustomed to receiving quick answers to our complex search queries, this has led Google to introduce AI into their search engine with their latest update, it’s time to meet Google’s MUM.

  • What Is The MUM Update?
  • Effects Of The MUM Update
  • Benefits Of The MUM Update

What Is The MUM Update?

‘Multitask Unified Model’ also known as MUM was launched in June 2021 by Google as the solution to providing clearer search results to queries. Rather than users needing to type multiple searches to get to the search results they need, MUM uses AI technology to provide search results that better address a users intent and behaviours.

To put this into an example, say you are going on a trip to Paris for the weekend and you want to ask Google for the best places to eat near your Montmartre hotel, a complex search that features not only food recommendations, but also location and language hurdles.

Typically Google search would need to break down your question into ‘restaurants near Montmatre’, then you would compare yourself which are the best based on separate customer reviews and images etc.
However, with the launch of MUM and its deeper understanding of language and user experience, it will treat your search query closer to how a human would, providing accurate search results that better answer your query without the need to ask further questions and in a conversational manner.

When explaining their MUM update, Google stated that ‘’people issue eight queries on average for complex tasks’ and the introduction of AI aims to be the solution to answering those complex tasks that don’t have a straightforward answer.

This would mean that you could ask Google a more direct search query such as ‘what are the best restaurants near Montmatre’ the way you would ask a Parisian, and Google will answer conversationally with restaurants showing positive reviews close to your hotel. But how does it do this and what are the effects?

Effects Of The MUM Update

The main effects we will see as a result of Google’s MUM update will revolutionise the use of language and format in search engines. Examples include its capability to understand 75 different languages – if you’re searching for great Parisian restaurants then the best answer may be in French!

Luckily, Google’s MUM can translate information from previously unregarded sources, opening an avenue to clearer information to suit a users search query.

The Google MUM update can also provide answers from a wider range of content formats besides text including podcats, human reviews, images, documents (HTML, PDF, TXT), video and audio. If there is a podcast where french foodies discuss the best places to eat close to where you are staying, you will now be able to see it in Google’s search results, c’est magnifique!

A graphic for the Google MUM update and how the search works

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Before the MUM update, Google’s search engine used BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), an algorithm that behaved more robotically by breaking down our search queries into commonly used key phrases and terms. Although it provided strong search results, they were not always accurate.

However, MUM is said to be 1000 times more powerful than BERT with its ability to provide a conversational search experience and faster answers to complex search queries, something Google has wanted to deliver since the Hummingbird update in 2013.

‘For the first time in my life, it made me feel like it might be possible to make some progress on a small part of the AI dream within our lifetime.’
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Benefits Of The MUM Update

Improved User Search Experience

When there isn’t a straightforward answer for a user, it can become frustrating as they need to type out the multiple searches necessary to get to their complex query. What’s great about Google’s MUM update is that users will get the search results they need faster and clearer with MUM’s ability to better understand the intent behind each query providing not only a direct answer but even being able to recommend further information for the user to consider. This will create an overall more unique and more satisfying user search experience.

Breaking Down Language And Format Barriers

MUM will use the uses the ‘T5 text-to-text framework’ which basically means that valuable content that went was once unregistered by Googles algorithm due to language or format limitations will no longer exist. Google’s MUM update will now be able to visually explore and offer information hidden in an image, mentioned in an audio clip, stated by a customer review and so much more.

This is particularly great news for smaller businesses since their feedback from customers will now matter even more and hopefully increase their visibility in Google’s algorithm. In addition to this, if that business is also from another country with a website written in French, for example, they now have the potential to get recommended by Google on a global scale.

Google MUM and its better understanding of international language and formats of information in a graphic
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Disregarding Poorly-Pitched Content

This benefit is will be more appreciated by SEO experts and this is why. BERT benefitted content that provided broader answers to user’s searches that were more common and less clear, meaning content that was possibly higher quality could be outranked or worse, disregarded if they did not answer machine-friendly key terms. However, as BERT goes into retirement and MUM’s use of AI technology to enhance machine learning makes more complex content valuable, this should benefit those that prioritise user intent behind searches.

In Conclusion

This major advancement for Google should not cause any drastic changes to digital marketing SEO, that is if you continue to provide SEO that prioritises good user experience and high-quality content. Although there will be important things to consider such as:

  • With more content for Google to utilise in different languages and formats, it creates more competition for the content you provide. Therefore you should make sure that you continue creating high quality, relevant content that also enables MUM to compare your content to related topics based on Google searches. Perhaps consider multi-lingual SEO as part of your digital marketing strategy to understand the best ways to compete on a global scale.
  • Written content will always be valued most by Google when scanning for answers to queries so keep up on blog posts, articles and other forms of writing to remain relevant. Although, now you should also focus on implementing more formats of content into your website such as images, video and audio content as this will make you look more authoritative in the information you are providing and offer more ways for Google and user’s to find your content.
  • As competition for search engine attention grows, it is more important than ever to build up your brand recognition and loyalty with your consumers as brand-based searches show direct user intent and always result in a higher click-through rate. Remain active on social platforms, encourage customers to leave feedback and create engaging, reliable content that makes users want to come back to your business for more.

With fewer places for poor SEO tactics to hide, this is where quality SEO agencies like Tecmark succeed as we deliver SEO strategies unique to our clients, alongside forward-thinking campaigns that regard search trends. Contact Tecmark today to find out how we can improve your business’s SEO strategy.

Ellis Owen
Ellis Owen
Ellis Owen is an SEO Creative Copywriter at Tecmark who joined us in 2021. She has a degree in Creative Advertising from the University of Lincoln specialising in creative strategy and copywriting. She enjoys combining her skills in the realm of advertising with the exciting SEO industry and uses our agency setting to develop her talents further.

We create websites with your customer in mind to help you build your brand and grow your business.

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