There’s an old saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
In this case, Google has always been one to keep website owners on their toes when it comes to consistent and breakthrough changes within the digital marketing world.
With each new algorithm or technology upgrade, there’s a new set of rules and guidelines that need to be taken into consideration to improve search optimization.
But, the latest announcement from the tech giant is one of the most exciting and dramatic yet.
At a recent conference, Google debuted MUM — a unique AI-powered algorithm that can handle extremely complex search calculations in seconds.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss this new model for complex search queries and why it is going to make search optimization harder in the future.
What is MUM: Multitask United Model?
Google MUM (Multitask United Model) is the latest iteration of search and the most technologically advanced version yet.
According to Google, the concept behind MUM is a thousand times more powerful than the last iteration, BERT.
It can also interpret images, podcasts, and videos to gain information in seventy-five different languages.
In non-tech speak, MUM is a powerhouse that is the closest experience someone searching the internet can have to asking a living human a question.
It is designed to be a way to scale globally and break language barriers, as the website will be able to look for information in dozens of the world’s top languages.
Need an example of why this is important?
Let’s say you’re looking for information on an obscure museum in Thailand.
➤ Google MUM will automatically be able to translate a local website with information on visiting the topic and provide the information you’re looking for, even if that website is in a language other than English.
But let’s reverse that and say you’re someone who does not speak English, but needs information on visiting a city in the United States.
MUM will automatically translate this content into your native language, making it easier to understand.
More importantly, it will do it in seconds.
This is a big deal in that it breaks barriers as to how information is used across the internet and the access other cultures have to worldwide content.
What Will Change with Google MUM?
Simply put, the release of MUM is a big deal for organic traffic. But maybe not in the way many people might realize.
The biggest difference between MUM and the way Google performs searches now is that the whole model is far more intuitive.
Instead of having to break down web searches into a series of different keywords, questions, or phrases, users can simply ask a single starting question and then follow up with additional questions related to that topic.
MUM will understand immediately what the user is asking and how it relates, much like you would if you were having a conversation with a friend or neighbor.
However, it is incredibly important to note that MUM is still in early stages of what it will ultimately be capable of.
As Pandu Nayak, Google Vice President of Search, points out:
“Though we’re in the early days of exploring MUM, it’s an important milestone toward a future where Google can understand all of the different ways people naturally communicate and interpret information.”
Will Google’s MUM Kill SEO?
As you can tell, the addition of Google’s MUM is leaving a lot of digital marketing experts worried about the changes to come.
While there will likely be some big changes for how content marketing works, the idea that consistently publishing engaging and informative pieces that meet user intent will likely still remain the same.
Here are a few possible things we can expect moving forward in a post-MUM era.
The potential end of keywords
When it comes to performing searches, users are at a huge advantage using MUM.
The intuitive nature of the program makes it almost like a personal assistant for web search that engages in a conversation with the searcher.
The end result is likely less dependence on keywords, as MUM will be able to pull important pieces of information from a wide range of mediums and topics.
Less reliance on written content
Don’t get us wrong.
Written content like blog posts and articles will always be important.
But MUM utilizes video, image, and audio media to get information, too.
That means if you happen to mention an art exhibit in New York on your podcast, Google will be able to tell from that audio that your episode includes that information and add it to search results.
More competition for search
The other aspect that might be a problem for SEO experts moving forward is the increase in competition for search.
With MUM, there are no language or regional barriers. This means that your information is competing against those halfway around the world.
Now, there are certain aspects where local search would still be appropriate.
In that case, it would only make sense to try to amp up the regional aspect of content to make it clear that it relates to a very specific city or neighborhood.
However, we haven’t been given much information on how this plans to be addressed.
Better voice search
More people utilizing tools like Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa means the rules of search are changing.
AIs are starting to become a part of the everyday household, which means accommodating them is going to be important.
MUM is just another step in this popular trend.
This means brands and advertisers need to get on the train when it comes to preparing for higher growth in this area by beginning the process of incorporating AI-related elements into ordinary content.
How to Prepare for Google MUM
Right now, there isn’t enough information out there for digital marketing teams to truly come up with a comprehensive game plan for handling the launch of MUM.
However, that doesn’t mean you should stop publishing content altogether.
In fact, the best way to prepare for MUM is to continue to create excellent content that is both engaging and as informative as possible.
This also ties into another area in which you should be paying a lot of attention: building brand recognition, loyalty, and preference over just content marketing alone.
➤ No matter where Google gets their information, there are still certain places your most loyal followers are going to look when they need an answer to a very specific question in your niche.
If you’ve taken the time to provide value and give them the peace of mind in knowing you’re a trusted expert, it won’t matter what organic search does.
You’ll still achieve the same end results.
That said, there are still a few technical details you can wrap up now to ensure Google has as much information about your page as possible when MUM finally launches.
Adding structured data to each page gives search engines added clues about the context behind your content, which should help moving into this new phase of search.
Why MUM is Good for Users
Of course, we need to take a step back and think about how a change of this magnitude affects users.
After all, even the most seasoned SEO expert has to do a Google search at home every once in a while.
The truth is that MUM is phenomenal from a user standpoint.
Those days where you might have to spend an hour or two researching the right ingredients to make the best chocolate chip cookies or what to wear to go hiking in Alaska are all over.
As Google cites, it will be easier than ever to take a photo of your shoes and ask if they’re appropriate for rock climbing, only to get an answer back from Google in seconds.
For everyone who isn’t concerned about organic traffic or click-through rates, this is the type of search we’ve all really wanted to enjoy for a very long time.
When is MUM Rolling Out?
This is probably the biggest question on everyone’s minds: when is Google going to roll MUM out?
At this point, they are still in the very early stages of announcing the change.
Some reports even still have the current timeframe as somewhere in the middle of beta testing.
That means it could be months or even years before MUM becomes a fully realized thing.
For SEO strategists, that means plenty of time to make adjustments and continue to plan for the new future of search engine optimization, no matter what it looks like.
The Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Google MUM
Google MUM won’t run without good content that spans the categories people are looking for information about.
This means that, despite the big changes, it is more important than ever to keep putting that stellar content out there.
Write those blog posts and add them to your website. Publish a podcast about a specific topic within your niche. Create YouTube videos with details on how your target market can solve a particular problem.
People are going to continue to search for this type of information long into the future.
Google MUM just works faster and more efficiently to get through the garbage and find the best content out there to solve the user’s questions.
And that’s the really awesome part about it…
By continuing to focus on quality over quantity, you likely won’t see a major change after MUM finally rolls out.
What’s even more exciting?
The way MUM breaks down barriers between languages and even continents, the expansion of target markets and audiences is even wider than many of us could have imagined.
This means a blog post you wrote could reach someone on the other side of the world who doesn’t even speak the same language you do.
Which, if you think about it in a very basic sense, it’s a pretty awesome concept.
Wrap Up: Google MUM is the Future of SEO?
While we can’t be sure exactly what the future holds, we know that the addition of MUM to Google search changes everything.
As organic traffic becomes increasingly intertwined with the power of artificial intelligence, it is going to be more critical than ever before to produce quality content that offers the answers people are searching for.
And if you’re interested in learning more about how AI-powered marketing can improve your website traffic and enhance your digital advertising campaigns, here’s a great tip.
Check this amazing webinar with Paul Roetzer, the Founder and CEO of PR 20/20 and Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute!