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What Is the Multitask Unified Model (MUM)?

Google is about to make our searches much more interesting and significantly faster.

We have known for a few months that Google was preparing something radically different from its current BERT algorithm. Google first unveiled its plans for MUM, its new search engine algorithm, in May 2021. The company is now planning to unroll MUM in the coming months.

What is so different about MUM? Google wants to make it easy for its users to get quick and accurate answers to long-form, complex questions. Google’s MUM algorithm is based on AI and its new search abilities will be machine-learning based.

Google wants users to obtain all the information they want in one single search. The algorithm will supply detailed answers that will include texts, videos, audio, and photos.

The world of Internet searching is about to become very exciting, even though the final upgrade could take some time.

How Does MUM Work?

The new Google algorithm already speaks 75 languages and can carry many tasks at once. The expectation is that it will “read” through pages of texts, audiobooks, podcasts, photos, and even infographics to deliver information that is relevant to a complex question. This explains the “unified” aspect of its search results.

Why Did Google Develop MUM?

Simple questions work fine with Google’s existing search result system. If, for example, you ask, “when was Lincoln born,” you get a precise answer with the familiar ten blue links on the first page. More authoritative, accurate, and popular websites are ranked first with the rest of them following.

However, Google has discovered that complex questions require users to make consecutive searches. This takes time and sometimes the user doesn’t get the answers they need.

For instance, “why tulips don’t grow in my Texas garden?” is a complex question. First, you need to search where tulips grow, then search what the soil and climate are like there, then look up information on Texas climate and soil, and finally put together all the information you just received to figure out what went wrong with your tulip-growing adventure in Texas. To answer one question you have to make a series of consecutive searches on Google, sifting through various websites to find your answer.

Google wants to simplify that process by making it smarter. It wants to deliver an answer to your initial question because its AI can now better understand what type of relevant information it needs to show you as an answer to your complex question. In our example, the algorithm will show you information about climate, types of soil, growing conditions for tulips, and their relevance to Texas. Not only that, but it will also include photos and other visual and audio formats in its results.

Even better, since MUM speaks several languages, it will also show results from other languages, which you probably don’t speak. In our tulip scenario, MUM may well show you results from Dutch websites, where they explain the intricacies of growing tulips. Right now, you wouldn’t be able to understand these sites due to the language barrier. With Google’s help, however, you may be able to gain access to specialized information that is currently beyond your reach.

Additionally, the AI will display shops near you that sell tulip bulbs and garden equipment to help you with your gardening. All in all, Google wants to distribute pertinent but extensive information in a single go.

What Does MUM Mean for Google Users?

Most Google users will likely find the new algorithm really helpful. MUM will sift millions of pages and the information contained there to deliver answers to complex questions in milliseconds.

However, that’s not all. Google wants MUM to take online search to new levels: users will be able to upload a photo and ask Google questions about it. Going back to our tulip example, you could upload a photo of your failed tulip bulbs and ask Google what the problem is. MUM will scan the photo, understand the question, and deliver results that answer that question, such as bulb illnesses, ideal soil conditions for growing tulips, etc. This aspect of MUM will take longer to deliver but Google is intent on delivering maximum user satisfaction.

Once that happens, Google will have taken one step closer to creating the ideal virtual assistant.

What Does MUM Mean for SEO?

Marketing agencies are excitedly looking to see how the new Google MUM algorithm will affect SEO.

Even though it can take several months—if not years—for Google to fully roll out its MUM algorithm, marketing agencies need to be prepared.

MUM and Keywords

SEO experts are reexamining the significance of keywords and how the new algorithm will evaluate them. How will MUM choose which websites, photos, or videos to display in search queries? Will keywords carry the same weight as they do today or will MUM understand what a website means without the need for specific keywords?

MUM and Content

We believe that quality, search-engine-optimized content will always be a winner. As a marketing agency, our SEO experts think that excellent content will keep businesses visible in the eye of MUM. Content that answers user questions will immediately show up in MUM search results.

For instance, let’s consider once more the hypothetical gardener with a tulips problem. If you are a garden center and have posted blog posts about bulb diseases (not necessarily tulips), MUM will make the connection between tulips, disease, and bulbs and display your content. Therefore, content that is diversified and helpful will help MUM rank your website much higher.

MUM and Visual Material

Because MUM is expected to include visual and audio content in its search results, videos, podcasts, talks, photos, and even infographics will gain prominence.

Our suggestion is that you start now by including such material in your posts’ portfolio. It will help you stay ahead of the competition because of the pool of visual and audio material you will have created by the time MUM is fully rolled out.

MUM and Content over Platforms

It is possible that competition between Google and social media platforms will further intensify. MUM will provide Google with the tools it needs to capture content and information across several media. Perhaps people will find that using Google is now easier than checking social media accounts.

For instance, take our aforementioned tulip example: right now, you may check social media to find a garden center, their contact details and offers, and anything related to tulip bulbs. In the future, however, you may get all this information on Google by performing a single search.

We need to see how Google unfolds its MUM algorithm and what types of data and information it will be scanning through.

MUM and InSync

Our SEO and content teams are watching closely how Google updates its algorithms. We have already jotted down several ideas and new strategies about how to improve our clients’ SEO rankings.

Contact InSync Media online to arrange your free exploratory meeting or call us now at 970-901-5216 to set out a strategy about how your business can increase its audience and bring in more sales thanks to MUM!

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