A Guide to the Google MUM Update

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A Guide to the Google MUM Update

Every time Google updates their search engine algorithms it seems like the world of SEO begins to panic. They wonder what the changes will mean, not only going forward, but for all the content they have floating around out there in cyberspace. Will it still continue to rank highly, or will they lose all the hard work they’ve put into earning high rankings on page one of the SERPs, Search Engine Results Pages? Well, the short answer to that is simply this. If you’ve done your job and written high quality content, then nothing should change very much. Google is still all about quality content that follows the rules laid down in the early days. In order to understand MUM and what this update means to you, let’s review some of the basics as a starting point.

Don’t Forget to EAT!

Here is the bottom line, the foundation to be aware of, before delving into MUM. Over the past several years, Google has developed several important changes to their search algorithms. It is said that in response to so much disinformation on the web, Google began creating algorithms to weed out misinformation and spam that countered their YMYL, Your Money or Your Life, standard of quality. In other words, so much misinformation was floating around out there that it became a threat to the reader’s finances or their very life.

Therefore, EAT became of prime importance when ranking pages, but this also, is a highly misunderstood factor. EAT is the acronym for Expertise, Authority and Trust. This metric is a key factor in Google rankings but the metrics for ranking a commentary blog post would be different than the trust or authority required of a science or medical web page. In short, any content you create should hold to the highest levels of Expertise, Authority, and Trust within a given field. Nothing has changed there when it comes to MUM.

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In the Beginning Was BERT

Prior to MUM, Google launched BERT in mid to late 2019. This was something the search giant had never done before as it was an open-sourced technique that was network based. BERT was intended for natural language processing, NLP, and it was more powerful than any algorithm before it. The acronym BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, which is almost too technologically advanced for even the techiest of us in the profession. The point is, it was the closest thing to AI Google had instituted to date and it allowed for those nuances in language often overlooked by the search engines when ranking content.

Many people say, to this day, that social media platforms like Facebook could learn from this particular AI so that fewer people would be side-lined for days or weeks due to innocuous statements misunderstood by their algorithms. Intelligent translations of nuanced speech make it easier to understand content, and when ranking websites, that is of utmost importance. BERT’s translation of nuanced content made it easier to rank pages based on EAT, Expertise, Authority, and Trust. Prior to BERT, too many keywords and key phrases were misunderstood or misplaced in the ranking metrics which didn’t give content creators a fair shot at high rankings.

MUM Knows Best

As powerful as BERT proved to be, MUM is said to be at least 1000X ‘smarter’ and more powerful than BERT. MUM, or the Multitask Unified Model of handling complex search queries, has key features barely introduced in previous algorithms. Some of the key features include:

  • Carries out multiple search queries simultaneously
  • Built on open-sourced Transformer technology
  • MUM is an AI that is contextual and can generate and understand languages
  • Searches across 75 languages and many tasks simultaneously
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And those are just a few of the amazingly innovative and complex features in Google’s latest and greatest (to date) search indexing algorithm. It is also important to know that MUM will rank highly on multimedia content and that any and all content should have solid substance. Any content that is nothing more than fluff will be immediately downgraded so that content writers need to EAT everything they write! The key concept in all this is Expertise, Authority and Trust. MUM will seek content that answers questions and is factual and informative. Again, this particular AI ranking algorithm also has built-in levels of grading based on the kind of content being created. Therefore, scientific journals will be held to much stricter standards than a fashion blog.

UX at the Heart of MUM

Anyone who has been writing content for any length of time may remember the days when writers were hired to put together paragraph after paragraph of keywords and key phrases without a single sentence in the mix. For anyone looking to do a bit of research, this was beyond frustrating. You’d land on a page hoping to find informative content only to be confronted with what amounted to nothing more than gibberish, aka spam. While you are unlikely to find this kind of ‘content’ any longer, some of the writing you may encounter isn’t much better than a series of keywords.

Google seeks informative content that speaks with authority within a given field. It’s all about enriching the User Experience so that readers leave with something of value to them. Today’s audience demands nothing less than well-written, informative content that answers questions they may have. No matter what end of the business you are in, it is vital to remember that enriching the UX is of prime importance. Anything less and you haven’t done your job. It’s no longer a matter of worrying whether or not a visitor will bounce right off your pages because you have nothing to say of any importance. Now it’s truly a matter of ranking high enough in the SERPs to be found in the first place.

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Google’s MUM knows best and if you want to rank highly in the SERPs, you’ll listen to MUM! Unless you follow the directives, you just might find yourself in time out without parole.