At Evans Group Marketing, we are the proven choice for small business search engine marketing for your site! We bring the same SEM and optimization technology used by top tier businesses worldwide and apply it consistently to our small business and non-profit clients. Your growth goals are our first priority at Evans Group Marketing, and we’ll be with you every step of the way. Web content performance optimization geared to Google’s  MUM (Multitask Unified Model) – an AI designed to analyze and generate content as a human would, and 1000 times more powerful than the BERT algorithm previously used is what we do.

Google MUM (Multitask Unified Model)

MUM (Multitask Unified Model) is an AI designed to analyze and generate content as a human would. It’s an evolution of the BERT algorithm, except it is 1000 times more powerful.

The main goal of MUM is to address complex search queries. Currently, these types of queries require an average of six-eight searches to resolve. Google is looking to predict what those searches are, and address as many of them as possible on a single SERP. Google is sharing the AI across its departments in hopes that MUM will be able to solve other search challenges as well, and you can expect MUM to pop up more and more with each new Google update from now on.

How will the search engine results change with MUM?

The goal of MUM is to answer complex search queries and to trim down the buyer journey from the six-eight steps onto a single SERP. Of the announced MUM-related features, most look like an advanced recommendation system.

No more 10 blue links

The 10 blue links on a SERP have been relegated to a lower position for a while now. Google displays their paid advertisements at the top of their results pages, and frequently follow that with their local map of related businesses. If there are no paid ad spots, you’ll usually see the map, with businesses who have developed their Google Business listings. Then you get to the 10 blue links area, and results are earned by being relevant in Google’s evaluation of your content. Even there, the competition is rough, and a link in the top ten for that search term may actually put you on page 2 of the SERP. or worse. Add Google’s introduction of rich context results and being only dropped to page 2 in the results may be an accomplishment.

Bottom line, even though the listings are still relevant to SEO and SEM, they are no longer the golden ring. With the introduction of MUM, the importance of the conventional search results will be diminished even further. If you don’t provide valuable and relevant content for Google to index and rely on “tricks” to get higher in the SERP, YOU WILL have issues as MUM is applied to results. The upper part of SERP will become much more engaging, and even fewer clicks will trickle down to the regular blue links leading to your website or specific page in your site.

No more rankings and SERP positions

Kind of continuing the previous point, the concept of ranking in a certain SERP position will become largely meaningless.

First, with so many special features occupying the top part of SERP does it even matter if you rank first after about ten “non-organic” MUM generated search results?

Second, MUM is supposed to pay much more attention to the context of the query. This means that two different people using the exact same query will probably get two different SERPs. The difference will come from things like their search history, location, stage of the buyer journey, and overall content preferences. This is also not new, but it’s going to become much more pronounced with MUM.

Third, Google is moving away from showing ten similar pages on SERP and is moving towards showing a fully multimodal (text, image, video) SERP with a bit of everything thrown together. It looks like sometime in the future Google will abandon the leaderboard type of SERP altogether, and fully commit to the wiki type of SERP.

Bottom line in this type of SERP, you are either featured or not, and you don’t directly compete with others in the same SERP, because each of you delivers a different type of content. It’s not like you are in position one or two or three. You either made it or you didn’t and that’s it.

Adapting your SEO strategy to MUM

MUM does not require a radical adjustment of your SEO strategy. That being said, it does put more weight on some of the newer SEO elements, things like entities and advanced content markup. Not the end of the world, just takes rethinking your focus and building content that focuses on entities and updating or redesigning your content accordingly. Content is still king, and his queen it still relevant content – for your searchers! If you can focus on what the searcher is really looking for in your content, you will make it with MUM.

Don’t give up on classic SEO

One of the things about complicated algorithms is that they require a lot of processing power. Yes, Google is now capable of analyzing your pages in much more detail, but it still doesn’t have the capacity to analyze every single page on the web.

So, what Google is likely to do is use a simpler algorithm to pre-select pages based on relevance, quality, and authority, and then use MUM to pull specific pieces of content from these pages. Same as before, you have to establish subject relevance with entities, authority with backlinks, and quality with user experience signals.

That should be your focus as I doubt that MUM will ever look at pages that don’t have these covered.

Pick entities over keywords

Google used to evaluate page relevance based on the number of times a certain keyword is repeated on a page. The more the keyword is repeated, the more relevant the page is.

Today, with MUM the relevance is more about how the page fits into the larger context of the subject. Does it come from a website that specializes in this subject? Is the content written by an author who is an expert? Does it mention other associated entities? Does it link (external sources) to relevant sources? Is it linked to by other relevant websites? Directories are going to play a very big part there and that has been going on for a while.

Establishing entities goes beyond just keywords. It’s a combination of using the right keywords (in moderation), building links (not just backlinks), and adding proper markup.

Try to imitate Google’s approach in your content strategy. If you are creating content for a product, your goal is to cover each step of the customer journey. It works the same way with a service.

Let’s say you’re a service contractor and your website is to help build your brand and generate new customers, and you are creating content to help you do that. Think of every type of question and every piece of information that’ll get your customers from thinking about the service to getting the service from you.

For example, at least some of your customers will start their journeys by looking up how to do something. They will naturally need a step-by-step guide, both in text and video format, and YouTube is the logical direction there.

In the future, you will be able to source these questions from MUMs Things to know and Broaden/Refine this search. But you can start today by exploring existing recommendation features in SERP, and adding more useful information to your content. “People also ask” on the SERP is a good guide on what content is useful.

Google is turning in a more obvious commercial direction. By shortening buyer journeys with multimodal SERPs Google now has an excuse to show product suggestions for almost any type of search, even if the searcher intent is not immediately transactional. If you want to participate in this kind of SERP, then you have to play ball and help Google find these relevant pieces of information on your pages.

  • Don’t give up on classic SEO

  • Pick entities over keywords

  • Focus on the customer journey

Bottom Line with MUM

The main implication of MUM is the shift from a leaderboard type of SERP to a wiki type of SERP. Complex queries will now be addressed by SERPs loaded with special features, to the point where regular snippets would be pushed so far down the page that they will become irrelevant. For these queries, we should probably abandon the idea of ranking in a certain SERP position and instead focus on being featured in one of the special features at the top of the page.

To play this game, you’d have to make your pages MUM-eligible with classic ranking signals, like relevance, authority, and quality. Once this is done, you can focus on creating more types of content per query and making this content more digestible through markup and clean content structure. It’s nothing new in terms of SEO, except before these things were just advisable, and now they are mandatory.

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