What to do with MUM, Google's latest computational model

October 21, 2021

You’re still smarter than the machines, especially when it comes to sweet Youtube vids.

Like, when landing on this cool video about mushrooms, you probably noticed certain facts that went unmentioned. Perhaps you identified mushroom species in the video, or simply felt the joy of microscopic life on film. Ethereal data.

Google, however, could not do that. Its analysis has generally been limited to the written language on a page (eg. title, meta descriptions, text, etc.).

That’s about to change with its latest computational model: MUM, or, Multitask Unified Model.

(The latest one that got any attention was BERT, and maybe now the headline of this email makes sense.)

The big revelation? MUM is better at understanding topics, beyond keywords. This will apply to material like…

  • Your accounting software explainer video, or
  • Charts and photos on product pages, or
  • The blog post you thought nobody would ever find about “night cheese”

We don’t think you need to care about the computing model itself, but you might want to anticipate the changes it will bring to Google Search.


Look out for the “Things To Know” feature

The updated Google SERP includes a “Things to Know” feature, which could be a big deal, especially for B2B organic search. It’s a series of drop-downs that will appear on Page 1, inviting users to broaden or narrow their scope of search. In other words, Page 1 is adopting the features of a traditional blog explainer page.

The example that Google gave is that of the search term ‘acrylic paint.’ Search that broad term and ‘Things To Know’ will offer longer-tail options: step-by-step painting instructions, how to clean up acrylic pains, etc.

This means that your longer-tail keyword pages could also appear on Page 1 for shorter-tail, top-of-funnel terms!


🏄 What you can do

In theory, MUM will do a better job of finding the highest quality content for any search term. So your job is still to make and maintain that content. Consider MUM a new set of opportunities to be as useful as possible to your audience.

  • Update content for accuracy, search intent, and formatting. Make sure heading tags are in place on all blogs and explainers. Those technical subjects in the subheads have a chance to appear on Page 1 now, all by themselves.
  • Review search volume for longer-tail keyword posts, and update older posts for relevance and keyword strategy.
  • Optimize the images on your blogs. High-quality visual assets might be more helpful than in the past. And get rid of stock images! They were never doing much for you anyway.

And, if you’re feeling unsure about how to do any of this, you can always schedule office hours with us.


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