What is MUM?

MUM is the next giant leap from BERT, anyone that has been following my content will know how excited I was about BERT - well MUM is NEXT LEVEL, it is said to be 1,000 times more powerful than BERT! MUM is Google significantly, in our words, ‘moving the game on’. It represents a massive step forward in Google’s ability to understand information and to deliver better search results. 

It is a ‘multimodal AI model’ which means it can understand information across a wider range of formats, at the same time. For example, this means Google will start to be able to understand text, image and video simultaneously. 

Why we care

Why am I so excited about this? Because this is one giant leap further forward in Google being more human and that aligns perfectly with what we do here at Reflect Digital. 

MUM should make Google as close to asking an expert IRL as you can get. With Google being able to understand the linked questions that are highly probable based on one single question. 

The example Google used to illustrate this was someone that had hiked up one mountain and wanted to tackle another. In real life, you could say to a hiking expert - “I’ve hiked up X, I want to go for Y next - what do I need to do differently to prepare.” They would be able to offer you lots of insight and understand the nuances of the task. Right now to achieve this on Google you would need to perform several different searches and could still miss some of the insights you need since asking the right questions requires the right knowledge. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. MUM will completely reinvent the way Google can answer questions like this. 

MUM is also able to break down language barriers, it is trained across 75 different languages currently, so can bring you content you would otherwise not have been able to find. 

What exactly does MUM mean for search - in truth, we don’t quite know yet, but what I do know is that we should really be thinking about the different types of content that our users want. Previously, different formats of content have sometimes been a barrier, not knowing how you could optimise them to be found by your audience. So although right now, we still don’t fully have that answer, we know it is coming and we can start to be prepared. So being a brand with a content strategy that has encompassed all formats your customer might desire will put you ahead of those that have not. 

It’s like Google has been spying on our internal meetings 😂 - as this is exactly the future we want for search - we want it to be more human! Our behavioural experts, like me, are so excited about a world where the link between different relevant topics becomes easier to surface. As humans we are amazing at cross-referencing all the information we have stored and having epiphanies - those moments where you go ‘oh and also….’ - Google has never before been able to do this, but the future looks promising and this is exactly the kind of future we inspire our clients to think about. Making your strategy more human-focused will deliver stronger results. 

What does this mean for you?

At Reflect Digital our focus will continue to be on the importance of an intent-led content strategy and linking these themes together. If we think about how MUM will work, we are likely to see fewer queries, as with one query a user should get answers to multiple queries, but if on your website you can make it easy for Google to find all of those linked answers, you may have more opportunity to be surfaced. This should be a benefit to your existing strategy today, as well as planning for the future, as this content will be satisfying the needs of your audience.

We are likely to see less reliance on keywords, as users will be performing fewer searches, this is likely to be a long term trend - old habits die hard - until we see MUM becoming more prominent with new releases and features plus considering users getting used to the new ways of searching. So this is definitely not the time to ditch your keyword strategy. But, you should think about how it extends into different types of content more so. For example, in the future, if you have a podcast which within the content talks about hiking a particular mountain, Google may choose to surface this in the example above. 

Top tips for preparing for MUM

  1. Continue to expand your content strategy based on intent, but think bigger than on-page content. When thinking about your content topic pillars, start to layer in what can be served via text, image, video, podcast or by a more immersive means such as AI/VR.
  2. Transcripts for content - when creating different types of content e.g. videos or podcasts, put transcripts where possible, or blogs summarising the content so that you can gain benefits from this today but also have the content for the future.
  3. Metaverse - we don’t have a date for when we will start to see some of the new MUM features, but also on the horizon is the Metaverse - therefore no content should be off the table! Think about AR/VR - how might this apply to your audience today or in the future? How could your product or service be relevant in the Metaverse? MUM is powered by AI and will no doubt look to bridge the gap between Web 2.0 and the Metaverse. 
  4. Structured data - this will continue to be useful to search engines, so ensure you are using as much structured data as possible to help the search engines understand your website pages. 
  5. Images - ensure you are optimising all images on your website with alt tags (thinking about image sitemaps where relevant) and those images in particular that carry important information. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ - but pictures haven’t always been favoured by SEO’s, this could change with MUM, so ensure you are considering the best format for the user to display your content. For today, ensure you have a backup plan - for example, optimise images with alt tags but also as part of a wider blog that explains what the picture demonstrates. 

 

Summary

In conclusion, there is no immediate panic to do something different based on MUM, but there are lots of things you can consider to ensure you are ahead of the game. Everything I have suggested in this article is good for today and in preparation for the future. It is all about focusing your strategy to be ‘customer first’, ensuring you have the right content to inform and educate your audience and to build trust and loyalty. Your strategy should encapsulate a wide range of formats because as humans, we are all different and we all digest information in different ways - the wider your footprint of content types, the more diverse and inclusive your strategy will be. 

If you want to find out more about putting humans at the centre of your strategy, then please get in contact with me. I believe that with our human-centric approach inspired by the future of technology we can help any business to gain a competitive advantage. 

MEET THE AUTHOR.

meet-becky

MEET THE AUTHOR.

BECKY SIMMS

Reflect Digital was once nothing but a dream in Becky’s head. Becky is Reflect Digital’s CEO, having started Reflect Digital in 2011 she has grown the business to the strong agency team it is today.

Becky is a strategist at heart, and she shares her experience and knowledge with the Reflect Digital team and the business we work with. Full of creative ideas but with an eye always on ROI, Becky has a natural talent for spotting campaign opportunities and ensuring value is delivered.

More about Becky
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