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Google recently announced its latest endeavor to revolutionize its Search technology. The forthcoming MUM update (Multitask Unified Model) is expected to significantly improve the search process—delivering better results to queries and giving searchers the answers they need quickly. Google says that with this new technology they’re “getting closer to helping you with complex needs. So in the future you’ll need fewer searches to get things done”.

While the MUM update will be similar to BERT in which it is built to better understand search queries, Google says it will be “1,000 times more powerful” and will be able to answer questions the way an expert would. Google also states MUM is “trained across 75 different languages and many different tasks at once, allowing it to develop a more comprehensive understanding of information and world knowledge than previous models. And MUM is multimodal, so it understands information across text and images and, in the future, can expand to more modalities like video and audio.”

MUM Update example

Courtesy of Google

With this impactful update on the horizon (“MUM-powered features and improvements” will be coming to Google’s products “in the coming months and years”), we reached out to experts in the marketing industry to gather their insights on how this impact will impact local businesses, why marketers should care, and any advice they have for preparing for the impending update. 

Here is what they had to say:

Derek Hawkins Headshot

Derek Hawkins, Manager SEO, Reprise Digital

Marketers, both local and enterprise-focused, will continue to be challenged in how they reach audiences in a world in which Google relies on self-built language models to generate AI-expert results rather than content generated across the web. In short, MUM is to SEOs/Marketers what Tesla’s DTC (Direct to Consumer) sales model or Carvana is to car dealerships.

Google's MUM update, along with their other AI approaches to search, signals Google's intent to shift search from keywords and indexes, to provide more customized, user-intent driven results for an audience's questions. - @Derek_M_HawkClick To Tweet

Amanda Tento, Google My Business Expert and EducatorAmanda Tento Headshot

There are two main ways this will affect Google My Business listings and Google Maps and Search results. Google has been pulling keywords from business descriptions, update descriptions, reviews, and review responses for some time. This update will allow for better search results to be displayed if the business is properly using the targeted keywords their ideal customers are searching with. 

The second way is that Google will start displaying Google My Business listings on Maps based on the time of day and relevance to your searches. For example, they may show more doctors’ offices, chiropractors, dentists, and businesses that have daytime hours on the maps near you during the day. Businesses that are open at night like restaurants and movie theaters will display more prominently during those times. 

Overall, the MUM update is good for businesses that properly manage their Google My Business listings.Click To Tweet

Darrell Williams, Founder of Growth Hack GuidesDarrell Williams Headshot

I believe the MUM update will increase eCommerce sales in the near future. Google stated the MUM update would eventually give users the ability to take a picture to receive product recommendations based on the search query entered. 

Looking ahead, eCommerce stores should prioritize providing more specificity to product descriptions and implement FAQ schema.

By implementing FAQ schema and providing more specificity to descriptions, site owners can give Google additional context for possible inclusion in product recommendations from the MUM update. - @gwthhackguidesClick To Tweet

Andrew McCauley, Content Marketer and Google My Business Expert at Flashlight MarketingAndrew McCauley Headshot

The new MUM update is going to throw a few curveballs for most marketers, especially content marketers.  Google appears to be taking the hard work out of creating good and engaging content, but the downfall is that traffic will possibly drop significantly if the searcher finds all they need in the SERPs.

If you are a content creator, make sure you give yourself a chance by making sure all of your pages have structured data so you are eligible to appear in the rich results. - @andymac71Click To Tweet

Sherry Bonelli, Owner, Early Bird Digital MarketingSherry Bonelli Headshot

MUM can handle complex tasks/searches. Instead of doing multiple searches for a complex question, MUM can multitask and will be able to find the answer to a complicated search query using multiple sources and mediums at the same time.

Also, I think adding real photos taken by the business owner (or a professional photographer hired by the business owner) will make a difference. Stock photos just won’t cut it anymore. It will be even more important than ever to include Alt tags that describe the pictures in detail. Including more videos on pages will also be necessary. 

Companies will – more than ever – need to thoughtfully write content that thoroughly explains complex and detailed answers to questions users ask. That type of quality content is going to be even more important for the MUM update. - @sherrybonelliClick To Tweet

The content of the pages will need to be carefully structured with headings that are well thought out and each word in the copy must be written with the question of the user in mind.

Here is an example of how a local business might think about MUM as they write a blog post. 

If you are a local Springer Spaniel puppy breeder, a question some people might ask is: “What do I need to bottle feed puppies with milk replacement?”

You would want to write content, include images with detailed Alt tags, and include video around just some of these topics:

  • Why might a breeder need to bottle feed the puppies? Is the mother sick and on medication that will harm the puppies if they nurse? Does she have mastitis? Etc.

A good Alt Tag to use for the photo that accompanies this question might be: Springer Spaniel mom got sick and is on medication so she can no longer nurse her puppies

  • How do you properly bottle feed a puppy?

A good Alt Tag to use for the photo that accompanies this question might be: Bottle feed a puppy with them laying on their tummy – just like they would if they were nursing from their mom.

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