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Wait, what? We’re referring to Google’s multitask unified model, MUM. It’s one of Google’s latest search engine updates, launched in June 2021. Its purpose? Improve online search by being able to provide answers to complex queries.

SEO and keywords have been critical to match the user’s search intent with the search results, pretty much since the dawn of the internet. However, today users want to find what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds. They want the search intent to match what they really mean to search.

Before we dive into MUM, its intricacies and how this affects search results, let’s take a step back and look at the four types of search intent:

  1. Informational: The searcher is looking for information. Keywords might include: who and what.
  2. Navigational: The searcher is looking for a specific website, e.g., Facebook.
  3. Transactional: The searcher wants to purchase, e.g., buy a laptop.
  4. Commercial: The searcher wants to purchase a specific product/service, e.g., the best estate planning firms in Charlestown, Boston.

MUM is tied to the search intent because it comes in and tries to identify the natural context of the user’s language. For example, someone searching for family law, specifically guardianship services, might have different search intentions. Here are two different scenarios:

Scenario 1: The user who has previously searched for “guardianship” and “adoption rights” might need more information about the types of services, guardianships, specific laws, and how to get started.

Scenario 2: The user that has previously searched for “how a guardian can set up visitation rules/hours through a family attorney in Charleston” is likely on the lookout for specific services in a particular area.

Both search intents are different, and MUM seeks to contextualize the user’s previous searches to match their query with their current needs. Now that we’ve provided some background information let’s look at what MUM is, what makes it different, why it matters, and more.

What is MUM and why does it matter?

MUM is Google’s latest big search engine update. It uses AI-powered algorithms to improve search results. Its primary goal is to provide more of what we want and make the search process more inclusive. This is what we mean:

Increasingly, we as consumers want more right away. But when looking for the answers we need online, we often end up conducting several searches before finding answers we seek. According to Google, people make eight queries on average to find answers for complex inquiries. There are a number of reasons why this happens. Some of them include:

  • Geographical barriers.
  • Language barriers.
  • The search engine’s lack of contextual understanding.

MUM aims at removing the need to carry out these multiple searches. With the power of AI, it interprets the search in a more people-friendly way. It considers all angles of the search intent and thus reduces the time users spend searching the web for the right answers. This matters in a world where people seek the fastest yet most personalized online experience.

MUM versus BERT

Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, BERT, was a search engine update launched by Google in 2019. Back then, it understood the searches better than ever before. It may have been the most advanced the internet had ever been up until that point, but the beauty of technology is that it evolves alongside us, and MUM reflects this.

While BERT sought to understand the searches, MUM understands language and generates it. It is trained in around 75 languages, giving it a far better understanding than previous models. It’s estimated that MUM is 1,000 times more powerful than BERT

MUM is multimodal, and according to Google, that means it understands information in text and images. This might expand to other media such as audio and videos in the future. MUM being multimodal fits the future of digital content because people want to see more businesses online. They want to see more businesses active online and adding other media like videos, images, and podcasts.

Benefits of MUM

Although these are the early days of MUM, the future looks promising. Below are some ways this search engine update is helping the internet become more inclusive and intuitive:

  1. It eliminates language barriers as it’s trained to read 70+ languages. Consequently, it’ll allow businesses and SEO efforts to be simultaneously more localized and globalized.
  2. It brings more relevant and varied content since it aims to understand the natural context of the queries.
  3. It enhances Google Lens, an image recognition application for Android and iOS. Google decided to first use MUM in this app due to the increase in non-text sources (images, videos, podcasts, etc.) Today people use Google Lens to search the web in new ways such as:
  4. Translating text.
  5. Searching for similar products.
  6. Scanning text.
  7. Copying and sending text.

If by now you’re wondering what kind of actions your firm should be taking to be in line with this new update, here are some actionable steps to getting started with MUM:

  • Create high-quality content and include multimedia formats like audio, videos, and photos.
  • Make sure your content and design cover your firm’s branding.
  • Ensure your content follows a visual hierarchy. We’ve covered more about the web design elements your firm needs here.
  • Add enough relevant short and long-tailed keywords.

What MUM means for your firm’s business.

While MUM complements the fast-growing force of AI, your firm must deploy a plan of action that will help its rankings in search engines and, most importantly, be found by more clients in need of your services.

As Google continues to invest in MUM, the questions that arise are: what’s to come in the near future? And how can your firm prepare?

To help you wrap your head around all these fascinating trends, we’ve created an epic 2022 legal trends and predictions guide your firm should be on the lookout for. Here, we’ve covered the top trends in the legal profession and actionable steps. Curious? Here’s a sneak peek: businesses embracing AI-powered technology like MUM will see an increase in all sectors of their business, from better customer experiences to more thoughtful decision-making. In addition, if you’d like to ask more questions, check on your firm’s digital health, or better yet, get a head start – our team of experts is here and ready to help you out.