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Google’s John Mueller Answers If MUM Makes SEO Obsolete

Google’s MUM: a threat to SEO?
Mueller explains MUM and its implications for SEO

John Mueller of Google responded to a Reddit discussion about whether MUM will make SEO obsolete; MUM aims to provide answers in multiple languages simultaneously. Answers that are not currently provided by 10 blue links, so such a question is not unreasonable.

Multitask Unified Model is the abbreviation for MUM. In this way, complex questions can be answered that would be impossible to answer with just a few sentences or a few words in a featured snippet. MUM is described by Google as a milestone in the development of search technologies that is 1,000 times more powerful than the BERT algorithm.

MUM solves answers by using the total sum of knowledge about a topic, even if the knowledge is in a different language. Search results can be found in multiple languages, according to Google. This is due to the fact that answers in other languages may be more authoritative than the limited content produced in your local language.

MUM and search query innovation:

Google uses the example of native Japanese content for search queries associated with hiking Mount Fuji. This type of search can boil down to subtopics that only a native understand. In addition, MUM can find answers to questions that are a mix of images and text, and provide those answers. In what way would an SEO optimize an answer to a question that partially consists of images? Images are not words. Essentially, it’s a representation of something.

Google says:

“Eventually, you might be able to take a photo of your hiking boots and ask, “can I use these to hike Mt. Fuji?” MUM would understand the image and connect it with your question to let you know your boots would work just fine. It could then point you to a blog with a list of recommended gear.” A MUM search paradigm seems to fall short in terms of optimizing for keywords because MUM is answering a complex question consisting of multiple subtopics.

“Since MUM can surface insights based on its deep knowledge of the world, it could highlight that while both mountains are roughly the same elevation, fall is the rainy season on Mt. Fuji so you might need a waterproof jacket. MUM could also surface helpful subtopics for deeper exploration — like the top-rated gear or best training exercises — with pointers to helpful articles, videos and images from across the web. It does not seem unreasonable to conclude that the above described MUM search result is drawn from multiple websites in different languages.”

John Mueller’s comments:

John Mueller, spokesperson for Google, responded to the Reddit thread by affirming that SEO will always be important. Muller’s answer referenced a joke about keyword stuffing: “How many SEO experts does it take to change a light bulb, light bulb, lamp, lighting, switch, sex, xxx, hardcore” “I don’t see how this would reduce the need for SEO. Things always evolve. Remember the SEO joke about changing the lightbulb? None of that’s been necessary for a while now, which is due to developments like these, and yet, people still have enough to do as SEO.”

Mueller is correct. As SEO evolves, so does the nature of the work involved. SEO experts continue to cling to the idea that search results consist of ten blue links and refuse to change. A hybrid approach to answering questions has partly replaced the era of ten blue links. Google’s MUM algorithm is basically a way to respond to a search question with a complex context.

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