Brands that add value to benefit the most from Google’s new ‘super algorithm’ update

Kieran Reed
By Kieran Reed | 19 October 2021
Kieran Reed.

Alpha Digital’s Kieran Reed, outlines how the latest Google update is likely to impact your brand

Google’s search algorithm is constantly becoming more sophisticated, and its latest breakthrough harnesses new AI to answer more complex queries. The end goal? You can start asking Google questions in the same way that you would ask a friend or a trusted expert.

Speaking at its recent Search On event, Google revealed how its Multitasker Unified Model (MUM), a neural network, will allow people to get the answers that they need with less searches. MUM is an AI-powered super-algorithm which provides a massive update; with huge potential and many implications for brands which are yet to unfold. Marketers who have been creating helpful and insightful content that delivers the best value to people can rest assured that the update will work to their advantage.

What’s new to search?

Google has used a great example, which makes the benefits of the update easy to understand. Let’s say that you want to climb Mount Fuji. Using the new search functionality, you could take a picture of your hiking boots and ask, ‘Can I use these to hike Mt. Fuji?’. It’s the type of question that you might have to ask an avid climber, or someone local to the area if you wanted to get your answer offline - and you can imagine that you would get a pretty rich response. It’s the type of human interaction which has been difficult for Google to parallel in the past.

If you wanted to get that type of information online, you would probably have to make multiple searches like, ‘best hiking boots’ or ‘recommended hiking boots for Mount Fuji,’ and stitch together the answers and compare them to your own boots to find your answer.

How does MUM work?

It’s not easy to bring so much context into the search equation and deliver an answer quickly. That’s why the algorithm is evolving to understand 75 languages to unlock more information. For example, if there is important information that is only available in Japanese across the web, Google can now consider it and make it available for English searchers. MUM is also mutlimodal which means it can understand and utilise information from a wider variety of formats like webpages, pictures, videos and more, simultaneously. This is a huge update for Google Lens, Google’s existing image recognition platform. It’s also important to note, that while human biases can reduce the social utility of AI, Google is taking active measures to document and limit these.

As Google becomes more sophisticated, so should marketers.

Google’s new super algorithm will better understand the context of content, not just the number of times you used a keyword. Marketers that prioritise value for people through their content and user experience will benefit massively. Manipulative SEO tactics, such as keyword spamming and low quality links (that don’t provide value to the end user) and having less and less influence on the algorithm. People that try to manipulate search engines simply won’t be prioritised as Google continues to provide more valuable information to its end user.

SEO is not magic or sorcery. Nor is it something to compromise on. It’s about showcasing value to your end user and ensuring Google has the best chance of understanding that value. Let’s go back to that hiking enthusiast who dreams about the views from the summit of Mt. Fuji. The marketers that commit to supporting that dream and making it a reality by publishing practical and inspiring advice online, will position their brand right in front of that person who is open to considering all of the intel and equipment that they need to get to the top.
SEO should be a considered element in your marketing mix, because it demands that you realign with your customer through considered and thoughtful content.
Good old-fashioned, ‘walk a mile in your customer’s shoes’ marketing is now rewarded handsomely. This is because Google is helping users answer more complex queries and are getting better at providing the value that searchers are seeking.

Google seeks to serve our complex needs and so should you.

As Google gets a wider understanding of the potential context and intent of a search query, it can provide more rich answers. The ‘hiker’ can surface helpful subtopics for deeper exploration, such as top-rated gear or best training exercises, with pointers to helpful articles, videos, and images from across the web. It’s the perfect opportunity for empathetic and data-driven marketers who want to tap into the ever-evolving search landscape and provide more value to their customers.

Kieran Reed is a senior digital experience account manager at Alpha Digital

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