13th October 2021
October 2021: Organic Search update.
After another eventful summer of Google updates, the past month has had no shortage of shifts in the world of SEO. Right on cue, we’re here to talk you through the most important updates from the world of search engine optimisation, and explain what each of the updates means for you and your website.
MUM algorithm: Google announces search redesign.
First up, at the end of September, Google announced that MUM will be integrated into some searches on Google Search, and this will mean a redesign of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). But first, what is MUM, I hear you ask?
MUM stands for ‘Multitask Unified Model’. This is a new technology Google has started to use to answer more complex questions which do not have one definitive answer. The MUM update will allow Google to access a wealth of information about a core query, providing the user with more of what they want without having to carry out multiple searches. Google has found that on average, users will conduct 8 searches for complex questions.
For instance, if you want to take a trip to a country you have never visited before. The kind of searches you might take in 2021, would include:
- ‘How much are flights to…’
- ‘Do I need to take COVID-19 tests before visiting’
- ‘How much are hotels in..’
- ‘Do I need a visa to travel to…’
- ‘How safe is it in…’
- ‘What are the best places to see in…’
With the new MUM technology, Google will aim to combine all of these results on one page for you, allowing you to read all the information you need, with minimal effort. Essentially, MUM will allow Google to be more intuitive than ever.
Something else MUM will do is to remove language barriers across the web. Google states that MUM has the potential to break down language boundaries by “transferring knowledge across languages.” It will aim to learn from sources that aren’t written in the language you wrote your search in, and help bring that information to you.
Starting from the end of September, Google will be integrating MUM into some searches and changing the appearance of the SERP. In the coming months, Google will be guiding users down topic paths in a redesigned search experience for some searches that will be more visual.
MUM will change Google Search in the following ways:
- Things to know’ section
- Topic ‘Zoom’
- Visually browsable search results
Surely, you’re wondering how MUM will impact your SEO efforts– but really, this update will impact your content marketing efforts too. If you create any content on your site and conduct keyword research to discover content and questions your users want to read, MUM will impact your online visibility. MUM means saying goodbye to the ‘exact response days’ (if you see there are people searching for ‘what is AI in recruiting?’ and then creating a blog post answering this exact question) and tap into the user intent and their whole thought-process which is often layered, complex, and sometimes more generalised.
Stay tuned to see how this all unfolds, we will let you know as soon as we know more about MUM and how it’ll impact your site’s SEO…
Google gives insight on how to know if Core Web Vitals update has impacted your search rankings.
Core Web Vitals were all the rage at the start of the year, with even the mention of them sending the whole of the SEO community into a frenzy. Since they rolled out this summer, we have been keeping a close eye on what Google will do next, and how the update will impact organic search visibility as a whole.
In a ‘Google office-hours’ webinar at the end of September, John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst gave some more insight into how to figure out if your site was negatively impacted by Core Web Vitals or not. Mueller was asked if a drop in traffic on the day the update rolled out would be that a website had been ‘hit’. John Mueller very plainly stated:
“I don’t think that would be related. The reason I don’t think that would be related is because we started rolling this update out I think in July and it was finished at the end of August. But the rollout was on a per page basis essentially. That means if we saw that your website was slow for core web vitals you would see a gradual change over time …from July until August. If you see an exact drop on that date, it seems like it’s probably something else. So I don’t think it would be from the core web vitals.”
So there you have it. If you have experienced a gradual decrease (or increase!) in organic traffic from June 15th 2021, it is likely to be related to the Page Experience Update.
Google announces that lead gen forms or CTAs above the fold might be seen as ads.
And lastly, something less urgent for you to wrap your head around, Google has stated that large forms or CTAs above the fold may be interpreted as ads, which is definitely something to bear in mind. We have included this in our update, as we often come across these types of pages.
If you have a page which you are trying to rank for a competitive term such as ‘car insurance’, and most of the content above the fold is a lead generation form, you may want to rethink your page layout a bit. In this Q&A with Google themselves, Google gave more insight on this, essentially saying that if there is a large CTA or form above the fold, then the primary content will be pushed down, which may not be useful for the user, and may impact your organic rankings.
Are any of your key organic landing pages guilty of this?
So there you have it, those are all the most important updates from Google this month. Stay tuned for the next update to see if anything has changed… and if you have any specific SEO related questions or any concerns about your rankings, do not hesitate to get in touch.