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The Growing Importance of Having Diverse Types of Content to Win in Search

As Google’s algorithm changes, the strategies of SEOs, content creators, and marketers compete for the valuable digital real estate that comprises its SERPs. For more than 23 years of the search engine’s existence, written content has been its daily bread, historically making up the majority of the initial query results one sees. Yet, as the online giant’s algorithm improves at understanding search intent, its machine learning technology goes beyond simply “reading” blog posts, web copy, and transcripts and is now beginning to gain a similar level of skill in decoding other types of content. by “watching” videos, “listening” to podcasts and “viewing” images.

Let’s take a look at where Google’s search capabilities are heading in the near, middle and far future after a flurry of activity in 2021 and how savvy SEO content strategists can continue to win in search as the search engine’s algorithm most influential research evolves.

2021: A massive leap in language processing in Google Search

The past year has seen major upheavals in the Google universe as the company rolled out a trio of SEOs industry-shaking core updates plus lots of updates on product reviews, link spam and spam, page experience, local, and more. Although the official count of updates has not yet been made public, the company has launched 4,500 updates to search in 2020, with experts expecting the total number in 2021 to have exceeded that.

The most important update is that of Google Multitasking unified model, or MUM, a revolutionary machine learning model that allows it to simultaneously process information and train in 75 languages. And we’re not just talking about text either: MUM can understand and contextualize in 75 languages ​​in videos and podcasts and even glean data and context from static images. MUM technology will eventually allow Google to become more of an “answer engine” than a traditional “search engine”. He’ll be able to respond in a more conversational way instead of just providing a series of (hopefully) relevant links.

The BERT 2019 update was a sign that Google was heading in a multilingual direction, and just two years later the company claims that MUM is “1,000 times more powerful” than its predecessor. In fact, it has already wowed the tech world by identifying 800 variants of Names of COVID-19 vaccines in over 50 languages ​​”in seconds”, and we can only expect more of these remarkable applications to come from this.

What the future holds for marketers now that MUM is here

When it comes to specifics on MUM’s short, medium, and long-term impact, mom is the word of Pandu Nayak, VP of Search at Google, and his cohort. “We have dozens of teams experimenting with MUM right now. Many of them find great use in what they see here,” Nayak said. Search engine countries without providing details on timelines or implementation.

Nevertheless, it can be expected that in the short term we will find MUM’s linguistic processing capabilities providing richer search results containing high-quality content from other countries that has been translated by Google in the spoken languages ​​of users, especially where there is a dearth of information on certain topics in a region’s native language.

MUM will essentially begin to bridge the content gap between countries and cultures, allowing high-quality content to rank for certain keywords, regardless of language (and, later, media format). ) in which it was published. For places with limited access to content on certain topics, MUM will help expand the knowledge base for those looking for information that could not be found before.

In the medium term, Nayak hinted at multimodality as the next big thing with MUM. Users will find richer knowledge graphs offering a variety of content formats instead of just written words, from images to videos and podcasts. Plus, searchers will start seeing more time-stamped results for videos and podcasts, taking them to the exact point in a recording where they’ll discover the answers they’re looking for.

You can see an example of early stage MUM in action by searching for a term like “gua-sha“, which features a carousel of product images, definition results, a knowledge box, a timestamped video on gua sha practices further down the SERP, and even local results for gua sha practitioners on a Down the road, Nayak and his team envision a Google where users can upload images and ask questions related to those images, seamlessly linking graphic and text with relevant results.

While we’re far from it, these insider views are all solid indicators that, going forward, the variety of content you create, as well as the quality of that content, will have a big impact on both your search rankings and on your marketing. the team’s ability to connect with its audience and respond to their needs.

Image attribution: Google Search.

What does all this mean?

As Google aims to become equally good at analyzing information from videos and podcasts without transcripts, as well as images, we can expect purely written content to gradually lose its place as the dominant influencer in search rankings. . Brands that haven’t expanded into other types of content may see their search visibility suffer. Increased competition from other content formats will force marketers to aim for higher quality and greater diversity in posting formats to succeed in SEO, with businesses that are strictly dependent on quantity losing out.

At Skyword, we believe that covering a topic in depth across multiple mediums will set customers up to win. As our VP of Professional Services, Heather Pidgeon, said, “Brands need to go beyond keywords and focus on understanding and analyzing audience intent. At the same time, they will need a diverse, well thought out and interconnected content ecosystem in order to win in search in the future.” Planning and organizing a media content calendar has never been more important.

How to Stay Ahead of Research in a Post-MUM World

As MUM is just beginning to make its mark on the Google search landscape, it’s essential to assess, adjust, and prepare your current content strategy for a future in which all types of content can reign supreme. . Here are some recommendations that will allow you to take advantage of the turn resulting from the release of MUM and stay at the top of the SERPs.

Evaluate your content mix

Is your content too focused on one format? If you only have a text-only blog or resource page, consider beefing up your marketing team with a video producer, professional photographers, on-camera personality, podcasters, and voice-over artists to add more wide variety of content types to your mix. and help build brand authority.

Learn how to properly mark up content

To familiarise with markup to help communicate to Google exactly what your content is about. Optimize videos, podcasts, and images with the right markup tags to give your content the best chance of being rewarded by Google’s algorithm, now that it’s starting to give other types of content equal weight. text.

Develop content testing and redirection strategies

Content that exists in one form can usually be easily translated into another. Consider taking your best blog posts and turning them into videos or podcast episodes, and start maximizing the mix of assets you create on each topic. If you have a podcast, also consider recording it on video and then uploading it to YouTube and your favorite social networks.

Test, iterate, and evolve your content strategy and distribution channels as you continue to publish, analyze results, and learn from your successes and failures to discover what resonates best with your audience.

Time stamp your videos and podcasts

Enjoy timestamp videos and podcasts. This can help you get an extra layer of SEO because it allows you to enter strong keywords into each chapter or section of a recording and lets Google know that those specific moments in your content are highly relevant. for some queries. Companies that take this extra step will find that timestamped content will become a source of quality leads over time.

Extract comments for content gaps

Take the time to listen to your audience’s questions, comments, and general feedback on your social media, webinars, videos, and any other channel to find out what would be most helpful to them. Identify content gaps, including specific areas where more depth is needed to complete your content mix.

And, finally, always keep your eyes and ears open for new ways to help the people you serve and those on your team by creating flawless content. By doing so, you can stay ahead of those updates and stay relevant to your audience in the short and long term.

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Featured image attribution: Mitchell Luo to Unsplash.