Big updates from Google have always had a major impact on the world of search marketing, and 2021 feels like it’s been a big year for Google updates and announcements.

2021 was slated to bring the arrival of Google’s Page Experience ranking signal (originally due to roll out in May, the update finally arrived in the middle of June), adding a new urgency (and an SEO incentive) to the task of optimising a site’s user experience. Around the same time, Google announced the advent of a new ‘AI milestone’: MUM, or Multitask Unified Model, which vastly improves Google’s ability to understand complex search queries – across a wide range of languages and even search inputs (such as images). Google followed this up in September with a demonstration of how the technology can power multimodal search – allowing users to carry out searches across multiple ‘modes’, such as by combining an image and a text query.

Combine these developments with other, broader trends in the online world such as lockdown-induced changes in consumer behaviour and the shifting conversation around data, privacy and advertising (explored in more depth in our data and digital advertising predictions roundups), and there has been plenty to keep search marketers on their toes in 2021. What will 2022 bring? We turned to a bevy of experts for their predictions…

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