7 Tactics to Optimize for Google Discover

Google Discover is a serious traffic driver for many publishers around the world. Google Discover is an AI-driven content recommendation tool included with the Google Search app. It provides new information and inspiration where  no query is required. In a way, this is Google’s version of Facebook feed.

Google Discover gives consumers relevant, engaging content. 

  • Provides News and evergreen content
  • Includes Images, Videos & AMP Stories
  • Appears on Google’s mobile homepage
  • Available in multiple languages
  • Highly Personalized
  • Users can follow topics, places

 

 

Google Discover is different from Search

With Search, users enter a search term to find helpful information related to their query, but Discover takes a different approach. Instead of showing results in response to a query, Discover surfaces content primarily based on what Google's automated systems believe to be a good match with a user's interests. The content in Discover changes regularly based on newly published web content or evolving user interests. Discover doesn’t limit rankings to what’s published most recently.

Google Discover Personalization
Google Discover feed is personalized based on 

  • Users’ search history (Web & Apps)
  • Device Information
  • Interests & Topics
  • Location History
  • Location Settings (Home & Work Locations)
  • Current Location
  • Discover gives users “more/less” ticker to click when something does or doesn’t tickle your fancy.

From www.blog.google

We’ve taken our existing Knowledge Graph—which understands connections between people, places, things and facts about them—and added a new layer, called the Topic Layer, engineered to deeply understand a topic space and how interests can develop over time as familiarity and expertise grow. 

The Topic Layer is built by analyzing all the content that exists on the web for a given topic and develops hundreds and thousands of subtopics. For these subtopics, we can identify the most relevant articles and videos—the ones that have shown themselves to be evergreen and continually useful, as well as fresh content on the topic. We then look at patterns to understand how these subtopics relate to each other, so we can more intelligently surface the type of content you might want to explore next.

Topics, Interests & Entities
The following are some of the types of entities found in the Knowledge Graph:

Book
BookSeries
EducationalOrganization
Event
GovernmentOrganization
LocalBusiness
Movie
MovieSeries
MusicAlbum
MusicGroup
MusicRecording
Organization
Periodical
Person
Place
SportsTeam
TVEpisode
TVSeries
VideoGame
VideoGameSeries
WebSite

Why You Should Care?
Google introduced Discover in 2017 and it claims that there are already 800M active users (As of September 2018) consuming content using this new application. Google Discover can send publishers immense traffic. I have seen anywhere from 15% - 90% of total organic clicks are generated via Google Discover especially in heavy Android countries and around sports.

Google Discover & Beyond!!
Theory: “Interesting Finds” is Google Discover in Disguise  

  • Only appears in mobile
  • When clicked, leads to a “More Results” page very similar to Google Discover, where you can follow Topics 
  • Over 70% of queries in a recent study had “Interesting Finds” in Mobile SERPs

That being said, Don’t Get Addicted to Google Discover Traffic

  • It is less predictable or dependable compared to Search
  • It should be considered supplemental traffic

Google Discover Prerequisites 

  • Google Discover Prerequisites 
  • Must Be Indexed in Google
  • Must adhere to Google Content policies 
  • Must have high resolution large images
  • Articles must have clear dates, bylines, information about authors, 
  • Site must provide information about the publication, the publisher, company or network behind it, and contact information to better build trust and transparency with visitors.
  • Timely Content 

Observe Google's Content Policies
Google Discover has its own separate Content Policies https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/9982767 

  • Ads: Advertising and other paid promotional material on your pages should not exceed your content
  • Civics Information: fresh and authoritative content on voting and election processes
  • Prohibited Content:
    • No Adult-themed content
    • No Copyrighted Content
    • No Dangerous content
    • No Deceptive practices
    • No Controversial Medical Content
    • No Harassing content
    • No Hateful content
    • No Manipulated Media
    • No Misleading Content
    • No Personal & Confidential Content
    • No Spam & Malware
    • No Terrorist content
    • No Violence & gore content
    • No Vulgar language and profanity

Almost same Content Policies as Google News. This doesn’t mean that Google News Content appears in Google Discover or vice versa.

Can You Optimize For  Google Discover ?

Google Discover is highly personalized, one can argue no two users will get the same feed!! You might create and optimize content to fulfill specific search needs for search engine traffic, but there is no way to create content that explicitly targets Discover's interest matching.

  1. Google Discover Audience
  2. Deliver Quality Content
  3. Include High Quality Visuals
  4. Optimize Mobile & AMP
  5. Understand E-A-T
  6. Consider The "Buzz Factors"
  7. Get your Knowledge Panel

 

1. Understand Your Google Discover Audience Interests
While you can’t optimize for individual feeds or optimize for interest matching, you can definitely optimize your content for 

  • The platform
  • Groups of people who share similar interests
  • You Need to Understand your Google Discover Audience and their Broad Interests 
  • Use Entities to analyze your Content.
  • I.e. Focus Content Around Entities
  • Analyze interests of you top Google Discover trafficked articles
  • Get NLP or entities of articles
  • Group together based on clicks or impressions

 

2. Deliver Quality Content

  • Having content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.
  • Capitalize on Topics that drives Google Discover traffic to your site
  • Create interesting engaging content
  • While the majority of content in Google Discover is timely (Newsy/Trending) content, evergreen has its place!!
    • Evergreen articles and videos aren’t new to the web, but are new to you.
    • Travel, new hobbies, shopping, 
  • Make sure your evergreen content is refreshed often and relevant
  • Google Discover (and Google News/Top Stories) appreciate diversity of angles and approach 
  • Having page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.
  • Avoiding tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.
  • Avoiding tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.
  • Having content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.

BTW, Google Discover is More Than News, But News Sites Receive Most of the Clicks
Via Abby Hamilton - https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-discover/361142/ 

  • 46% were from news sites.
  • 44% were from ecommerce sites.
  • 7% were from entertainment sites.
  • 2% were from travel sites.

3. Include High Quality Visuals

  • Large images need to be at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting, 
  • or by using AMP. 
  • Avoid using a site logo as your image.
  • Avoid Manipulated Media
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio Hero Images
  • Have a descriptive file name appropriate for the image.
  • Appropriate alt text.
  • A descriptive caption.

4. Optimize Mobile & AMP
Over 60% of GD Feed links are AMP results. 

  • AMP has higher chances to appear in Google Discover but it is not a prerequisite 
  • Mobile Friendliness 
  • GSC: results show us that most of the Google Discover clicks go to AMP pages

Total clicks: 8.3M
AMP Clicks: 7.4M (89%)
Videos: 0.3M
Non-AMP Clicks ~ 0.5M

 

5. Understand E-A-T
Back in July 2020 Google updated Google Discover guidelines and added the following paragraph. 

Our automated systems surface content in Discover from sites that have many individual pages that demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T). Those looking to improve E-A-T can consider some of the same questions we encourage site owners to consider for Search. While Search and Discover are different, the overall principles for E-A-T as it applies to content within them are similar.

While Search and Discover are different, the overall principles for E-A-T as it applies to content are similar.”

  • Secure Site (use https://)
  • Articles must have clear dates, bylines, information about authors
  • Site must provide information about the publication, the publisher, company or network behind it
  • Site must provide contact information to better build trust and transparency with visitors.
  • Create and maintain an “About me” page for each author to explain their trustworthiness in detail
  • Feature short biographies for every article published
  • Link to Author’s social media profiles

About Author Page

  • Author experience in the specific field
  • Organizations they Author is associated with
  • Awards Author has won
  • Accomplishments
  • Links to pages backing up their authority, such as Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Interviews, well established websites, etc.

Use Person Schema
<script type="application/ld+json"> {    
          "@context": "http://schema.org",    
          "@type": "Person",    
          "email": "email@site.com",    
          "image": "https://author-image.jpg",    
          "jobTitle": "Job Title",    
          "name": "First Last",    
          "birthDate": "YYYY.MM.DD",    
          "url": "https://www.site.com/author-profile-page",    
          "sameAs": [        
                    "https://www.facebook.com/author",        
                    "https://www.linkedin.com/in/author/",        
                    "https://twitter.com/Author/"    
                    ]
          }
</script>

Read Lily Ray’s https://www.pathinteractive.com/blog/seo/what-does-it-mean-to-have-good-...

6. Consider The "Buzz Factors" 
Google Discover is more or less a social feed

  • Monitor Social Engagement of your content
  • Focus on engaging, sharable trending topics
  • Monitor time on site and bounce rates
  • Optimize Social Buttons on your Mobile site and Apps
  • Buzz + Popularity
  • Focus on Trends

https://www.newzdash.com/reports/topics/?period=Past%204%20Hours&edition...

 

7. Get your Knowledge Panel
Get your knowledge Panel for your brand, business and personalities.
Allows users to follow Entities from Knowledge Panel
https://support.google.com/knowledgepanel/answer/7534842?hl=en&ref_topic...

 

Google Discover Tracking & Analytics

Majority of traffic is spikes that last 24-72 hours. Rarely you see traffic that lasts days to weeks

Measure Google Discover in Google Analytics
It is hard to isolate Google Discover traffic in Google Analytics. Remember GSC report on Clicks, while GA reports on Sessions
The easiest way is to look for googleapis.com in Google Analytics referrals 

https://wordlift.io/ Create an Advanced Filter

Hidden in Plain Site (via Valentin Pletzer)
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1JISDrPFmW2kaGqtMz1yoDH3KASl9_GFy...

Google Discover is Evolving

More to come … 
Visuals
AMP Stories
Podcast
Ads
Evergreen Content
Reddit Comments
TikTok-ish Short Videos
And more

Amazing Resources
https://wordlift.io/blog/en/optimize-for-google-discover/
https://www.upbuild.io/blog/interesting-finds-changing-mobile-serps/
https://de.slideshare.net/VorticonCmdr/updated-version-summer-edition-ze...
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-discover/361142/
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/optimizing-for-google-discover/35611...
https://www.pathinteractive.com/blog/seo/what-does-it-mean-to-have-good-...
 

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