What Is Google Discover?
Ever been on Google on your mobile device and noticed the stories that begin to pop up? If so, you have already discovered Google Discover.
On September 24th, 2018, Google announced an updated and rebranded version of the Google feed for its mobile site and app. Google Discover is a feed of stories that are delivered to the mobile Google search homepage. Google uses the information that it collects on you through your web interactions to target you with relevant content. It is essentially search without the search query.
Google Discover can also cater content towards what you tell it you want. Users can tell Google that they do not want content from certain topics or individual publishers in their feed, or that they want more content from topics or publishers.
Google discover matters. A pool of 800,000,000 people use this product as a source to find new content and that number is growing. We are only starting to understand how to optimize for discover, but there are a few best practices that have new meaning in the age of Google Discover and queriless search.
How Do I Optimize for Google Discover?
When optimizing for Google Discover, you are optimizing for large topics. Here are a few tips for optimizing for Google Discover:
Titles, meta descriptions, and header images are more important than ever – but not in the way you might think.
Google Discover posts show up in Google similar to how social posts show up in a social feed. Google Discover isn’t pulling content to deliver to you based on optimization for a particular keyword or an explicit query – instead, it’s pulling high quality, high authority content from publishers and topic areas you’re interested in. In a sense, the overall quality of the content is the optimization.
That means that, when crafting titles and meta descriptions for your content with Google Discover, your first priority shouldn’t necessarily be targeting certain keywords or queries. A perfectly-keyword optimized title won’t be the thing that makes Google Discover deliver your content to audiences.
Instead, you want to give your content a title and meta description that will make people want to click on it and read it while scrolling through a feed. It may be more advantageous, depending on the search volume of your target keywords, to optimize for your industry over your keywords in your title.
Images are just as important as titles and meta descriptions. Here’s what Google recommends: “Use large, high-quality images that are at least 1,200 px wide, and ensure that Google has the rights to display your high-quality images”.
Quality matters to Google. Quality is how you rank. However, you also need to think about the content of the images you are displaying. Your images should drive value for the audience that you are trying to target. A stock photo that does not go directly with the messaging of your post may not be the right choice. More thought than ever should be used when picking header images.
If Google Discover is a significant traffic driver for your site, you may already be able to measure it (See measurement section below for more on that). Group your posts into topics & sub-topics that appear on Google Discover. See which topics tend to get a higher impression share. From there, try using different types of images and CTAs. Find out what types of images and CTAs resonate with your topics and subtopics and remember to iterate, iterate, iterate!
Develop more AMP pages.
Because Google Discover was only recently integrated into Search Console, we are only beginning to understand the opportunity, but it seems that AMP may be an essential part of optimizing for Google Discover.
Before Google Discover, one could argue against developing AMP pages for certain keyword targets without AMP results on the relevant SERPs. But now there are 800,000,000 Google Discover users and Google has made statements suggesting that AMP is a factor in the Google Discover algorithm. If you want your shot at a piece of the Google Discover pie, it may serve you well to develop more AMP pages.
How Do I Measure Google Discover?
Google Discover data was integrated into Google Search Console on April 10th, 2019. Go to your Google Search Console performance section and look for the breakout of Discover vs. search results. There, you can click into Discover, which gives you visibility into pages, impressions, and clicks driven by Google Discover. (If you can’t find this data in your Search Console, the integration just hasn’t rolled out to you yet – sit tight and keep checking!)
This is a very new feature and the look-back window is relatively limited. (The data only goes back to March 2019.) That being said, this is a huge opportunity for those publishers who have a significant presence on Google Discover.
Not all publishers will be savvy enough to immediately take advantage of this new reporting feature, so first adopters have a significant opportunity to drive more traffic to their sites. Optimizing for Discover has only been possible in a meaningful way since April. Now it’s off to the races.
Google Discover Is About Rewarding Engaging and Helpful Internet Content
Google Discover is trying to make the internet a better place for content. When users are given more control over the content they are fed, publisher brand affinity becomes more important than ever – and the key to building brand affinity is producing high quality posts on a consistent basis.
So when it comes to Google Discover, high quality content is the name of the game. If your brand becomes synonymous with low quality content or spam, your Google Discover traffic will dwindle quickly.
Google Discover puts the onus on publishers to deliver what the catchy, lofty titles of their content promise. With a people-first algorithm like this, brands need to deliver – and consumers of content will benefit from this human approach to search.
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