Since its launch in 2018, Google Discover has had over 800 million monthly active users.
What is Google Discover?
First launched in 2016 as Google Feed, Google has since revamped this feature of the Google mobile app to its current version – Google Discover. With Discover, Google has turned the verb “to google” from active to passive by eliminating the search function altogether. With this format, Google selects items for each user based on their interests, recent searches and location.
Google Discover is available on Android, iPhone and iPad via the Google mobile app or in your smartphone browser at google.com
Google Discover adopts the same behavior as AI-driven social networks like TikTok, in which an algorithm personalizes a user’s feed based on their interests.
These personalized results are continually updated with new content suggestions based on:
- Search activity and search history.
- Information from contacts and applications.
- Location settings and location history.
- Recently published content.
How do you optimize your site for Google Discover?
As with any traffic-generating feature related to Google, SEOs around the world are naturally trying to understand it and, more importantly, optimize it. Even though the first iteration of Discover was released in 2016, there are still a lot of unknowns around what Google Discover means for SEO.
Optimizing for Google Discover is not completely left to chance, however!
The best way to optimize your content for Google Discover is to keep doing what you’ve always done. Most importantly, continue to produce content with the user in mind (not Google’s bots).
How does content appear in Google Discover?
To appear in the Google Discover feed, a piece of content must meet the following criteria:
Be indexed in Google.
It must not violate Google’s search feature policies.
Okay, you’re going to tell me that doesn’t get you very far… and you’re right.
Let’s try to go a little further.
How do you optimize content for Google Discover?
When you create SEO optimized content, you naturally optimize it for Google Discover because it largely follows traditional ranking criteria. However, there are several optimization practices that are especially important to appear in a user’s Google Discover feed.
Optimize your content for E-A-T
Need a memory refresher? E-A-T stands for:
- Authority/popularity (Authoritativeness)
E-A-T is the basis of a good SEO and is gradually replacing the traditional foundations: technical – content – popularity, which have become a standard to be respected beyond SEO.
Without these three building blocks, you won’t rank well. On the other hand, if you base your SEO strategy on the 3 E-A-T pillars, Google will reward your content by allowing it to appear in Google Discover.
Don’t build your titles for clickbait
Google will naturally reject anything that looks like clickbait or spam. A good page title should be honest and convey the content of the article without overpromising or exaggerating.
Include high quality images
The Google Discover service has abandoned the meta description in favor of images. (A picture is worth a thousand words… or 120-150 characters.) Since Google Discover relies heavily on visuals to describe the article’s subject matter, incorporating compelling images into your content is essential to showing up.
Optimize your pages for mobile use
We already know that optimizing for smartphones is a key factor in SEO and in digital marketing in general. The arrival of Google Discover puts more emphasis on this factor, as this feature is mobile-only. You can take Google’s mobile optimization test to see if your site is optimized. But honestly, in this day and age, if your site isn’t thought out for smartphones, there’s a big problem!
Produce content that sticks to the news
Google Discover aims to bring hot news content to users as quickly as possible. With that in mind, consider feeding the AI the latest news related to your industry. In fact, to appear in Google Discover, we recommend that you produce content that sticks to the news.
Take a look at Google Trends to see what’s trending in the news.
One study found that the majority of URLs featured in Google Discover only receive traffic for 3-4 days: most of that traffic occurs on the first or second day after they are published.
While Google Discover can potentially impact all industries, some have been impacted more than others on this feature.
Another study found that 46% of a sample of Google Discover URLs were news sites and 44% were e-commerce sites.
In contrast, pages in the following sectors accounted for only 1-2% of URLs appearing in Google Discover:
If your site falls into any of the above areas, the majority of your traffic will still come from Google search, but not necessarily from Discover. Keep in mind, however, that 1% is still 1 million clicks annually.