What is Google Discover and how can it help your business?

Mar 11th, 2024

You might be thinking, ‘Not another Google tool that I need to optimise my content for’. Well actually, Google Discover isn’t that new and the best part is, you don’t have to create an advanced SEO strategy in order to gain traffic from it.

Below, we’ve summarised some of the key points about Google Discover, including what it is, how it can increase your website traffic and how you can monitor performance.

Google Discover is a personalised feed that shows users the content it thinks they’ll be interested in. Available in the Google app (or in the browser on an Android phone or tablet), it’s a queryless content discovery tool, which Google said would help the user “come across the things you haven’t even started looking for”.

An image of a phone displaying the Google Discover homepage.

It’s since grown to become a combination of news app meets social media feed. The user is able to choose topics they’re interested in, ‘like’ posts, follow brands or ask to be shown less of a particular topic or industry. The more they use Discover, the more it is able to learn about them. Google also uses their search history, location, shopping history and other data to make the feed as personalised as possible, showing only the best and most relevant content.

For example, it understands that an advanced piano player won’t need to be shown beginner videos, so it will filter these out accordingly. Similarly, it won’t show toddler information or content to a parent with a newborn, as the advice just isn’t relevant at that time. It indexes content more quickly and more specifically than Google search results, tailored to the user in a way only social media channels have been able to achieve.

Google has been decisively vague about how they choose the articles that appear in the Discover feed for users. This means we’re still unsure exactly how Google Discover works and what its algorithm is, also making it difficult to precisely state how you can rank your content in the feed.

They have, however, stated that as long as your content has been indexed by Google and meets Discover’s content policies, it has the ability to rank. These policies include no dangerous content, harassing or hateful content, violent content, etc. They also list medical content here, which means medical and health sites could struggle to get their content shown in the feed.

In some countries, users have the ability to follow a company or website so they can see new articles directly in Discover almost immediately. This could improve impressions and clicks, particularly for informational content like blog articles. For users to see a whole feed of your content, you will need to ensure that you’ve activated your website’s RSS or Atom feeds. If you don’t do this, Google will generate a feed for your whole domain automatically. Should you have more than one feed available, you can tell Google which one you’d like it to use.

While we’ve already established that there is no set way to optimise for Google Discover, there are some general things to keep in mind. You can find these listed below.

Focus on your content

Content remains important, whether you want to appear in Google Discover or improve your visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs). By publishing fresh, up-to-date articles that are helpful, reliable and put the user first, you can increase your chances of appearing in someone’s feed.

Unlike Google’s SERP crawlers (or spiders), which can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to crawl and index new content, Discover works much faster. It can find new content to show in the feed almost instantly, providing users with the most timely and current news all in one place.

Content doesn’t just refer to words on the page, but also images and video content. Depending on the topic of the article, these things can be more helpful for the user than text, particularly for ‘how to’ guides, step-by-step instructions and demonstrations. Google suggests that you use compelling and high-quality images to try and improve the click-through rate from Discover. Google will automatically pick an image, or use the set featured image, for users.

Example of how the Google Discover feed looks when scrolling through, including video content

Page titles should be informative and should summarise the general nature of the content. They shouldn’t contain clickbait, offer false information or be misleading.

Finally, your content should be unique and written about a niche or specialist topic. When you write better and more informative content than everyone else, you’re most likely to see the performance benefit in clicks, impressions and sessions.

Offer a great user experience

This advice goes for general search rankings as well, but your site should offer a positive experience to all users. Sites that are slow, have too many annoying pop-ups or offer spammy/misleading content won’t perform as well in Discover.

Instead, focus on providing the best user experience. Write content that is written for them, answering their questions, solving their problems or providing them with accurate information. Ensure they can easily read all the content without pop-ups or ads getting in the way, or text rolling off the screen.

Match your competitors

If you’re struggling to find success with Google Discover traffic, the next step is to check out some competitor sites. While you can’t view the amount of impressions or traffic they’re getting from the Discover feed, you may be able to get some content topic ideas, perhaps things you haven’t previously considered.

Does their content contain lots of bespoke images or interesting videos? Do they write about a variety of relevant topics that’s audience-appropriate? Without directly copying what they have done, competitor analysis is a great way to get some new inspiration.

Discover traffic can’t, and shouldn’t, be relied upon in the same way as search-based traffic. It’s not predictable, users aren’t looking for that information in the traditional sense, and the feeds update so often, your content could fly one day and drop off the next. Instead, you should view it as accompanying traffic.

So once you start to create some new, interesting articles for your site, how can you track their performance in Google Discover?

You can see how much traffic the Google Discover feed is bringing in via the ‘Discover’ GSC report. It will show you both impressions and clicks directly from the feed. If your site hasn’t received any Discover impressions, the report won’t be visible in the left-hand sidebar in GSC.

When you navigate to ‘Pages’, you can see which URLs are receiving the most impressions and clicks in Discover. This might help you to understand the kinds of pages Google ‘likes’ to serve up, allowing you to create more of them to boost your traffic.

Ready to explore the potential of Google Discover for your business growth?

Contact us now to see how Click Consult can help boost your brand’s online presence!

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