Google Discover in Search ConsoleIn April 2019, a new feature appeared in Google Search Console under the Performance Tab called Discover, but what is Google Discover and why do you need it? The Google Discover Tab appears beneath the Search Results tab in the Performance section of Search Console for sites ‘that have accumulated meaningful visibility in Discover’. Should your site not achieve a ‘minimum threshold of impressions’ (this threshold is unspecified although we believe it can be as low as 30) then the Discover link will not appear in your report. For the past few months, we’ve seen a significant increase in traffic from Discover for a number of our clients. In this article, we are taking a closer look at what Google Discover is, why it’s different from Search, why it needs to be treated differently, and why it should form an important part of your search and content strategy.
What is Google Discover?Google Discover appears in three different ways:-
- On Android phones, tablets, or in your desktop browser on google.co.uk.
- By swiping right from your mobile devices home screen on certain Pixel devices
Google displays content which it believes you’ll be interested in, based upon your search history, browsing history, App activity and location. This content appears below the search box in the Google App on Android or iOS. This is highly targeted and specific to the user and their interests so, for example, my Discover feed is dominated by Leeds Utd stories, SEO news, tech news, news about Harrogate, Modern Family, Rugby, and James Bond. New stories appear regularly and any content consumed is replaced with fresh content. You can also ask Google for more content about certain subjects or less, depending upon your preferences. Because this is content uniquely offered to you based upon your interests, click-through rates (CTR) are extremely high and, from the data we have so far, the CTR and engagement metrics are really strong.
Why Should Google Discover be an Important Element of your Content and Google Strategy
Unlike Search, which is very much an inbound or pull strategy, Google Discover is an outbound or push strategy, in that Google pushes your content to users that might be interested in it. While your content for search might be biased towards items that people search for, Google Discover offers the opportunity for new ideas and content. This content may appear on sites that users might not necessarily typically visit, but may still be of interest.
Google Discover displays video, visual content and articles and, whilst the shelf life of content in Discover is quite short, a lot of what is seen is evergreen content. Evergreen content includes articles and videos that don’t date quickly and may not be new to the web, but are new to the people who see them in their feeds.
How to Optimise for Google DiscoverOfficially, Google says “Given the serendipitous nature of Discover, traffic from Discover is less predictable or dependable when compared to Search, and should be considered supplemental to your Search traffic. This means that you might create and optimize content to fulfil specific search needs for search engine traffic, but there is no way to create content that explicitly targets Discover’s interest matching”. It also says “Content is automatically eligible to appear in Discover if it is indexed by Google and meets Discover’s content policies. No special tags or structured data are required. Please note that being eligible to appear in Discover is not a guarantee of appearing”. That said, we believe there are six key things that you can do to improve your chances of appearing in Google Discover:-
1. Produce good, engaging content that you believe your customers, users or audience will find interesting.
2. Optimise your page titles so that they both properly describe and capture the essence of your article whilst offering a compelling reason why your potential reader should click through to read it, avoiding clickbait-style headlines.
3. Include large, high-quality images that are at least 1200 pixels wide and are compelling as well as mobile-friendly, i.e. optimise for file size and weight (and don’t use your site logo as the image)
4. Avoid what Google calls ‘tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation or outrage’, in other words, don’t do clickbait!
5. Follow the principles of E-A-T and include clear dates, by-lines, information about authors, the publication, the publisher, company or network behind it, and contact information to better build trust and transparency with visitors.
6. Think about the types of interests your users might have and write content for them. Consider that you may also be able to apply different slants to some of your content to appeal to different types of user interests, e.g. sport, hobbies, activities, celebrity, news, etc. Try to be timely and current, tell a story well and try to provide unique insights into your subject. If you make widgets, don’t try to write about cream cakes because you think people might be interested in that but try to think of what people want to know about your widgets. There might have fewer people interested in ‘how to fix a widget’, but they are going to be relevant to you and interested in what you have to say.
What Type of Site can Benefit from Google Discover?
As we’ve said, because Google Discover targets people’s interests, the kind of content that does well in Google Discover matches people’s interests, e.g. sport, films, hobbies, local news, activities, travel, celebrity, politics, latest news, TV, etc. That said, because people have many varied interests, we’ve seen great take-up across a wide range of websites, industries, sectors and topics. Here are some examples of sites doing really well in Discover: –
Google Discover Performance Automotive Sector
Google Discover Performance Giftware Sector
Google Discover Performance Health and Beauty Sector
Google Discover Performance Engineering Sector
Google Discover Performance Homewares Sector