How Do I Optimize for Google Discover?

How Do I Optimize for Google Discover?

Google is paving the way to query-less search. In essence, it wants to take their currently 800 million active Discover users on a journey to discover topics that pique their interests without them typing a single character into the browser. What does it mean to the website owners? How can they get their content to pop up on the target audience screen? How does Google Discover optimization look as it doesn’t rely on keywords?

Table of content:

We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.

~John Dryden (1631-1700)

Even after all these years, this sentence sounds absolutely true, especially for Google Discover – an application software that learns their users habits, preferences, and likes to later create a highly-personalized feed for each one separately.

This feature makes Google Discover an incredibly powerful free marketing tool that you can use to gain more organic traffic and spread brand awareness. The good news is also that optimizing for Google Discover doesn’t go far from optimizing your content for Search.

However, there is one big difference between Discover and Search: the pieces of content that appear on Discover are not triggered by keywords but by the interests of the users. So you may be wondering now, “How do I optimize Google Discover content if not with keywords?!”

My answer is: You can do this in just 12 easy steps.

But before I walk you through them, let’s make sure we’re on the same page – let’s discuss briefly what Google Discover is and who can access it.

What Is Google Discover?

Google Discover is a scrollable and infinite list of content that is tailored to each user’s interests and preferences individually. The articles, videos, and other content displayed on the Google Discover tab appear on the mobile screen passively, meaning a user isn’t required to type any query to access their fully-personalized feed.

What is Google Discover

Source: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2019/04/search-console-reporting-for-your-sites

In other words, Google Discover collects information on a user’s search history, location, and application activity to learn their likes and dislikes. Later the tool combines gathered data with AI to build a user’s profile to provide them with the most relevant and timely content they may find interesting, without – and that’s the best part – actually looking for it.

What for?

To give Google users a new, highly convenient way of discovering and experiencing content. The thing is that the longer a user interacts with Google, the better AI understands the searcher’s habits and preferences. Later, the tool scouts around the Internet for the most relevant images, articles, and videos for a particular user, and displays them either in the Google app or on the Google.com mobile homepage.

Discover is a popular way for users to stay up-to-date on all their favorite topics, even when they’re not searching. – Google Search Central

Contrary to Search, Google Discover makes their users come into contact with the highly-personalized content by just opening the tab – the articles and videos pop up on the screens with no query typing. Another considerable difference is that Google Discover relies more on inviting visuals rather than on text.

So, since Google Discover targets preferences rather than keywords you optimize your pages for, what is the chance for your brand to appear in the Discover tab? 

Generally speaking, you need to publish pieces of content that are of interest to your target audience. Naturally, it’s impossible to get everyone to engage with your video or text because not everyone feels like reading the same thing at the same time. However, when a Google user finds your content interesting enough to click on it, you’re well on your way!

Google Discover is connected with another application: Google News. Read more, how to add your website to Google News!

Okay, so how can you make the content enticing enough to interact with it? See those 12 Google Discover optimization tips.

How Do I Optimize Google Discover Content?

Truth be told, optimizing content to get your brand featured on Google Discover isn’t poles apart from optimizing content for Search. You simply need to adhere to Google’s guidelines, meaning you need to do white-hat SEO. Plus, you must create outstanding and value-adding content. Having a fast-loading website with good UX will also work to your advantage.

That’s a very general idea of Google Discover optimization.

However, if you need more detailed insight and special tricks that will increase your chances of getting your content displayed on your target audience’s screens – without them actually looking for you – go through these 12 Google Discover optimization tips.

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Follow Google’s Rules

As the name suggests, Discover belongs to Google, meaning you need to comply with the general search engine rules and regulations introduced by this American multinational technology company. In other words, you need to follow white hat SEO to get the chance to appear in your prospects’ Google Discover feed.

Also, produce content that is created primarily for humans, rather than for search engines. This is super important because now, with the Useful Content algorithm on the prowl, the people-first content is ranked better, thus surfacing higher on Search and Discover.

Set up Google Business Profile

Creating a Google Business Profile seems to be one of the absolutely compulsory things to get done, especially if you are in eCommerce. You know that Google prioritizes reliable and trustworthy websites over shady or spammy ones. So, when your brand has an active profile on Google Business Profile, the bots give your website a kind of stamp of approval.

Bussines profile for Google Discover

With this metaphorical ID, your website is granted access to the Google Discover feed. It’s also worth mentioning that the more positive reviews your business receives, the higher the chance of being featured on Discover.

Be Mobile-Friendly

Since Google Discover is available only on mobile devices, optimizing your content for small screens seems perfectly logical. Google strives to provide their users with an enjoyable experience, therefore it promotes websites that load fast, are usable on mobile devices, and respond quickly to all the tapping, swiping, and pinching gestures.

Besides, making your online store mobile-friendly protects you from losing customers. As one of Google’s researches revealed:

Mobile friendly - Google Discover

Source: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/negative-mobile-brand-experience-data/

Adjusting your website to mobile devices decreases the bounce rate, which is one of the factors Google takes into account when picking content for its Discover feed. That being said, don’t let an unresponsive website scare your customers away. Use Mobile Usability report to verify if some of your pages experience usability problems.

Publish Relevant & High-Quality Content

There is no room for poorly-written, AI-generated content in the Discover feed. People appreciate being exposed to relevant and high-quality materials, and therefore Google rewards those publishers who produce such content. How to become one of them?

Take a close look at the texts, images, and videos you post regularly. Does your audience find them a nice and entertaining reading/watching? Do you get your message across in an understandable way? Does your content deliver what is promised in the title? The list of questions is far longer, but I’m sure you get the gist.

If you want to write a copy but you’ve run out of topics that may interest your customers, meaning the topics that are relevant to your audience, simply check your keyword reach and search traffic. This way you discover the starting point for your content creation to deliver articles targeting various customers no matter their search journey stage.

Optimize for EAT

Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, or EAT for short, is a factor that helps Google fish out deceptive and sometimes even treacherous content in order to remove it from the index. Obviously, you don’t want Google bots to find your content spammy or suspicious, therefore you must do absolutely everything to look authoritative and genuine for Google and its users.

To show your expertise, address the issues you know inside out. Try taking a bit of a different approach to the topic you feel knowledgeable in and use it to your advantage. To demonstrate authoritativeness, you need to publish insightful and high-quality content regularly for a longer period of time. Finally, to improve your trustworthiness, create a Google Business Profile, secure financial transactions and allow your customers to leave reviews on your business.

Avoid Clickbait Headlines

One of the very last things you want is letting Google bots discover your content is irrelevant to the query it matches it with. Bounce rate is a Google ranking factor so if the bots notice your headlines fool the users or that an article doesn’t deliver what it promises to, you may say goodbye to Google Discover.

That’s why it’s strongly advised to craft compelling headlines. Use questions to open a loop in the readers’ minds, insert reliable statistics or create intrigue. Also,

Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage. – Google Search Central

Remember, catchy titles don’t equal clickbait headlines. And if you want to be sure your headline isn’t clipped, make it contain any more than 110 characters.

Add High-Quality Images

According to a study done by Google, uploading large and quality images increases CTR. It drives more unpaid traffic to the website when compared to a thumbnail. How “large” is large enough? The graphics should be a minimum of 1200 px wide. It’s also advised to enable the max-image-preview: large setting. Note that the Google Discover feed isn’t a place to upload your website logo.

High quality imaes for Google Discovery

Source: https://developers.google.com/search/case-studies/large-images-case-study?hl=en

It’s also worth realizing that Google Discover replaces meta descriptions typical of Search with images. Since these are the visuals that do the talking, you should absolutely go for attractive and eye-pleasing images. Don’t worry if you can’t afford to hire a graphic designer or a photographer. Instead, use high-quality and royalty-free images available on Shutterstock, Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels. Keep in mind, however, that your original photos will build your competitive advantage – it’s also content, Google favors sites with unique photos.

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse: Be Quick to Publish New Information

In the Google Discover feed, there is a time and a place both for evergreen as well as trending content. Actually, the algorithms are exceptionally good at finding what is hot right now, so they use the latest items of news whenever they match the user’s interest and are relevant.

One of the main goals of Google Discover is to feedspon their users with – among others – timely content. Knowing that, why wouldn’t you take this opportunity to provide the search engine – and eventually your audience – with the latest industry news?

Indeed, creating newsworthy and trendy materials is a perfect opportunity for you to get your brand displayed on Google Discover. Why? Because some of your customers may not be aware of a rising trend or some groundbreaking discovery that happened a few moments ago. If Google Discover considers your news relevant to a particular user linking, you will probably appear on their feed.

Find Your Niche

Define the people that make up your audience and generate pieces of content about the popular subjects they talk and want to learn about. Record a video discussing a prevailing trend in our niche. Check what is hot in your industry and create a quality article on that. You may even go with the flow with storytelling because why wouldn’t you? Whatever means of communication you choose, make sure it resonates with your prospects and matches their interest like no other content.

You may also sneak peek at what your closest business rivals are publishing for their audience. Check what kind of their content appears in Google Discover feed and try to figure out the reason for its popularity. Later, fire up your creativity and write an article on the same topic (don’t copy it!). However, try to give your audience a bit more than your rival does. This can be a fresh insight or a set of useful tips, for example.

Be Consistent – Publish Regularly

One of the key functions of Google Discover is helping their users stay up-to-date with the latest happenings. For that reason, the algorithms continually search for new articles and just-released videos to share them with their users. This means that a piece of content that has been published recently has a higher chance of being picked by the bots than a publication that was released weeks or months ago.

consistent publication for Google Discovery

An exemplary content calendar available on HubSpot

Additionally, once your content appears on Discover, it means you’re given a kind of green light from Google. That’s why you should carry on publishing new insightful materials regularly in order to build up your audience of repeat readers. Naturally, not only newsworthy but also evergreen content is what Google Discover loves and looks for, therefore map out your publishing strategy and stick to it.

If you struggle with coming up with inspiration for a post or article, consider going through the following list of ideas:

  • post an inspiring article
  • post an educational blog post
  • post an insightful video
  • tell a behind-the-scenes story
  • post news from your niche
  • post a case study
  • post a how-to guide
  • share a fun fact about your industry
  • write a product review/comparison post
  • create a DIY step-by-step tutorial

Engage Your Audience

Google Discover uses a kind of social media engagement metrics to separate the content that users find interesting from the content that is just… okayish, so to say. This means that the articles and videos that gathered more comments, likes, and shares are more likely to appear on Google Discover than the content that triggered zero to little response in readers. Even though the Discover news feed does not belong to a social media category, you can still use similar engagement and promotional tactics to attract people to read your content and navigate your site.

engage audiance in Google Discover

So, respond to your readers’ comments on your blog and answer a few of their questions. Invite them to share your content to other platforms so that you can attract more audience. This technique will come really handy especially for trending stories – the more topical and fascinating the content, the more exposure it can bring to your site. Also, ask them to follow your website by clicking the Follow button within Discover in Chrome – first, you need to optimize your web pages for the Follow feature though.

Track and Analyze Results

You can use analytical tools to see if your Discover efforts pay off the same way you do this to check your SEO. Luckily, you basically need just one tool to see traffic analytics generated by Google Discover, and you can do this in Google Search Console. The Performance Report for Discover offers two options: either view the overall traffic, or the traffic generated by a chosen piece of content.

Google Discovery data in GSC

Source: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2021/02/search-console-performance-discover-chrome

Use those stats to verify your brand performance on Discover. Try to understand why some posts brought more traffic to your site than others. See which pieces of content didn’t meet the users’ approval and find out the cause of such poor reception. The results shown in GSC – total clicks, total impressions, and average CTR – will help you make more informed decisions to create better Discover content.

Google Discover Feed Benefits

Getting featured on Google Discover offers nothing but benefits. And the best bit is that it costs you literally nothing to appear in the feed. You just need to comply with Google’s policies and index your unique and insightful content. When your article blog post or video made it to Google Discover, you will enjoy:

  • Increased visibility – your piece of content will pop up on the screens of those who are interested in what your business is about. They don’t have to visit your website/blog to see your publication. They even don’t need to know your brand exists to see your content! Google Discover learns the preferences of its users and spoon-feeds them with – hopefully – your articles and videos, without you spending a dime on having your content shown to the right audience, at the right time.
  • Increased traffic – once your piece of content is shown on the mobile device of a person who is clearly interested in what you want to say, they are likely to click on it. This automatically brings them to your website, increasing the much-desired organic traffic. Again, without spending anything, you welcome more prospects that are already excited to learn about the topic you cover.
  • User engagement – with such great targeting precision, the content shown on Google Discover is ultra-accurate and relevant to the user. No wonder why the engagement rates of the articles and videos are impressively high on this app. Basically, the more clicks your content gets, the more often it’s shown to other Google Discover users, hence increased visibility and more organic traffic. It’s a pure snowball effect of benefits for your business.

Google Discover – The Takeaway

Optimizing for Google Discover is not brain surgery. You’re perfectly able to do it on your own, and you definitely shouldn’t miss the opportunity this Google application software and marketing tool offers.

Carry on creating quality content for your target audience and keep it engaged. Use and share your experience in the field. Comply with Google’s policy and make sure your content is indexed properly. Follow the white hat SEO practices and make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

Then, wait for your brand to appear in your target audience’s Google Discover feed. And the more often the bots pick your content, the more people see you, engage with you and eventually convert.

However, if creating compelling content isn’t your strong suit, or if you don’t feel like formulating a content plan for the next few months, you may consider turning to the professionals. SEO copywriters working at Delante will be more than happy to take the content-related burden off your shoulders – just let us know if you need us.

This is an update of an article published in 2020. 

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Author
Managing Partner - Matt Calik

Managing Partner

Technical SEO specialist experienced in creating scalable processes based on agile methodologies. Responsible for international SEO strategies. He has strongly analytical approach to online marketing supported by over 12 years of experience. Previously associated with IT, motorsport, tobacco and financial markets. He has been building Delante for 5 years where he is Head of SEO and SEM department.
Comments (5)
  1. Very interesting and helpful review. It will be necessary to take into account all the recommendations in the future in order to be in the trend of new trends.

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