How to Optimize for Google Discover, and Why it Matters

  •   April 9, 2020

For some marketers, Google Discover is not part of their digital marketing toolbox. Whereas some are using it to grow their business, this content marketing tool has gone unnoticed to others. But Discover is a remarkable source of web traffic for marketers. It can help you build your brand authority faster.

The software lets users conduct searches faster and find engaging topics. However, the best part is that it allows you to find what you are searching for without performing a search. As a component of the Google search engine, it uses your previous search history to show your related materials that you might love.

In consequence, content marketers are using the Google application to drive increased traffic to their websites. The renamed Feed produces more traffic because Google developers optimized the software and customized it for mobile devices.

But, note that the rebranded Google Discover is not Google News. These two are different. Here is everything I am going to cover:

Google News vs. Google Discover, What are the Differences?

Google news allows consumers to discover trending stories and suitable materials of what is happening globally. The major news feature presents results for a searcher’s news topic based on his search query.

But Google Discover shows consumers information of interests that engages users without them searching. Also, when using Discover, it gives you the ability to customize your content of choice. You can quickly do that by following topics.

Nonetheless, for your marketing content to appear on Discover, it should be of top quality with your web pages index by Google.

What is Google Discover?

Google Discover is an updated Google Feed that offers web content to consumers following their search history. The software recommends information before you even perform a search. In other words, you will find fascinating subjects without entering a keyword.

For this, Google described the new Discover in three crucial shifts. The shifts are:

  1. A transition from answers to journeys

  2. A change from queries to a query-less process of acquiring information

  3. The shift from text to an improved visual way of discovering data

Moreover, before the launch took effect, the old Feed was more of a textual design. But the new Discover has a wide range of different content, including:

So, the Discover feed allows you to discover recent topics and content about your interest. Here is the rebranded Google Discover below:

The new look Google Discover
Image via Google

A closer look shows you that developers personalized the Feed for mobile devices. You can essentially customize your Feed to display only your content of choice. To make it happen, tap the header of any content you find interesting.

Once you do that, Google Discover will start showing you exciting, relevant content. Additionally, by following your choice of content, you will only see related materials from that point onward. But you can stop following topics by tapping the “More” button at the right corner below your mobile screen.

How to optimize for Google Discover

When you tap the “More” button, scroll a little down and tap the “Your data in Search” to see your search history. From there, scroll down to delete items that no longer interest you.

Your search data in Google Discover

So, because Discover can drive massive web traffic to your website, it should be an element of your digital marketing strategy.

Why Should You Care About Google Discover?

There are several reasons why Discover matters to your online business. But we will consider a few of them.

Did you know? Google Discover is a search engine platform that also offers you a space to organize interesting content pieces you find across the web. This space is called “Collections.” You can add web pages that fascinate you, including products, and other vital content pieces.

Also, you can invite others to contribute to your collections. But what is cool is that the Google application also functions as an analytic tool that helps you measure the traffic you are getting from the Discover platform.

Google also called the reporting tool, “Discover.” It allows you to view and gauge web traffic that is coming from Google Discover. Thus, the data helps you define the content that performs best─those that drive the most traffic and those that are not performing.

From there, you can update the under-performing materials and replicate the ones generating results to improve SEO and drive more traffic. That is why Google noted that they added the new Discover report feature to Google Search Console to give users helpful information that provides answers to some pressing questions.

Some of the new Discover report data are:

  • The volume of traffic to your site from Discover.

  • The best of your content on Google Discover.

  • How often your site appears on Discover.

  • How does your content perform on Discover over traditional search results?

These pieces of information will help you enhance your content strategy and Google rankings. So since all search engines love engaging content, optimizing for Google Discover is important because it represents this trend. It provides users personalized, engaging content.

8 Secret Ways to Optimize for Google Discover

In this article, you will discover the eight secret ingredients that will help you optimize your content for Google Discover.

1. Strengthen Your Content Quality

Content is the essence of digital marketing, so without content, your marketing effort will be a waste. But it doesn’t mean that you should publish any piece of material. For instance, tin content is less substantial and will add no value to your readers.

So if you continue to publish these types of materials, you will hardly appear on Discover, and you will gradually lose your readership. If your articles barely answer your readers’ queries, and your competitors offer them something better than what you are offering, It is logical to say that your competitors will win their loyalty.

Similarly, Google Discover gives consumers relevant, engaging content. Be it articles, blog posts, videos, and more. Your posts must be highly-informative because Discover is programmed to offer users quality materials.

For this, when creating content for publishing, or updating old blog posts, use trending data, current statistics, and marketing strategies to amplify your articles. Use more long-tail keywords, semantic keywords phrases, high-quality images, and illustrative graphics to optimize your post.

Also, try to understand user intent—the search terms your marketing personas will likely search on Google. Make a list of related keyword terms and use them to strengthen your content.

Ensure that it has all the essential components that will glue your readers on the page. For example, use rhetorical questions to capture readers’ attention from the start. A rhetorical question does not require an answer. Instead, it is a ploy used to influence readers into thinking about your message. Content marketers also use this writing style to emphasize important points.

Using this approach will help you increase:

  • Blog reader’s time on page

  • Reduce bounce rates

  • Increase web traffic

  • Improve dwell time

  • Boost search ranking, and

  • Improve your chance to appear on Google Discover.

Content Marketing Challenges

A survey by SEMrush of 1,200 marketers in 39 countries revealed some exciting results. Among other things, the content marketing statistics for 2020 show that several marketers are struggling to create engaging content.

Content marketing challenges
Source graphic by SEMrush
According to the survey results, producing quality content is one of the biggest challenges for businesses.

  • It states that 54% of marketers cannot develop content that generates quality leads. 

  • More than 50% of companies cannot create top-notch content that attracts more web traffic.

  • 45% of marketers are unable to produce content that connects with their audience.

As a consequence, if you fall into the above categories, it will be difficult for Discover to pick your content. But you have two available options that can help you.

  1. Learn how to create better content materials, or

  2. Hire expert freelance content creators to fill the void.

They will help you create top-quality content for humans and search engines. In fact, top influencers and content marketers are using freelance writers to create marketing content for their blogs and other marketing channels.

To back this claim, the SEMrush 2020 research results show that the top content format for 86% of businesses is blog posts. 53% of these marketers are outsourcing their content writing activities.

Outsourcing content writing work
Graphic by SEMrush

So if you can’t write, outsource writing jobs to freelance writers or learn to do it DIY.

2. Use High-quality Visuals 

The rebranded Google Discover underscores the need for more visual content. It means that to increase your odds of showing up on the platform, you should create more quality visuals and optimize them appropriately.

Google pointed out that Discover content could rank on searches due to the quality of material and the link between consumer’s interest and the content. For this, you should do two things to boost your content ranking on Google Discover:

  1. Consistently publish exciting content that engages your readers.

  2. Use quality visuals, including videos, photos, infographics, and graphics, to amplify your posts and optimize them properly.

Furthermore, replace thumbnails with large images. Why? Because Google stated that large pictures perform better on Discover cards. Please, consider these statistics as reported by Google:

  • Marketers increased time on page by 3%

  • Publishers achieved a 5% increase in click-through-rate (CTR).

  • They also realized a 3% boost in user satisfaction.

All thanks to high-quality large photos. But ensure that your photos are at least 1,200 px wide.

3. Create Exciting Videos 

The new Google Feed will make your content more irresistible to consumers if it has quality visuals. Additionally, since videos have become more prominent in recent times, Discover is centered on visual materials.

Therefore, produce different types of videos that will engage your target market and solve their problems. I advise you to look at your top-performing blogs and create videos from them. These content pieces are already generating more social media engagement and ranking on Google and other search engines.

So, transforming them into video content will help improve website engagement, SEO ranking, and appear on Discover.

For inspiration, you can produce the following videos:

The concept is to enable you to produce compelling video materials your audience can’t resist. Ultimately, consumers prefer to see more videos from marketers they support.

Consumers want to see more video content
Graphic by HubSpot
According to research by HubSpot, more than 50% of customers want to see more videos than other content types. It means that the more quality videos you create, the more your chances to appear on Google Discover.

4. Observe Google’s Content Policies

Google made clear that if you want Discover to pick your content and show it to searchers, you must comply with their content policies. The Google guidelines include “Search Quality Rating,” which covers Page Quality (PQ)” and “Needs Met (NM) ratings.” 

Google guideline overview
Screenshot via Google

The heads up means that any post you publish should abide by the Google News guidelines.

This step does not mean that your content will appear on Google News. Instead, it indicates that if Discover picks your content, it observed Google content policies and could make it to Google News.

Therefore, ensure that the blogs you publish conform with Google publishing policies to improve your likelihood of appearing on Discover.

5. Tell Your Community to Add You on Google Discover

Discover software is remarkable with fascinating capabilities. Do you know that the application software lets you choose what sources of information to add to your collections? Yes, it does! It allows you to select the topics of interest you want to follow.

But your target buyer may not know that he can add you to his topics of interest or collections unless you tell him. That is why you should inform your community of readers to add you to Google Discover. In this manner, when you publish a post or when Discover selects content from your blog, they will get notified.

It is like a call-to-action on your website. Visitors may not take your desired action without a call-to-action. Similarly, if you don’t tell them, they may not add your blog on Discover.

How to Add Exciting Topics to Google Discover

Adding your interests to Discover is a straight-forward method. As an example, I add SEMrush to my list of exciting topics. Here is how to do it:

Open the software and enter your focus in the search bar. For this article, I searched for SEMrush. See the screenshot below. So by the addition of SEMrush, I will get updates from SEMrush through Google Discover.

How to optimize for Google Discover
Screenshot by the author

However, your results page may not reveal the “+ Follow” button. My search result didn’t show the tab. So I scrolled a little down and found it, as you can see on the screenshot. Similarly, if you enter your topic or blog on the search and don’t see the follow button, don’t stress. Just scroll down a little, and you will find it.

How to follow topics on Google Discover
Screenshot by the author

When you see the button, tap the “+ Follow” to start following a blog or topics that excite you. After you tap the follow button, the (+) sign will adjust to a checkmark (✓). The checkmark means that you are now following the topic or publication.

How to follow topics on Google Discover
Screenshot by the author

For this reason, when there is a new post from the SEMrush blog, Google Discover will show me the article. This helps to boost traction with existing readers.

Even without backup data for this, you agree that when more people add your blog to Discover, it will signal Google that your content pieces are helpful and relevant to your readers. It will boost your search engine ranking and cement your position on Discover.

 6. Optimize for Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)

Why should you optimize for Google Accelerated Mobile Pages? Because AMP is ideal for enhancing website user experience (UX). So, as you may know, improved user experience is a Google ranking factor. Hence, Google developers designed AMP for speed.

A web page that loads faster helps in improving UX, which increases consumer satisfaction. Put differently, if your site is not up to speed, it decreases your search ranking, and your chances of getting picked by Discover become slim. It contributes to why people leave your blog for your competitors.

Therefore, optimizing for Google Accelerated Mobile Pages is vital if you want your posts on Discover. It is for this reason that the Discover report feature on the Google Search Console (GSC) offers you comparison options for AMP and non-AMP data.

From your search console, you can measure the AMP and non-AMP data, respectively. So, optimize your website for AMP to boost UX and appear on Discover.

7. Publish Evergreen and Trendy Content Frequently

Earlier in this article, I stated that Google Discover displays both fresh and evergreen content that is relevant to the searcher’s query. These results follow the user’s past search history. It helps users keep up to date with what is trending in the industry.

Discover will show both the trending content and evergreen materials that relate to your search. Also, Google Discover presents the evergreen materials to engage, solve a problem, and entertain the reader. Whereas, popular posts engage the reader and keep you aware of the latest happenings.

Interestingly enough, it is a win-win marketing strategy. Because when you create news-worthy, evergreen content pieces, Discover will pick and present it on relevant search results. As a consequence, you will increase traffic to your site, improve brand awareness, generate targeted leads, and make more sales.

8. Conduct Competitor Research

Why conducting competitor research is vital. If, after everything your post is not on Discover, it would be wise to perform competitor research to know why Discover is overlooking your content.

Try to figure out:

  • Why Google Discover is choosing your competitors’ content over yours.

  • The reason your content is not on the Discover platform.

  • What your competition is doing differently to appear on Google Discover.

  • What is making your competitors content to pop?

  • Etc.

Examining your competitors will aid you in understanding how to get your materials on Discover. Also, you should start following relevant topics on Google Discover. This step will help you to know better the quality of materials the content marketing tool organizes and displays to users.

Your data will help you understand users’ behavior and why Discover selects your competition over you.

Do You Want to Appear on Google Discover?

Now that you understand what Google Discover is and how to optimize for it, apply these tips to improve your odds of appearing on the platform. The more you boost your content quality, the better your chances. So keep implementing and testing to pinpoint what works best for you.

Are there other tips you can add that will help our readers? Please, tell us in the comments!

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