If you’re trying to optimize content so it ranks in Google Discover, you might want to spend that time doing something more productive.
According to Google, you can’t do anything to appeal to Discover’s interest-matching algo.
The company stated that in a recent help document. Follow along and I’ll explain more about what’s in that doc.
What Is Discover?
First, a little background on Google Discover. It’s designed to show Google users content related to their interests.
For example, you might see relevant articles about your favorite TV shows, movies, or sports teams on Discover. You also get to choose which types of updates you see in Discover in the Google app or when browsing on the web.
For web developers and SEOs, Google produced a help document about Discover. But if you read it a while ago, you may have to read it again.
A Brand New Guide
Google rewrote the entire Discover help doc. Still, there are quite a few similarities between the new version and the old one.
There are, however, some noticeable differences.
For starters, the old doc offered advice on the “best ways to boost the ranking and performance of your Discover content.” The new guide puts an emphasis on the differences between organic search results and Discover.
“Instead of showing results in response to a query, Discover surfaces content primarily based on what Google’s automated systems believe to be a good match with a user’s interests,” the document states. “The content in Discover changes regularly based on newly published web content or evolving user interests.”
No Way to Optimize
In the new guidelines, Google goes out of its way to make it clear that there’s “no way” to optimize content for Discover.
Why is that? Because of the unpredictable way that Google surfaces Discover content.
Google even uses the word “serendipitous” to describe the algorithm.
So if you want to optimize, do it for search results as opposed to Discover.
But It’s Not All Bad News
Although you can’t optimize your web content so it ranks in Google Discover, you can optimize your content so it looks great when it does appear there.
That’s important because people might click on your link based on how the content appears.
Google offers a few tips for success in Discover:
- Use non-clickbait titles that reflect the content of the web page
- Avoid “curiosity gap” content that’s designed solely for clicks
- Use headlines that deliver facts instead of generating emotions
- Develop content that’s relevant to current events
- Include info about the publisher, author, or company behind the content
- Use high-quality, large images
- Produce content that demonstrates expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT)
Yes, you can monitor your performance on Google Discover.
Just head over to Google Search Console and check out your performance reports. You can do that by clicking on Performance under Overview on the left-hand sidebar.
Keep in mind: you won’t see a Google Discover report unless your website reached a threshold number of impressions during the past 16 months.
So if you’re not seeing a report, it’s because your website isn’t appearing in Google Discover.
Normally I’d say that’s a clue that you should optimize for Discover. But now we know that isn’t possible.
If your site did meet that threshold, though, you’ll see impressions, clicks, and click-through rates (CTRs) for all your content that appeared in Discover.
If you’re noticing lower than anticipated CTR’s, that’s a sign that you need to optimize your content so it’s more likely to get clicks once people see it.
Wrapping It Up
Sorry, but you can’t optimize your content so it surfaces in Google Discover.
You can, however, ensure that your Discover content appeals to its target audience. To do that, avoid clickbait headlines and include quality imagery.