What is Google Discover, and are you optimizing for it?
Google’s answer to social media feeds just got a major makeover, and it could have an impact on how people search.
Here’s what you need to know about Discover.
What We’ll Cover:
- The Origins: Google Feed
- How Google Feed Became Google Discover
- Google Discover’s Rebrand Improvements
- How to Optimize for Google Discover
- Wrapping Up with Google Discover
- Google Discover FAQ
The Origins: Google Feed
In the simplest terms, Discover is Google’s take on a social media feed.
In fact, when this concept was first announced, it was actually called Google Feed.
Google launched its Feed feature back in December 2016 as a collection of cards meant to help users stay updated on the stories that mattered most to them.
So, think of it as a social media feed, except instead of following users, you’re following interests: music, entertainment, sports, marketing, animals, etc.
The Feed helped fulfill one of Google’s biggest goals: to help users search easily, even if they don’t know exactly what it is they’re searching for.
See, the Feed marked a big departure for Google.
Traditionally, Google and its SERPS act on a search query basis: a user enters a query, and Google returns the most relevant results.
Google Feed was built to give you information before you even search for it. As Google put it, the Feed would make it “easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you—even when you don’t have a query in mind.”
How Google Feed Became Google Discover
Once Google Feed started to prove its worth, the company decided to invest more in the concept. This investment came complete with a rebrand and a shiny new name. In 2018, Google Feed was reintroduced as Google Discover.
The original concept was Google’s step into the world of social media-like platforms. And Google Discover is helping the company achieve that goal.
Since the rebrand, Google Discover now has over 800 million users.
Google Discover’s Rebrand Improvements
Google unveiled its intent to rebrand and revamp the feature formerly known as Google Feed in September as part of its three-tiered shift in how it approaches search.
The biggest shift Google Discover made was from searching via queries to providing a way to get information without you providing a query.
Using Google AI, new content suggestions appear on your Discover feed based on your previous activity and search history, information from content and other apps, location settings and history, and newly published content and information.
So (no surprise here), when I launch my Google app, my feed is full of digital marketing and SEO news.
Over time, as you continue to interact with Discover, Google will continue to learn your habits and serve more relevant content.
Brand New Look
Besides a new name, Google Discover came with a new look. They redesigned the feed to be more visually appealing–and more relevant.
One notable fresh addition is that of topic headers and the Discover icon. They’re intended to explain why you’re seeing a particular card, and, if you want more content like it, you can click on the header to see more related stories.
Once you click on the header (and the adjacent Discover icon), you’ll also have the option to follow the interest to receive consistent updates on your Discover page.
Fun fact: Google says you’ll also soon start seeing these Discover icons in Search, meaning you can tap and follow a topic straight from the SERPs.
More Targeted Content
Google also added all kinds of new content to its Discover page.
Most of the contact that previously surfaced in Google Feed was news-related or trending. With the rebrand to Google Discover, the feed now features a mix of new personalized content and evergreen content that may not be new on the web but is new to you.
As an example, Google says “when you’re planning your next trip, Discover might show an article with the best places to eat or sights to see. Suddenly, a travel article published three months ago is timely for you.”
And it gets even cooler.
Because Google is Google (and has the luxury of your search history and AI on its hands), it can surface content based on your level of experience with a certain subject.
So, if you just picked up a guitar and are firmly in the beginner category, Google will show you content relevant to your experience level – no advanced riffs or songs.
If you know your way around an instrument, you’ll only see the advanced stuff.
Increased User Control with Google Discover
Another crowd-pleaser update is the level of control you have over what you see.
On the bottom right of each card, you’ll find a control icon. When tapped on, it lets you show whether you want to see more or less of particular content.
You can also personalize and choose which updates you want to see by clicking here.
Discover on the Homepage
Until now, Discover was only available on Google’s mobile apps.
But in its announcement, Google also revealed that Discover will come to all google.com mobile browsers, making it easier than ever for users to interact with their feeds.
How to Optimize for Google Discover
The Google Discover format gives you more opportunities to optimize it for SEO.
Get Verified and Indexed
The first step of your Google Discover SEO strategy is to get your website verified and indexed in the Google Search Console. It’s also important that your content passes the Google News Standards and that it doesn’t violate any of Google’s policies.
Like any other SEO content, you’ll want to follow EAT when crafting content for Google Discover. Without the 3 building blocks of EAT — Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness — your content won’t appear in the index.
Avoid Clickbait Titles
Stay away from clickbait titles. Just like with any other Google opportunity, quality content is key here on the Google Discover feed.
Clickbait-y titles make the algorithm think your content is clickbait spam, too. Come up with quality and captivating titles that showcase your content in the best way possible.
Produce Timely Content
Google Discover is constantly evolving, so its content is as well.
To avoid getting looked over, be sure that you’re focusing on producing quality and timely content that Google wants to push and drive traffic to.
Optimize for Mobile
Always optimize all of your content for mobile!
While you should do this anyway, most Google Discover users are going to be accessing content through their mobile devices. Be sure your content looks as captivating and engaging on mobile as it does on a desktop.
Use High-Quality Images
Images will always draw the eye of users scrolling through, but low-quality or unflattering images won’t pull them into your content. It will drive them away.
All of your images should be over 1200px wide and set to a max-image-preview: large setting. You should also include images that are something other than your site logo.
Incorporate Structured Data
The more structured your data, the better.
You don’t have to use several pieces of Schema structured data but the more information you provide, the better. This helps the algorithm truly understand what your content is about–and why they should highlight it.
Take Advantage of Google Web Stories
Similar to Instagram Stories, Google Web Stories are a full-screen opportunity to draw even more attention to your content.
However, unlike Instagram Stories, Google Web Stories can be freely distributed. They don’t have to remain on the Google Discover platform. You can publish them wherever you want.
This tool took the place of AMP Stories in May 2020. It moved on to launch on WordPress in October of the same year.
Google Web Stories are great for consumers because they are captivating and engaging but great for digital marketers because they are so multifaceted and can be used in a variety of locations on the internet.
Know Your Category
You also have a better chance of your content appearing on the Google Discover feed if it falls into a particular category.
A recent study showed that 46% of the posts shown in Google Discover are news and 44% were ecommerce sites. Other popular categories such as health, education, finance, travel, B2B, and automotive only made up 1-2% of posts.
If you’re in one of those 1-2% categories, don’t write Google Discover off just yet! Even 1% of posts still make up over 1 million clicks a year.
Regardless of which category you fall into, optimizing your posts for Google Discover is an excellent way to draw traffic to your site.
Wrapping Up With Google Discover
Though Google Feed may have flown slightly under the radar, I think it’s safe to say that won’t be the case with Discover.
Don’t sleep on the opportunities that Google Discover offers marketers. With Google investing so much into this rebrand, I can only imagine how much traffic will start coming from the platform.
Need help optimizing your content? Reach out to one of the many qualified SEO firms and get off on the right foot with Google Discover!
Google Discover FAQ:
1. Is there a Google Discover App?
Though not its own app, Google Discover appears on the Google app.
You will not need to download a separate Google Discover app; rather, if you have the Google app on your mobile device, you will have access to Discover. On mobile devices, the Discover feed will also display on Google’s homepage in your browser.
2. Is there a desktop version of Discover?
No. Discover on Google is not available on desktop.
Google has not yet released on any information on whether it plans to bring its Discover feed to desktop.
3. What’s the difference between Google Discover and Google News?
Google Discover is not a fast-track way to get onto Google News. The only prerequisite to getting on Google Discover is that Google indexes your pages and meet all the Google News requirements.
While that may sound like it’s a way to get into Google News, it’s not. Some articles have been accepted by Google Discover and denied by Google News.
It’s best to consider Google Discover as a step toward getting closer to Google News, but the two are not interchangeable.
4. Are there ads on Google Discover?
Yes. Google started monetizing Discover in May 2019 by introducing Discovery Ads.
This advertising format uses an image carousel that can be featured on Google Discover, YouTube, and even Gmail (Promotions and Social tabs).
5. How do I appear on Google Discover?
Appearing on Google Discover works just like appearing on Google’s SERPs does: SEO! Follow the steps discussed above to optimize your content and increase your chances of appearing on the feed.