Google Discover may be one of the search giant’s newer features, but it relies on many of the time-tested optimization methods marketers have been using for years.
Read on to find out what they are.
What We’ll Cover:
- Optimizing for Google Discover:
- Create a Google My Business account
- Use semantics to organize your content
- Create high-quality, E-A-T-worthy content
- Take some cues from your social strategy
- Focus on user engagement
- Use high-quality visuals
- Create a mix of content
- Make sure your content is mobile-friendly
- Incorporate traditional SEO best practices
- Install AMP
First, What’s Different About Google Discover?
Google Discover (previously the Discover Feed), is Google’s take on a social media feed.
Rather than relying on traditional search queries, Discover was created to surface relevant information related to a user’s interests, without them entering a specific query.
The stories that surface in Discover are based on a mix of user’s search history and Google’s AI. This is very similar to how information is surfaced in social media feeds like Facebook and Instagram.
This is great for searchers who love a good scroll through social media.
But is it great for marketers?
SEO won’t be for the same for Discover as it is for your everyday search results.
Remember, there are no actual search queries here, meaning you can’t rely on search phrases and keywords to drive traffic and high rankings.
And though we don’t know for sure how Google will select content for Discover, we can speculate that one prevalent search theme will remain the same: relevant content that matches user intent.
So while the emphasis on keyword optimization won’t be as heavy, many of the same SEO principles will still apply; mainly, an emphasis on relevant, quality content.
Here are a few to keep in mind.
1. Create a Google My Business Account or Google Knowledge Graph
In order for Discover to work properly, you need to create an entity with Google Knowledge Graph. If your content is not in the Google Knowledge Graph, it will not appear in Discover.
You will need to get into the Graph by curating your Google My Business account.
To start with, you can create the following entities:
- One related to your Google My Business account
- One for the Google Knowledge Graph
- One for the product
- One about the company CEO
2. Use Semantics to Organize Your Content
You need to organize your content with semantic networks and entities. This enables you to do three key things:
- Gather more information about your entities
- Organize and measure the performance of your content like Google does
- Make better decisions regarding your own company
The definition of semantics is “related to something”. Essentially, you should be using metatags to keep all of your site’s content organized semantically or in relation to their designated category.
For example, if your website is generally about technology, you will most likely have many different tech topics covered throughout the site.
In order to create a more user-friendly experience for your visitors, you need to organize your content semantically. Everything that has to do with apps should be tagged as such. Likewise, everything that pertains to digital marketing should be labeled properly so that it’s easier to find as well.
3. Create Quality Content
No change here: quality content is key to success – no matter where you want your content to show up.
That starts with a deep, granular understanding of your target audience, their pain points, and how you can address them through your content.
It also means keeping your overall site reputation in mind.
When we talk about Google, trustworthiness is usually determined by a site’s authority: ultimately, that comes down to the strength of your content. And lately, Google’s been all about E-A-T.
E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. It means your content must be in-depth and you must work to establish a solid reputation in your industry – and with Google.
If Google finds that your website and/or content doesn’t meet E-A-T standards, your rankings will suffer. And if Google doesn’t rank your content well in the SERPs, it’s unlikely to in Discover as well.
For more on E-A-T, check out my full article here.
4. Take Some Cues From Your Social Strategy
Because Google Discover is meant to mimic a social feed, it makes sense that you would optimize for it in a similar way.
So take a page out of Facebook’s (new, updated-algorithm) book; mainly, focus on building a reputable brand with engaging content.
For example, one of Facebook’s latest algorithm updates prioritizes “high-quality news.” That means:
- News from publications that the community rates as trustworthy
- News that people find informative
- News that is relevant to people’s local community
For brands, that means the more trustworthy your content is rated, the more likely it is to be widely distributed. Again, the principles of E-A-T apply here.
Aside from E-A-T, make sure to do a full social media audit to find out the kinds of posts and content that typically see the most engagement for your brand. Because Discover will be similar to scrolling through social feeds, the content that performs well will likely translate to Discover.
Another thing to keep in mind: clickbait headlines and tactics are being cracked down on social media, meaning they likely won’t do you any favors in Google Discover either.
5. Create User Engagement (And Focus on Relationships)
Another big one when it comes to social feeds is engagement.
The more engagement a post has (likes, comments, shares), the higher it will rank in users’ feeds.
The first step to engagement, of course, is to create great content (we already went over this one, but it’s important enough for a second mention).
Once you have that great content, promote anywhere and everywhere to get as much exposure and engagement as possible.
Post it to your social feeds, include it in your email marketing, link to it from elsewhere around your site, and ask your coworkers to promote it as well.
Don’t be afraid to ask for engagement, either. Create social posts with questions to get more comments and bold statements for more likes.
And remember, the more exposure your content gets, the more engagement it’s likely to receive.
Then, it’s more likely to get pushed into the Discover feed over one of your competitor’s pieces due to its high level of engagement which, in Google’s eyes, signals higher relevancy to that group of users.
The difference here is this: Unlike Facebook, Instagram, etc., Discover doesn’t choose content based on your friends likes or shares.
Instead, it relies only on what you’ve liked, shared, or interacted with most in the past.
This means that, yes, you want to create as much engagement as possible, but you also need a clear focus on building relationships with your users.
Encourage new and existing customers to stay engaged with your brand through personalized email campaigns, loyalty programs, etc.
6. Use Video and Images
Along with its new approach to search, Google also revealed it’s putting extra emphasis on images.
That’s especially true in the Discover feed, and Google points out that users will find more images and fresh visual content in the feed.
The redesign is all about being visually pleasing, so when creating content, a focus on finding relevant thumbnail images will have a major impact on whether or not your content is a contender for Discover.
This is also a good time to start ramping up your video strategy. Any articles or posts that can be translated into video and promoted accordingly absolutely should be.
Not only is it a great way to increase your chances of being picked up in the Discover feed, but it opens up new channels for you to optimize for and promote on (and if YouTube isn’t part of your strategy yet – now is the time.)
7. Create a Mix of Content
Pre-Discover, Google Feed was primarily made up of trending news stories: politics, sports recaps, pressing industry updates, etc.
That’s not going away. It makes sense, then, that your content strategy should put an emphasis on staying up-to-date on current industry news or highlights, and that doing so will give you a leg up in Discover.
We also know now that Google isn’t focusing exclusively on breaking news with the new incarnation of Discover; it will also be surfacing relevant evergreen content.
You know what that means.
It means that for your best shot at your content being picked up, you need a strategy that encompasses both evergreen articles and current trends.
Make it a point to vary the kinds of content you produce (as in, have a plan to put out one article that addresses a new technology or trend each week, etc.)
And, in the case of evergreen content, make sure you’re performing regular refreshes and updated to keep them current.
8. Make it Mobile Friendly
This one really goes without saying.
Because the Discover feed is showcased through mobile, it’s imperative that your website and content be mobile-friendly.
Simply put: if it isn’t, it won’t be pulled for the Discover feed.
If you’re unsure whether or not your site is optimized for mobile, plug your URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test website for a full report.
9. Incorporate Traditional SEO Tactics
There are several SEO tactics that you can incorporate into your digital strategy for Google Discover. Here’s a handy list:
- Create meaningful contentㅡYour goal should be to create engaging, timely content that people want to share with their friends and family. If people find your content interesting, Discover will make a note of that and display it more often to the right audience.
- Create evergreen contentㅡTrending topics are not the be-all-end-all. Crafting evergreen articles that can generate web traffic for months or even years is a great goal to set. Discover doesn’t just focus on trends.
- Display the author’s nameㅡWith so much fake news out there today, Google Discover is working hard to cut down on promoting dishonest media. That’s why it’s important to have a real author’s name listed clearly on your content.
- Create interactive contentㅡIf your content is engaging enough, visitors will like and comment on it. That sends a signal to Google Discover that your content is being well received.
10. Optimize for Google Discover with AMP
This ties back to the point of making your site mobile friendly.
Google Discover is currently only available for smartphones and tablets.
That means that mobile-friendliness is critical for Google Discover to work for your company.
By implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) on your site, you will drastically improve your page load speed. This will optimize the user experience and cut down on any visitor frustrations.
As Google places more emphasis on its Discover feed (and makes it easier than ever for users to interact with), brands will have to start approaching their content optimization a little differently.
Again, Google hasn’t released any information on how it selects content for Discover – only that it’s based on a user’s indicated interests and search history.
For marketers, that means focusing on cultivating and maintaining relationships, promoting content, and creating engagement.