How to Optimize Your Content for Google Discover
Get more clicks and traffic when you optimize your content for Google Discover.
More clicks and more impressions. You want ’em; Google’s got ’em – specifically within Discover.
Google Discover presents users with content that is tailored to their search history and interests. No two Discover feeds look the same! You can experience Google Discover in the Google app, on the Google.com mobile homepage, and by swiping right from the home screen on Pixel phones.
Since Discover feeds are customized for users, the content typically has a very high click-through rate. I’ve seen average CTRs of 6-12%, and that’s normal!
While there are no strict guidelines to follow to guarantee that your content is featured in Discover, there are best practices that will give your content a fighting chance – and they’re not so hard to do.
What is Google Discover?
“Discover is a feature within Google Search that helps users stay up-to-date on all their favorite topics, without needing a query,” Google explains.
The feature launched in 2018 and now helps 800M+ monthly active users “get inspired and explore new information by surfacing articles, videos, and other content on topics they care most about.”
Content doesn’t have to be brand new to surface in users’ Discover feeds. It just has to be indexed by Google. No structured data or special tags are required. Google’s goal is to surface “the best of the web regardless of publication date.” This includes recipes, how-to guides, human interest stories, fashion videos, sweepstakes, and more.
Getting Featured in Google Discover
I’m a realist (not a pessimist!), so I need to tell you a couple of things.
First, “there is no way to create content that explicitly targets Discover’s interest matching.” Discover marks the start of a new era – the searchless search! Second, being featured in Discover won’t fix an existing traffic problem. Discover traffic should be considered supplemental to your current search traffic.
And finally, Discover traffic can be a little erratic, and that’s okay! Take a look at the following 6-month insights from Google Search Console’s Discover. Peaks and troughs are the industry norm.
Take the following steps, however, and you’ll be doing everything you can to win attention in Google Discover and the organic space as a whole.
1. Be Mobile Friendly
Discover is only available on tablets and smartphones. If your content isn’t mobile-friendly, you won’t be featured in Discover. This one is an easy-ish fix!
Ensure your mobile experience is as good as your desktop experience. That means intrusive ads or pop-ups are minimal or non-existent. Images are properly sized and compressed. Content loads fast.
If possible, optimize for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is a method of creating lightweight, super fast-loading content for mobile devices. AMP content features less code and fewer extraneous elements, so users experience almost instant load times and seamless content scrolling.
2. Produce Best-in-Class Content
Like Bumble dates, friends, and bean burritos — quality matters!
Google wants to help users discover new, kicka$$ content that they may not have experienced yet. But what IS kicka$$ content?
“Ensure that you are posting outstanding and engaging content that you think users would find interesting,” Google advises.
Let’s break that down. Outstanding and engaging content is:
- Genuinely helpful. It’s well-researched and covers a topic to the degree that satisfies the searcher’s question and intent. This coverage level typically requires more than 500 words, plus quotes, statistics, hyperlinks, and multiple sections with subheaders. If your content isn’t better (in some way) than what’s already ranking, you have little hope of being featured in Discover.
- Aligned with the brand and business goals. The content matches your brand’s products, services, and general reputation with Google. Speak to topics and problems that you can be perceived as an authority on.
- Optimized for search, both technically and semantically. Do your keyphrase research! Write about topics that are informed by keyphrases people are actually searching for, then include these phrases and similar language throughout. Use H2s, H3s, etc. to structure your piece. Include bulleted and numbered lists. All of the above is good for users and good for Google.
SEMRush (one of our fav tools) adds, you can improve your content quality by using “more long-tail keywords, semantic keywords phrases, high-quality images, and illustrative graphics to optimize your post.”
Side note: If you’re producing quality content, you’re observing Google’s content policies and search quality rating guidelines.
3. Include High-Quality Visuals
Google gives specific guidelines for Discover images. Google recommends, “including compelling, high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover. Large images need to be at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting, or by using AMP. Avoid using a site logo as your image.”
4. Publish Both Fresh and Evergreen Content
Creating timely content along with evergreen (always relevant) content is essential. I’ve seen how-to shopping guides surface in Discover and garner steady clicks and impressions for months, but I’ve also seen sweepstakes articles be featured for a month, skyrocket in clicks, and then fall off the Discover radar. Some search analysts argue that the average lifespan of a post in the Discover feed is between 2 and 3 days, but it might depend on vertical and content type.
To succeed in your Google Discover strategy, reports Search Engine Journal, your content must be a mix of:
- Evergreen pieces (updated to reflect accurate information)
- Pieces following the latest industry trends
- News around relevant topics and creating information opinion pieces around them
Get Discovered with GPO!
If you’re already writing about topics and problems you know your target audience is interested in, Google Discover is a great place to get in front of the right people. All you need to do is shore up the experience by making sure it’s mobile-friendly, adding quality images, and publishing regularly. And GPO can help! Reach out today. Our content team has been grabbing Google Discover feed attention from the get-go, and we’d love to apply what we’ve learned to help your brand get an outrageous number of clicks and impressions from Google Discover.