Google Discover: An Important Update

20.07.2020, 3m

Many online publishers and e-commerce stores started gaining massive traffic in 2018. How?

Google Discover.

This relatively new channel can be very effective. And now it's even easier to benefit from it. 

What Is Google Discover?

Mobile internet usage is so extremely popular right now. People use their smartphones to access websites, e-commerce stores, and social media. Google wasn't blind to this trend, so it launched Google Discover in September 2018.

Google Discover is a feature of the mobile Google Chrome browser. On the home screen, you can find news and articles related to your interests, hobbies etc.

google-discover-smartphone

This Google tool features mostly news updates and evergreen content. It also places a heavy emphasis on visuals, like videos, photography, and infographics.

In the beginning, this feature was known as Google Feed. However, Google rebranded the tool after it reached 800 million monthly active users.

Vogue saw more traffic come from Google Discover than Google Search in October 2019... Amazing!

How does Google Discover work?

According to Google's announcement, two primary mechanisms are used to determine what content is featured in Google Discover:

1. Google News AI/ML – to bring a variety of perspectives on the latest news.

2. Topic Layer in the Knowledge Graph – to understand users' interests (and how they progress over time).

How does Google know users' interests?

It uses:

  • search history
  • browser history
  • app activity
  • and location.

This way, Google Discover can identify and display topics relevant for each individual user.

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Important Update

Google Discover was launched almost 2 years ago. However, not all websites were featured in the same way.

Look at the screenshot below:

 

google-discover-screenshot

The second link looks different. Its image doesn't fill the full width of the screen. And when this happens, the CTR is lower.

In this case, the second link leads to a standard website, not the AMP version. Non-AMP websites were treated differently by appearing in Google Discover like this.

However, that is going to change now. You won't need to have an AMP website to be featured in Google Discover the same way as AMP websites.

(By the way, you can tell if the website is AMP if you see a lightning-bolt icon in the top right corner of the link's image, just like in the first and third link in the screenshot above).

How to get there?

Abby Hamilton from Search Engine Journal did some research:

She analysed 12 months of Google Discover traffic to over 11,000 URLs from 62 domains.

google-discover-research-overview

Abby found out that:

  1. News sites received 99% of clicks

  2. Blog posts are prevalent across all other industries

  3. Discover content typically has a short shelf-life

  4. Users respond well to Discover content

And if you want to be featured in Google Discover:

Ensure your website is mobile-friendly

Google Discovery is a feature available on mobile devices. That's why your website has to work properly on smartphones. Otherwise, you won't stand a chance at being displayed in Google Discovery.

Create useful & interesting content for your audience

When you create content for organic traffic, you're driven by search volume. You don't have to consider that metric while creating content for Google Discover. If your content is interesting, it will be displayed to your audience in Google Discover no matter how much organic traffic that piece of content receives.

Include High-Quality Images

Google suggests using images that are at least 1,200 pixels wide. Discover cards with large images experienced a 5% increase in click-through rate.

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