How to do SEO for Google Discover

Not long ago (that is, in December 2016) Google introduced the Google Feed to help users stay organised and access relevant content as per their interests. Ever since the inception, it has gained massive popularity, and today, the Google Feed has a userbase of over 800 million people.

In an attempt to follow the ‘social media’ trend of keeping the users always engaged and updated with interesting content, Google has cranked it’s Feed up a notch to create the new Google Discover.

What is Google Discover?

Google has always aimed at enhancing its user experience by offering fresh and relevant content. Even when you’re not searching for anything in particular, you get lots of useful information ‘pre-search.’ In other words, Google helps you ‘discover’ content pertaining to your specific topics of interests or other related topics. Google Discover’s advanced algorithm predicts what you would like to see or find and accordingly displays content in your feed. Discover will primarily base the content displayed on your personal search history coupled with a dose of AI.

According to Google, “Discover is unique because it’s one step ahead: it helps you come across the things you haven’t even started looking for.”

To further enhance your discovering experience, Google has revamped its Feed with a new look-and-feel — Google Discover, wherein exploring your subjects of interest will become easier than ever, and also more visually appealing.

Here’s how.

Topic headers

Unlike Feed where the content was organised and consolidated in the form of ‘cards’, Discover organises content into ‘buckets’ using appropriate headers. The topic headers will explain why you see a specific topic, and if you want more of such topics, you can always access them in related stories.

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Once you click on a particular topic header, you can either dive deeper into that topic, or you can opt for the Discover icon and see an ever-growing set of related issues flood your screen. You can get updates on the various topics of your interests by clicking the “Follow” option.

Evergreen content

To help you discover fresh and engaging content, Google Discover brings to you ‘Evergreen Content’ — it refers to all kinds of content (video, textual, visual) that aren’t essentially new on the Web but are new for you. For instance, if you are on the lookout for ‘the best eateries around you’, Discover will display a blog or a vlog listing down the best places to eat around that particular region that was published a month ago. This is how Discover will keep introducing you to new and relevant content keeping your interests in mind.

Furthermore, Discover uses the Topic Layer in the Knowledge Graph to predict your expertise on a specific subject/topic and allow you to expand your area of expertise and hone your skills.

Enhanced control — more power to you!

Like we mentioned earlier, Discover is meant to enhance your exploring experience and so, it equips you with more power to customise your Discover Feed.

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There’s a Control icon that allows you to tweak the preference for specific content — whether you want to see more of it or less. You get options like “Hide this story”, “Not Interested”, “Stop Showing Video Highlights”, and “Hide Spoilers”, to name a few.

Increased accessibility

Even today, many people do not use the Google App and rely on other browsers like Safari, or Chrome. In that case, a user may never interact with Google’s new Discover. Addressing this issue, Google has developed a new Homepage that will be accessible on Google.com for all mobile browsers. This is a welcome change from the Feed that was only accessible through the Google App.

Now, that you know what Google Discover is all about, here’s a thinker — How do you conduct SEO for Google Discover?

When it comes to SEO, The first thing to remember here is that Discover is different from Google Feed — it doesn’t actually rely on search queries. Naturally, you cannot be applying the same SEO strategies that you’ve been using for the Google Feed. So, while keywords may not be high on the list, the search theme will remain more or less the same: to offer relevant and meaningful content that is in sync with the user intent and interests.

Here are a few ways to conduct SEO for the new Google Discover:

1. Always focus on developing quality content

There’s no changing the fact that, you as a brand have to continually come up with quality content if you wish to be discovered by users. The structure is basically the same as well — identify your target audience, understand their pain points, and develop engaging content accordingly that addresses their pain points. The word ‘engaging’ is pivotal since to stay relevant in the search and SEO scene, you need to boost your customer engagement factor. Apart from creating quality content, you also need to ensure that your target audience interacts with your brand. The more engagement (likes, shares, comments, mentions) your content has, the higher it will rank in the SERPs.

Google Discover will function similar to that of your social media feed. Just like your social media feed displays content that you and your friends/followers have interacted with, Google Discover will streamline your feed with content with which you’ve associated or engaged in the past.

2. Make your content visually appealing

In the announcement itself, Google made it very clear that Discover would bring more visually appealing content to the table. With the message being pretty clear, you will need to focus on incorporating high-quality and relevant images or videos in your content.

With a fresh approach, you should start rethinking both your textual and video content strategies and aim to make them pleasing to the eyes of the users. Your images and videos should be such that they can capture the attention of the users in one go and keep them engaged all the way through. If you have a stock of articles or blogs that can be transformed into engaging videos, you must go forward with it. Also, this opens up new vistas for you since you can promote video content on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and much more.

Do all of this, and you’ll see a definite boost in your website traffic and SEO rankings.

3. Create the right content ‘mix’

Before Discover, Google Feed was comprised mainly of trending news and stories on issues like sports, entertainment, politics, industry, and so on. While Discover will retain this structure, it will also be curating your feed with evergreen content associated with your interests. So, what does it mean for you?

You need to find the perfect balance and the right content mix — that is, while you proactively develop engaging content surrounding the latest and trending topics, you must also include evergreen content (articles, blogs, videos, infographics, etc.) that never go out of style. However, when it comes to relevant content, you must ensure that the content is always updated and tweaked according to the current trends. This way, you’ll always hold a spot in the Discover Feed while also remaining relevant to the users.

4. Whatever you do, make sure it’s mobile-friendly

As you know, Discover is going to feature on all mobile and browser platforms, so you cannot miss out on optimising your website and content for the mobile platform. If you do so, you will lose a large chunk of your target audience, since nearly half of the Internet populace is on the mobile.

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According to WeAreSocial, over 3 billion people across the globe use social media, and 9 out of 10 of those users use mobile platforms to access their social media accounts. With this being the present scenario, you really don’t want to miss out on such a huge opportunity, do you?

Although it is too early to form a solid conclusion on how Google Discover will impact and influence SEO, the four pointers mentioned above are constant. And while passive and intelligent browsing is here, active searching is not going away anytime soon. Why? Because no matter what, there’ll always be a search bar. So, you can search for anything and everything you’d want to know, and for all that you don’t know yet, there’s Google Discover.

Shriya Garg

A book-lover with dual degrees in finance, Shriya has created (and abandoned) eight blogs, started her first company at 12, published two books (first one at 16), edited dozens for others, and worked with five interesting startups in her career so far. Prior to joining ContentNinja, she worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and has a deferred admit from ISB, Hyderabad. She is an SLP Fellow and a Quora Top Writer. When she’s not fielding client calls, she can be found cleaning cat hair from her clothes.