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Optimising Content for Google Discover

Google Discover is the term for the information panels – usually news stories – shown on the Google Search app and in other Google browser searches on mobile phones, that presents users with a mix of content based on their interactions with Google products or content that they choose to follow directly. It is therefore a personalised search panel generated by Google, based on what they think the user would be interested in, based on their past activity.

As a specialised area of search engine optimisation, this is potentially another way for websites to get their content in front of interested users, so that a summary of your page can be shown to users as a ‘card’ in Discover, which is a scrollable list of topics that users can browse on their mobile devices. Tapping a card will send the user to the page that is the source of the Discover entry.

Discover can also feature videos, sports scores, entertainment updates (such as a new movie release), stock prices, event information (such as the nominees for a major award ceremony, or the lineup of an upcoming music festival), and more. Discover is therefore presented as a content hub for all of the searcher’s interests.

When looking to optimise content for the Discover panels, the information is algorithmically ranked by what Google thinks a user would find most interesting. Content ranking is powered by the strength of the match between an article’s content and a user’s interests, so there aren’t any methods for boosting the ranking of your pages other than posting content that you think users will find interesting.

Pages are eligible to appear in Discover cards simply if they are indexed by Google and meet Google News content policies. No special tags or structured data are required, so that Google ranks Discover content algorithmically based on content quality and the strength of the match between page content and user interests.

The two best ways to boost the ranking and performance of any Discover content are either to post content that you think users would find interesting, or to use high-quality images in your content (at least 1,200 pixels wide). Publishers are said to experience a 5% increase in clickthrough rate, a 3% increase in time spent on their pages, and a 3% increase in user satisfaction when Discover cards feature large images instead of thumbnail images.

Google Search Console also now includes a Discover report, but this is as long as your website gets a lot of traffic from Google Discover to meet the minimum required threshold. This report will show publishers more about how searchers are finding their site through the Google Discover feature, such as how often is the site shown in users’ Discover, what volume of click traffic does this generate and which pieces of content perform well in Discover.

To find out more about Google Discover and how your content may be optimised for this feature, please contact us for a conversation.