Google Discover is a social media-like content feed available on Android devices. This app appears fully pre-installed by default on mobile devices with the Android operating system.
Like AMP, this gives publishers a way to push content towards the massive volumes of Google users. But unlike AMP, Google Discover doesn't require that publishers create separate, new pages. Google Discover uses content algorithms to display a personalized feed of new and old content, based on the taste and preferences of the user, learned by Google.
Launched in 2018, Google Discover now has over 800 million monthly users. But the lack of clear criteria on how to feature on Google Discover means that some publishers are failing to capitalize on what, for some, is a tremendous source of new readers.
In this blog post, we're explaining how to make sure your stories feature on Google Discover.
Create a mix of trendy and evergreen content
Google Discover will show audiences a mix of new and evergreen content. It is not exclusively breaking stories. In Google's own words '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.'
Post more videos
Google recommends posts like ‘tutorials, demos, interviews with thought leaders, or even short videos that inform viewers of a new trend in your industry.’ These will help your chances of being featured in Google Discover feeds.
Optimize your photos
Add alternate text and compress the files so they don't slow page-load speeds or harm your search ranking. 'Publishers experience a 5% increase in click-through 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.'
Follow Google News guidelines
Google Discover applies the same content guidelines as it uses for its other news products, such as Google News. To be featured, publishers have to publish original content, keep ads around the content to a minimum, and write transparently and clearly so a reader can easily understand who wrote the piece. Other smaller details include adding publish dates, citing when outside sources were used, and other important credibility-related factors.
Optimize your site and content for mobile devices
To feature on Google Discover, pages must be easy to navigate and look visually pleasing on mobile devices. The goal is to make the journey through the site seamless and engaging to those who enter via Google Discover.
Use the correct size of images
One of the most relevant issues to consider is related to the use of images in the content. Google Discover cards appear in two different formats: the first one includes a full-width photograph that occupies almost half of the screen on the user's device. The other option uses a much smaller photo and appears lower in the feed. To be included in Discover cards, the image must have at least 1200 pixels wide and the page should be marked up with structured data.
In addition to all this, it is estimated that more than 70% of the cards that appear in Google Discover are from pages that have AMP versions. This means, your AMP markup must be totally valid since the slightest labeling error will cause the AMP page to be defined as "invalid" and you will miss a great opportunity to acquire readers through Google Discover.
The types of errors that invalidate our AMP version are very common and tend to change constantly. An image or external resource such as a survey, graphic or a badly inserted video, can invalidate everything.
To ensure your page has the best chance of featuring on Google Discover, you should check your content pages with an AMP validation tool.
Create author profiles
Google's crawling and indexing algorithm is capable of extracting the author and the section in which the article is written and crossing it with their behavioral data of all the thousands or millions of users who visit our site and thus establish a relationship of authority between an author who writes in a section of a website about a specific entity and, on the other hand, assesses how satisfied Google Discover users feel with that particular content.
It uses reading and scroll level, time reading, bounce, number of users reading that news simultaneously, and even engagement habits or frequency of viewing other news from the same site for different segmentations of users with different consumption habits.
Google Discover's algorithm values articles with a high amount of concurrent users over a short period of time. When publishers notice that an article is gaining traction, or getting traffic from Google Discover, they should make efforts to direct even more readers to the page.
This can be through tactics like push notifications, social pushes, or homepage links. With more concurrent users on the page, Google will include the page in more Discover feeds.
Natural language processing
Google already tracks all publishers' content on a daily basis to index and position within its search engine: titles, links, keywords are some of the factors that it takes into account to do this work.
Well, in addition to this, it uses its NLP algorithm to process the text and extract the essence of each of the pages it crawls. This essence is translated in the form of what they call Entities or "Topics". and even just objects. Google's crawling and indexing algorithm is capable of extracting the author and the section in which the article is written and crossing it with their behavioral data of users.
This helps establish a relationship of authority between an author in a section of a website with how satisfied Google Discover users feel with that particular content: reading and scroll level, time reading, bounce, number of users reading that news simultaneously, and even engagement habits or frequency of viewing other news from the same site for different segmentations of users with different consumption habits.
If you have writers that get traffic from Discover on a certain topic, keep them producing content on that topic and more readers will follow. Featuring on Google Discover is not an exact science, but apply these techniques and follow back through your traffic to understand what content and authors Discover has responded well to.