Martin Splitt from Google answered a question in the July 2023 consultation about what to do if Google Discover traffic drops. Martin provides quick insights into the key areas of focus for Google Discover.
Discover is a feed of articles that may be of interest to users.
Google uses signals about a user’s interests to display content related to those interests. What these interesting signals are is not known.
There is no detailed documentation on what signals Google uses to determine a user’s interest.
But anyone looking at Discover is clear that one of the signals might be what a user is looking for.
How do you get and maintain Google Discover traffic?
This is the question asked:
“Not in Google Discover anymore… What to do to come back?”
Martin Splitt from Google replied:
“Discover is an organic feature that adapts to user demand and habits.
As such, there is no simple answer as to how to recover Discover traffic.
In general, content that is indexed and meets our content guidelines can be included in Discover.
But… Discover traffic is difficult to predict and will fluctuate.”
Google focuses on user demand and habits
This description of how Google Discover works is helpful because it highlights how the selection process ties into what users want to see.
Google’s page for access to Google Discover provides the following information:
Fresh and evergreen themes
While Google displays relevant evergreen content, the system also looks for fresh content on specific topics that tend to need freshness.
For example, topics such as sports, technology, entertainment, and certain products are constantly changing, and new developments with topical themes are popping up throughout the day.
Other themes like recipes don’t change much unless a chef creates a new twist on an old recipe.
“The content in Discover is automatically updated as new content is published. However, Discover is designed to show all kinds of helpful content from across the web, not just newly published content.”
Write about topics, not keywords
A common mistake I see in the SEO industry is focusing too much on keywords or the semantics of words and not enough on topics.
In my experience, focusing on the semantics of words is a waste of time. Concentrate on topics that interest you.
Topics revolve around what’s happening in the industry and understanding what people are interested in right now.
In my opinion, focusing on topics brings the author closer to providing what people need, and that’s exactly what Google Discover is looking for.
The Google Discover website offers the following:
“As part of Google search, Discover uses many of the same signals and systems that search uses to determine what is helpful, people-centric content.”
Signals used by Google Discover
Once the topic is understood, it is a matter of writing the article in a way that makes it clear what the article is about.
This is where keyword-focused writers and SEOs worried about semantics get lost.
In my actual experience, an article will rank well if it focuses on the topic and communicates that topic well.
If you look at the heading outline, an overview of the heading elements used in an article, a topical article will display headings that make it easier for you to know the topic without having to read the sentences.
Looking at the heading structure is the forest view, where you don’t see the individual trees (sentences), but the overall view.
Plan your content to be organized and cover each topic, like a chaptered story.
Google lists the following best practices:
- “Use page titles that capture the essence of the content…
- Include compelling, high-quality images in your content…
- Deliver content that fits current interests, tells a story well, or offers unique insights.”
Google also discourages misleading titles, exaggeration, incitement to outrage, and morbid or shocking topics.
Google Discover can be a great source of traffic, but it’s not consistent.
In my experience, being focused on the topic, writing well, using a properly centered and relevant image, and staying up to date are great strategies for increasing the likelihood of getting traffic from Discover.
Read more about using Google Discover:
Discover you and your website
Watch the consultation hour at minute 7:32:
Featured image from Shutterstock/Prostock-studio