Optimize your content for Google Discover

Optimize your content for Google Discover

Google is moving fast with some nice features on search (Answer engine, Knowledge Graph, Structured data, voice search..etc). Sometimes Google is shrinking organic opportunities for websites owners with direct answers and 0 click queries (weather, some featured snippets, flights, definitions..etc) and sometimes giving some new landscapes. I believe that Google Discover is a new opportunity to get targeted visitors. For those who don’t know what Google Discover is, please speed jump to the end of this post.

Google Discover is a great traffic opportunity

Launched in 2017, Google Discover (previously Google Feed) is used by more than 800M monthly active users in several languages [stat of September 2018]. Frankly it is a great potential to drive qualified traffic to your website ! Why qualified ? It is simply because Google is giving users contents (posts, articles, videos..etc) that is based on their interests or what Google thinks they are. It is obviously an interesting channel to target !

How does Google discover works ?

Google Discover’s algorithm uses several information to display targeted contents to the users without even doing a search :

  • Users’s search activities and history (https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity )
  • User’s activity (opened Gmail, received messages on Skype, history / frequency of Apps usage)
  • Users’s followed topics (manual follow)
  • Some user’s device information such as : time, contacts, agendas, applications, music and even the battery level.. surprised ?
  • Location history
  • Location settings ( your “Home & work” locations you already saved on Google Maps)
  • Google Knowledge Graph data layer

With all this data and some intelligence, Google is able to predict users searches and interests [Bill Slawski wrote about an interesting patent on how Google Might Predict Query Intent Using Contextual Histories.

For SEO, the process is clear, site owners produce optimized contents to target queries users search for..Google Discover is queryless. People don’t query to find contents, Discover predict what could be interesting for them.

Aymen Loukil

How to optimize your content for Google Discover ?

Optimizing for Google Discover is an upside down of the classic SEO approach but knowing the target audience and reaching it is the key. Here are some of my tips for site owners to stand out in Google Discover and get qualified traffic :

1- Write attractive and qualitative content in different formats :

Google Discover likes providing different formats of engaging contents from posts, news, images to videos. So try to produce contents in varied formats and types. Don’t forget that Google Discover look and feel is very near to social media feeds (Twitter and Facebook walls). Google is aiming to take a step further providing an engaging online user journey.

2- Provide large and high quality images :

Prefer high quality images on thumbnails. Google recommends providing large images that are at least 1200px wide. General Google guidelines for quality contents apply. Be sure that Google has the rights to display your HD photos by using AMP or by filling this opt-in form.

Prefer High-quality and large images over thumbnails for Google Discover

3- Consider writing in different languages :

Google Discover is available in many languages and locations so don’t miss this Internationalization and localization opportunity and try to get highlighted there for reaching new audiences. Quick tip : Make a list of most popular mobile APPs per targeted language /country and try to publish your content there.

4- Promote your content on different platforms and try to have engagement !

Remember, Google Discover makes use of users actions on Apps and visited webpages. Try to get a maximum of reach on different platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, personalized email marketing..etc). I analyzed many contents that appeared in Discover and the majority had a good engagement metrics (social media and links).

5- Run a paid content promotion campaign

This could be useful to have targeted engagements. So why not to boost your content for that signals.

6- Publish engaging videos :

Google Discover highlights engaging contents and mostly videos. Enrich your contents with high-quality videos.

Videos are engaging on Google Discover
Videos on Google Discover

7- Mix fresh and evergreen content production :

Before becoming Discover, Google feeds only showed fresh news articles. Google Discover also provides evergreen content that could interest users. In your production process and editorial calendar, plan both of them.

8- Target trendy topics :

This also applies to classic SEO approach. Find trendy topics that your target audience is looking for and write a quality content on it. For that i recommend to use Ahrefs keywords explorer to have some interesting newly discovered keywords.

Ahrefs newly discovered Keywords
Find newly searched keywords on Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

You can also use Ahrefs content explorer to see what contents are getting more engagements (social shares and links). Also evolution over time of a given topic.

Ahrefs content explorer – Evolution of contents talking about lighthouse
Sort results per Facebook shares – contents talking about Samsung Galaxy

Another tip: Find Highlighted contents on Google Discover is simply use it :

  • Go to Google Discover>settings>customize Discover>Follow topics
Google Discover settings

Click on your targeted topic and you could see some highlighted sub-topics (entities, keywords) in your region


You can see that France national rugby league team is an interesting topic in the Sports category. By following the Sports category, we will be able to see what URLs Discover is displaying.

9- Be mobile friendly lovely

Being awesome on mobile is a must for Google Discover. Let’s say in two words : Your website should be mobile compatible and has good web performance (speed) metrics.

How to track Google Discover performance statistics ?

Google Discover tracking with Google Analytics

Go to Aquisition>All Traffic>Referrals and search for googleapis.com entry.

Google Search Console displays now Discover data :

Google Search Console Discover report

Google Search Console is now reporting performance data Google Discover. The new report is called : Discover. Some relevant statistics are show such as :

  • Impressions of contents on Google Discover
  • Number of clicks
  • What contents are performing well on Discover
  • How does Discover traffic compares to organic one (from SERP)

Takeaways about Google Discover

Google Discover is a great “new” channel that could drive potential and targeted traffic to websites. Site owners and SEOs should seriously consider this way of getting traffic in their work. Things to keep in mind :

  • Write content that is qualitative and engaging. Look for interactions to help Discover show you up
  • Monitor what contents are showing up and target trendy topics
  • Capitalize on every acquisition channel and try to get interactions
  • Analyse the tracking data and tailor your efforts
  • Intents are becoming a key element in search
  • This post is not a recipe for getting in Google Discover, it is more about test and learn and my personal thoughts.

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