In recent months, many content publishers have been enjoying higher levels of mobile traffic from a new source: Google’s Discover feed.
Google Discover is the reincarnation of Google Feed, its personalised, mobile-optimised smart feed first introduced in December 2016, which was aimed at helping users keep up-to-date on topics and events of interest. In mid-2017, the Google Feed got an update and an algorithm upgrade, before undergoing a more thorough refresh and rebrand in September 2018 and re-emerging as Google Discover.
Google Discover is the most recent product of Google’s desire to provide users with the content they might be searching for even before they’ve entered a keyword. It was introduced in conjunction with Google’s 20th birthday celebrations as part of Google’s vision for “improving Search for the next 20 years”, and specifically what Google terms, “The shift from queries to providing a queryless way to get to information.”
Appearing in the Google app on iOS and Android and on its mobile homepage, Google Discover features a mixture of news and evergreen content on topics that it thinks users might be interested in, at the moment they’re likely to want to know about those topics. This might be an update on a subject they’re following in the news, an article about somewhere that they’re about to travel to, or a how-to article on a hobby that they’re taking up.
While this switch from query-oriented, intent-driven search to laid-back “discovery” might seem like yet another blow for traditional SEO techniques, Discover has the potential to drive valuable extra traffic to publishers – and it can be optimised for. Here’s how, and why you might want to.