What is Google Discover and How Will it Affect SEO?
With the adoption of machine learning into the Google algorithm, it’s officially the end of an era.
The Google search algorithm is advancing so rapidly that Google’s own developers no longer completely understand how it works.
The good news is that the search engine is committed to one thing: the user experience.
From Search to Prediction
The future of search engines may involve far less searching than we expect.
Google’s ability to predict our interests and intents is getting better by the day and it could spark a significant shift for everyone involved in the SEO industry.
With Google Discover, the search giant believes it can help businesses reach quality customers who aren’t even searching for the relevant terms yet.
Let’s take a look at how Google Discover works and how to make it work for your business.
What is Google Discover?
Google Discover is a content recommendation engine that suggests content for users based on their search history and online behavior. Google Discover adds a series of information cards underneath the search box on the google.com homepage when accessed from a mobile browser.
It was previously known as Google Feed, introduced initially in 2016. Essentially, it is Google’s take on a social media feed. However, instead of following friends or brands, users receive suggested content based on their search interests.
The relaunch of Google Discover comes after the recent dismantling of the Google + social media platform. With over 58% of users choosing mobile browsing over desktop, this new feature could have massive implications on how users digest content on the internet.
Features included in Google Discover ARe:
- Topic headers to classify feed results
- Additional images and videos
- Evergreen content (instead of only ‘fresh’ content)
- An option to customize your recommendations from Google
How the Recommendation Engine Affects Search
For context, YouTube’s content recommendation engine is currently responsible for 70% of the time spent on the site.
While Google Discover may or may not hit the same 70% reach, it’s important to remember that Google’s focus is keeping users on their service.
Through their browsers, email service and search tools, Google is an integral part of most people’s online experiences.
For most businesses, securing just a small percentage of Google Search volume within the Discover platform would dramatically alter the SEO landscape.
How Google Discover Works
Google decided on the Discover rebrand to shift the name to directly mirror the brand’s mission of uncovering fresh and interesting content to its users.
An Upgraded Look: The first thing Google focused on was the design and feel of the platform. An example of this is the addition of topic headers and the discover icon. These allow users to see why Google recommended certain pieces of content to them and the option to view related stories.
According to Google, you will start seeing the Discover Icons in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and will be able to click through straight from the query.
Revamped Content: The content on the Google Feed previously focused on trending topics and news, but that’s no longer the case. Now the focus is on evergreen content, which may have been online for a while, but is potentially new to you. Google’s algorithm will now recommend content based on your interests and search history.
For example, if you’re an advanced musician looking for tips online, Google will use your search history to understand that you are interested in high-level tutorials.
Greater Control: The bottom right-hand side of every card displays a Control icon that lets you indicate whether you want to see more or less of that type of content.
How to Optimize Google Discover for SEO
Just as with Local SEO, optimizing for Google Discover will become another skill search marketers need to develop. As with all search algorithms, nobody knows exactly how Google ranks content on the platform. However, we believe the emphasis on relevant intent matching content is here to stay.
Here are five ways to set up your business for success with Google Discover.
Create Quality Content
The cornerstone of any SEO campaign is generating quality content that’s relevant and useful to your audience. Cn can be in the form of a written blog, vlog, podcast, live-feed, and more.
Cross-Reference Other Social Channels
Using Facebook’s updated algorithm as a way to measure relevance could be an insight into why content shows up (and why it doesn’t).
As a general rule, most social media platforms will opt for content that’s from trustworthy publications, is informative, and is relevant to the local community. So if you can create content for your business in a similar vein, it should prove useful.
Promote Where Possible
The greater engagement a post gets, the more likely it will show up in users’ feeds. Of course, this comes back to knowing your audience and creating content that people want to see.
Remember that no matter how amazing a piece of content is, it still needs to be promoted. Through sharing on social feeds and forum sites like Reddit, or even including it in your company newsletter, you can gain more exposure. Don’t forget to ask your coworkers to share it on their feeds and pass it along to any relevant connections.
When it comes to content, remember that written content is only part of the menu. Video, audio, and images are now just as important when it comes to search results. Google is likely to share content that has an emphasis on multimedia images and videos within Google Discover.
If you are unsure how to include video content in your mix, start with old blog posts. Recording video versions of the same content is a great way to attract more interest.
Focus on Mobile
Today, 95% of all mobile searches are completed via Google. The mobile revolution is here to stay, and you must ensure your site is optimized for it. As Google Discover is currently a mobile-only feature, it is essential that any content shared from your website looks good on a phone screen.
Planning for the Future
Google Feed was a good experiment for the company. However, the newer iteration of Google Discover is a more significant push toward content curation for Google.
As with most changes, anything online, early adopters can make the most impact. By focusing on SEO optimization efforts for Google Discover, you are more likely to increase the volume of shares you receive.
Even though it’s still early days, the timing is perfect to start experimenting and tweaking your content for the content recommendation engine.
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