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The Role of Trending Content through Google Discover and Web Stories

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More and more frequently, people are getting to websites through means other than traditional search and referral link traffic. This is most notable on mobile platforms where apps direct traffic to content that their users may find interesting. The Google mobile app’s Google Discover feature is one such tool that can bring new attention to interesting stories, and many brands are using it as a way to stand out. 

The Google app that billions of Android devices use by default features Discover content below the search bar. Discover is a content feed of web pages tailored to the interests of each individual user, used by 800 million people each month. Apple and Amazon devices also have features that promote algorithmically-tailored content from news and interest-based pages to their users, but Google Discover holds special value in SEO due to Google’s search engine dominance. 

Discover commonly features news stories, but they can be more varied than Google News and offer more potential for brands. The most common topics are news, entertainment, sports, food, and hobbies, but brands and businesses can often appear there as well with the right stories. 

Discover content changes regularly and serves different content based on the person browsing, depending on what topics they clicked on in the past and other Google personalization. This makes Discover traffic very different from a referral, search, or even social media traffic, but it can still offer a significant SEO boost to web pages. Due to the changing rotation, it provides a short-term boost as a page is shared with users for 1-5 days, and only to a subset of Google users, but that can mean a lot for the right page. 

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Making Content For Discover

SItes that are interested in Discover should identify the topics that get placed there. News, entertainment, and hobbies are most popular. Fresh content published in the last week is ideal, but interesting stories that are newly trending or highlighted for various reasons may be served to Discover users. Create a story that is useful, intriguing, and informative to those interested in an area that relates to your brand and the kinds of trending topics that get promoted on Discover. Make sure it is engaging and features exciting visuals with high-quality images or videos. Mobile-friendly pages are essential since Discover serves Android mobile users. 

Discover-friendly content also needs to be prepared for the snippet that will get displayed by Google. An attention-getting title and description, a unique image, and embed-friendly design using Open Graph will get users interested enough to click from what they see initially. 

Web Stories

Web Stories are a new format for presenting short-form web content in an innovative way that now ties into Google Discover, since Discover has added a carousel for browsing Web Stories at the top in the United States, Brazil, and India. Web Stories can offer a controlled full-screen vertically-oriented experience using text, images, and video with multiple screens that are easy to flip through on mobile devices, like Stories on apps like Instagram. 

Web sites can turn their content into Web Stories by formatting them in a more visual and engaging way. It’s possible to create them from scratch following guidelines, but tools from News Room AI, MakeStories, or the WordPress plugin make it much easier. These stories can appear in Discover as well as Google Search, and being set apart as ‘Visual Stories’ in these platforms makes them more prominent. Having an exciting story that closes with a call to action to check out your brand’s offerings can be well-received. 

Effectiveness of Discover on Traffic

Blog posts, videos, stories, and other content only appear on Discover for a short time, but the amount of exposure can be massive due to the huge potential audience. SEO consultant Brodie Clark said on Search Engine Journal “It’s not unheard of (dependent on the industry) to have 80% of traffic being Discover with only 20% being from Web Search.” He reported on a client whose article received 21.7K clicks and 130K impressions, with an average CTR of 16.7% in 3 days.

Discover traffic can be monitored on Google Search Console. Since content in Discover can come from social media and videos, especially YouTube, using and monitoring a brand’s YouTube channel cannot be overlooked as a way to utilize Discover. 

Understanding the role of personalized content feeds in serving web content is vital to staying on top of the latest SEO. Tailoring content for Google Discover and other feeds gives your brand an edge in creating trending content.

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