Google Discover is a personalized article curation service along the lines of Pocket. Users see content that’s based on their location, search history, browser activity, and behavior in other apps. While it has significant privacy implications, it also gives users a highly customized reading experience. Currently, users require a mobile device or a computer with the Android operating system. It can also be found via the Google and Chrome iOS apps.

While it’s still a work in progress and has a relatively small user base, use is continuing to expand among Androis and iOS users alike. This means it should be on your radar when it comes to SEO and link building.

Challenges Ranking Google Discover Articles

Unfortunately, you can’t use Google Analytics to see how your articles are ranking on Google Discover because it doesn’t show Google Discover as a referral source; it only shows the original organic traffic source. This makes it challenging for content creators to optimize their content for popularity within Google Discover. However, there are some tried and true methods you can use to gain clicks. This also serves as a barometer of the type of content you should look for as far as quality links for SEO.

How to Rank Highly in Google Discover

Note that some of these methods are against Google’s recommendations. For instance, in Google’s Discover Guidelines, they clearly discourage the use of clickbait headlines or those that provoke rage or titillate with morbid curiosity. So, you’ll need to find a happy medium between a headline that gives away too much such that the reader doesn’t feel the need to click through and outright clickbait that practically dares the reader to click.

Emotional Headlines

Whether it’s social media, a SERP page or Google Discover, certain truths are universal. People are more likely to click on a headline that conjures up emotions. That’s a fact of life and a trait of humanity that isn’t going to change. Keep that in mind as you create your content, and try to emphasize its uniqueness at the same time. If you’re writing about a rare event, make sure that comes through in your headline.

Start a Question-and-Answer Loop

These constructs are prevalent in direct response copywriting for a reason; they engage the visitor. So, it only makes sense to use them in other areas as well; one of them is an article headline. Consider your content, then create an enticing or controversial question which is answered by the content in your article. Ask the question in the headline, and you’ll compel visitors to click.

COVID Content is King

For the moment at least, the way Google ranks COVID-related content in Discover appears to be different than the way it ranks it in organic SERP. Articles that are relegated to lower ranks on SERP tend to do better in Discover. So, if you’ve been lamenting the performance of some timely articles you wrote around COVID, they may gain a new lease on life in Discover. It’s unclear whether this will help as far as authority link building.

Age Doesn’t Always Matter

As you’ve no doubt noticed, the recency of an article is given heavy weight in Google’s organic search rankings. For popular topics, that isn’t as much the case with Discover. It will show users older articles as long as they meet the other Discover criteria.

Perpetuate The Bubble

One truism regarding social media has been that people’s feeds tend to jibe with their political beliefs. This creates a bubble effect where someone only receives content that reinforces their current beliefs rather than challenging them. The same appears to be the case with Google Discover. So, keep an eye on political demographics and use this data to get your article noticed by your target audience.

Keep The Lists Coming

Bloggers still love listicles, and apparently, so does Google Discover. They seem to consistently do well in Discover feeds over time. These include formats such as: “Don’t do these five things;” 15 Reasons Why You Should…;” 10 Ways You Can…”

Discover is Here To Stay

It can be tempting to play the waiting game when it comes to Google Discover. However, it does appear to be gaining traction, and it plays by different rules than organic search. For these reasons alone, it’s important to take it into consideration when creating content and curating your backlink profile.

Quality Link Building

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