Optimizing Articles for Google Discover: Action Items

Google has now added visibility into Google Discover data within Google Search Console. If you're not familiar with Discover, it's a feed of cards that Google presents on mobile to encourage engagement. In Google's words:

Discover shows users a mix of content based on their interactions with Google products or content that they choose to follow directly. And we're not limited to what's published today — if we think that a user would find earlier content interesting, then Discover will show it.

What Google chooses to show is algorithmic, and reading through the Google help page on Discover, there are clear ways to make sure you are getting the most out of this. In Google's words:


The two best ways to boost the ranking and performance of your Discover content are (1) to post content that you think users would find interesting and (2) to use high-quality images in your content. Publishers experience a 5% increase in clickthrough rate, a 3% increase in time spent on their pages, and a 3% increase in user satisfaction when Discover cards feature large images instead of thumbnail images.

To enable large images in your Discover results, use large, high-quality images that are at least 1,200 px wide, and ensure that Google has the rights to display your high-quality images to users, either by using AMP or by filling out this form to express your interest in our opt-in program."

Basically, high-quality images are critical for presentation on Discover. Based on google's webmaster's image guidelines, they seem to have a general dislike for generic stock photography. From that guideline page:

Provide good context: Make sure that your visual content is relevant to the topic of the page. We suggest that you display images only where they add original value to the page. We particularly discourage pages where neither the images or the text are original content.

So, what should you do to help capitalize on this new Google search format? Here are three suggestions:

  1. Make sure your CMS is serving large, high-quality images, preferably in next-generation image formats like WebP. RebelMouse uses next-generation images! As a client, you can double check with Support or the account management team to ensure that this is turned on for you.
  2. Make sure all of your articles are available in Google's AMP format. It gives you immediate access to their Discover platform and it also provides extra visibility in Google search results. RebelMouse has in-depth AMP support! As a client, you are all set here.
  3. Avoid using generic stock photography. However, if you do choose to use stock photography, modify it in some way to differentiate it from other instances on the web. Also, keep in mind that most modern smartphones have high-quality cameras that are more than capable of producing great images for the web. Get outside and shoot some of your own stock images. It's easy, fun, and you'll ensure that you're using 100% original content.

RebelMouse's CMS has AMP built-in and serves high-quality imagery in WebP format. We have amazing upload and search tools for images. Our customers are seeing a 3x increase in CTR on Discover impressions. This is just one way that we set up our clients for success on search. Interested in learning more? Contact us today to discuss how we can help you grow.

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