Tape Google Discover recommendations: a new source of traffic to websites

Author: Abby Hamilton (Abby Hamilton) - Manager SEO agency digital-marketing Merkle.

Google Discover (formerly Google Feed) - is a personalized ribbon recommendations that proactively provides users with relevant content.

If traditional search requires the user to enter a query, the Google Discover anticipates his behavior and automatically gives it a new and relevant content.

Ribbon recommendations available to mobile users in the Google search application for All Android-devices, as well as in the Web version of Google.com in all mobile browsers (when logging into your Google account).

In addition to showing the latest news, Google Discover also intended to make it easier for users to find interesting content. In addition, the ribbon recommendations is part of a wider Google initiative, which is a change of focus in the search - to deliver instant information on a more complex understanding of user behavior patterns.

With unlimited access to reports, Google is trying to isolate and filter content for "drifting" in the Internet space users.

How it works?

According to the Google, to determine what content you want to display in the tape recommendations, use two main mechanisms:

  • Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence Google News to provide a different perspective on the latest news.
  • Thematic Network level education to understand the interests of users and how they change over time.

In the center of attention - the interests of users

Google considers Discover tape as the latest innovations in the field of "bezzaprosnogo search", where understanding the individual user replaces the understanding of a particular query.

Thus, Google Discover the focus is on the user.

Ribbon recommendations automatically displays personalized content based on the following data for the user:

  • search History
  • Browsing history
  • Activity in applications
  • Location (this item depends on the settings of your Google account and privacy settings)

Google Discover uses this information to determine and display the topics ( "interest") that may be relevant to the user.

What is contained in the tape Discover

To better understand the "interests" in Google Discover, we analyzed more than 700 of those identified participants SEO-community.

Although this is an extremely small sample size as compared with all potential interests, we have made a few observations:

  • In the tape prevailing interests, related to sports and entertainment.
  • Tape is focused mainly on the hobbies and activities.
  • Brands also have quite a strong presence.
  • Although Discover strive to offer new content to users, it also saves them the visited cafes and restaurants.
  • At SEO has its own category.

Below - a visualization of all the users of these interests, organized by category (finance, education, etc.) and the entity type (brand, product, person, etc.).

user input

Users can also provide system feedback to further customize the ribbon. So, the Google takes into account details such as the subscription to certain topics or unsubscribing from them, non-news show from separate sources and other activities.

Google sometimes asks users direct feedback.

Ribbon recommendations - this is not the only news

One of the goals is to show Google Discover fresh content, and scrolling down the tape, you will see that it contains mainly news publications.

However, when our customers began to see traffic from Discover in Search Console, we were able to find out what other sources are displayed in this tape.

We analyzed traffic from Google Discover the 12 months to more than 11 thousand. ULR of 62 domains. Of the 11 thousand URL.:

  • 46% were news sites;
  • 44% - ecommerce-resources;
  • 7% - entertainment website;
  • 2% - tourist site.

The remaining 1% are resources from categories such as B2B, automotive industry, education, finance and health.

results of the study

1. News sites prepared 99% clicks

Although news sources accounted for less than half (46%) URL, they received 99% of total conversions and a lot more clicks is based on the following page.

One news domain in our sample received more than 30% of the total traffic from Discover, while other publishers have reported that in some months Tape recommendations bring them more traffic than organic search.

It is likely that the news content is displayed a wide audience, while the content of other industries focused on a narrower audience audience, based on specific interests.

Google emphasizes this idea in his post, dedicated to the launch of Discover tape:

"When it comes to the news, we believe that it is important that everyone has access to the same information."

Conclusion: Google Discover is a major source of traffic to news publishers and can be used to reach a wider audience.

2. For all other categories of prevalent blog posts

With regard to non-news sites, the remaining 1% of the clicks (in total more than 1 million conversions in the last 12 months) was distributed to different types of content.

The most common type of content across all sectors were blog posts.

Publication of blogs that appear in the film recommendations are highly relevant to the specific interests / hobbies such as hiking, makeup and food.


  • 49% of all transmissions to the ecommerce-sites accounted for commodity page, which included the category pages and product pages.
  • In the category "Entertainment," the highest percentage of clicks (16%) accounted for the pages where the primary content are video (movie trailers, interviews with the stars, etc.).
  • In the tourism segment dominated reports of special offers for a limited duration. They accounted for 53% of the clicks in this category.

Conclusion: non-news content based on the interests and, most likely, will be displayed for a narrower and more targeted audience.

3. Content in the film recommendations live long

According to Discover a focus on providing fresh content, most URL in our study received traffic only for 3-4 days, and the majority of referrals coming in the first 1-2 days after the publication.

Meanwhile, some of the "more mature", "evergreen" material has been able to attract more long-term traffic.

Google Discover offers users an evergreen content to meet their new or emerging interests.

In cases where we have seen such content in their streams, we made search for similar topics for 2-3 days before.

Conclusion: The majority of pages in Discover tape have a short lifespan, about 3-4 days, but evergreen content can attract more long-term traffic.

4. Users respond well to the content Discover

The first thing that catches the eye of the tape Discover, is the highest CTR (CTR) - 11% - of all pages in the sample.

With the exclusion of news sites (which accounted for most of the data), average CTR was 6%.

In this case all the 62 domains average CTR of traditional search was 4%.

However, these figures are not directly comparable because Google Discover shows measured not, as in the search.

Here's how:

  • Looking display URL is recorded when a user opens a search results page that shows the URL (even if the result does not fall into the field of view).
  • The Discover tape showing recorded when the result (separately or as part of a carousel) enters the zone of visibility when scrolling.

Conclusion: Google Discover page show higher CTR rates than traditional search. But in fact, this may be due to differences in the measurement of impressions, rather than a difference in user behavior.

How to communicate with users on Google Discover

In the traditional search for a link between the needs of the user and the content they serve requests.

In this case, Google Discover shows the content before the user is aware of its need, based on a match between the contents of the article and the user's interests.

To get to the recommendations of the tape:

  • Optimize content for mobile devices

Since the belt of recommendations is available on smartphones and tablets, this point is obvious. Meanwhile, the always useful to check a report on the ease of viewing on mobile devices in the Search Console, make sure there are no errors.

  • Focuses on the essence of its content

Interests - is the essence of the objects or concepts that can be uniquely identified.

These can be anything, ranging from common hobby and niche interests, to the specific brands and companies.

Using the tool Entity Explorer from the Marketer's Center, you can see the relationship between the entities, as well as any entity associated with your brand, industry, product, etc.

Determine which essentially serve as a link between your brand and the users:

  • Create content that is relevant, useful and interesting for your audience

You are no longer associated search volumes. Take this new-found freedom.

Once you have determined the point of connection - be specific and proceed inland.

Based on the interests of the content is personalized, so create content that will resonate with your involvement by the users.

One way to do this - to determine the intersection and relationships between topics (such as "the best ski resorts close to Pennsylvania" and "Tips for running in winter").

You get bonus points if you can associate your content with current events.

For example, the following post in the devoted to recreation blog REI outdoor activities, which are closely linked with the company's products and those of its audience.

It was published just before the interest in "social distancing" in the United States reached a peak:

  • Add high-quality images

The best way to improve the quality of content in Discover - is to use the image files with high resolution wide minimum 1200 pixels.

According to the Google, have cards with large images in CTR Discover tape is 5% higher than that of other pages.

  • Review your strategy for video content

The video is very well represented in the Google Discover, which is consistent with the focus shifting to the Google text to a more visual ways to find information.

Although video accounted for only 17% of the content in our study, it is not included on the YouTube Account that hosts most of those videos that appear in the film recommendations.

It can be difficult to measure, but the creation of involving video and YouTube-channel optimization can help to strengthen the brand presence in Google Discover, as well as in the traditional search, as 19% desktop search results include a carousel with video, and 92% of these videos are available on YouTube.


Google Discover - this personalized tape, which is able to understand the interests of users and how they change over time.

News sites get the most clicks from a tape of the recommendations, but it is not limited only to that content. Use Google Discover to communicate with their users are representatives of all sectors.

In fresh content a greater chance of the appearance in the film Discover, however, some "evergreen" articles can get more long-term traffic.

To succeed in Google Discover, site owners need to:

  • ensure that their pages are optimized for mobile devices;
  • focus your content around the entities that are relevant to their brand and the target audience;
  • create content that is interesting, relevant and useful to their most enthusiastic users;
  • add your content visual content, ie high-quality images and videos.
Source: Search Engine Journal
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