Its Discover feed is certainly one of the most difficult organic ecosystems. Being ranked in Google’s Google SERP itself involves an optimization process that is somewhat tangible. Discover, however, is an individual feed. It means that aside from things like using correct images the process of selecting images is more abstract and complete.
Naturally, this means that pinning down what is working and what does not work when it comes to appearing in Google’s Discover is somewhat difficult. Additionally, it makes it difficult to understand the entire ecosystem at best.
To pin things down (at a minimum my own feed) I tracked and classified the content Google provided me with within my Discover feed over the course of six months.
Here’s what I discovered.
My Background Information of My Google Discover Analysis:
Before we jump into the depths of the matter I’ll explain the details of how I gathered data (you might skip the next H2 however I strongly suggest that you do not).
Five days a week beginning at the beginning in February 2021 until the end of July 2021I went through every item on the Discover feed and classified everything. (I have missed some days in the middle… I’m suing you. And, yes I am aware that I’m crazy who has been doing this for six months).
The feed was tracked with one of the Android devices. It’s important to be aware since the device is important. While I was sifting through my feed, I was able to purchase an iPhone. It became apparent quickly that I had been keeping my Android device to ensure consistency. Apart from some results differing the layout on iOs differs from the one on Android. For instance, when you view YouTube videos that focus on highlights from sports, Google would often place a list of scores beneath the video. However, this is not the case on iOS.
In addition to the implications for the use of Android instead of iOS to monitor my feed There are two main limitations in this type of study (for the fact that limitations are an advantage since they can help you learn the best way to use data):
- The Discover feed I use, like yours Discover feed, like the one you have in your Discover feeds, is designed for my profile. This means that what is displayed in my feed may not appear on your feed unless you’re an SEO enthusiast and a baseball fanatic.
But that does not mean that Google does not take the same approach to all content. In other words, even though the exact content is different between feeds, there’s a paradigm of content that favors one kind of content over another (i.e. evergreen content over news content).
- Google Discover’s personalization feature makes it outside the realm of automation. This means that I needed to use my limited judgment to categorize the information within my Google Discover feed. There are a variety of instances in which the content may have been “sliced” in multiple ways.
One good example is the highlight baseball videos that flooded my feed when the baseball season began. I categorize this as news-related content. This might be humorous to certain. To me, the videos substituted for reading a summary of a game. If I had seen a summary (a composed one) on my feed, it is definitely news content. It would be telling me about what transpired during yesterday’s match, just as the sports section in newspapers would. Therefore, I classified the content in the category of “news” content. Could I have cut it differently and labeled the content in the category of “current trends?” Sure it could, but I did not.
How Did I Categorize My Discover Feed?
Before we begin to dive into it, it is important to understand how I dissected the content of my feed. The way I did it was to break down the contents of my feed in accordance with:
- Who wrote the content? who was the creator of the material? What kind of website or technology did the material come from?
Particularly, I categorize the sources of content based on content that came from:
- National Publishers (CNN, ESPN, U.S. News, etc.)
- Major Industry Sites from Major Industry (For instance in relation to SEO-related content, it was Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, SERoundtable, Semrush, etc.)
- Niche Sites (These are blogs that are smaller or niche-specific websites that aren’t industry-leading sites.)
- The kind of information: What form of content was shown within the feed? What type or type of information did Google try to promote and at what quantity within the Discover feed?
In particular, I have classified the types of content in the following manner:
- news content: It is a type of news-related content that happens in real-time -the exact kind of content you’d like to see on Top Stories. Top Stories carousel.
- Recent Trends Although it’s not breaking news, this is an article that is current or relevant (such as an overview of a recent film, for instance).
- Evergreen Content It is content that will be suitable for my feed now and five years from now.
Does Google Discover Display Result from Your Normal Website?
To begin we need to understand the types of websites that are most likely to bring material to my feed. Another way of thinking about this is to consider where the content in my feed originated from.
This time, I broke it into four parts to show the content that originated from:
- National Publishers
- Major Industrial Sites
- Niche Sites
The purpose of following this was to find out what kind of sites Google prefers to make use of to create Discover Feed content. YouTube may seem like an odd category, given that it’s a specific site however the reality is that so many of the results that I’ve seen in my feed come via YouTube that I felt the need to make it an individual category.
The first thing to do is have to know the number of Results my Discover Feed has on average. The answer will be… 25.75.
So, here’s an overview of the types of websites that populated my feed, on average. That’s three-quarters of links that I received included YouTube URLs with 26% coming from national media outlets, 25% coming from major industry websites and only 15% were from your typical site (yes this adds a total of 101 %… since I rounded up).
Anecdotes Concerning the Data:
YouTube has been the clear victor. Before you bewilder yourself that Google has taken over Discover by displaying URLs that are from the properties it owns, remembers that YouTube’s dominance was evident when the baseball season began. Before the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball season, YouTube URLs showed up 4.58 times in my feed on any given day, not nine times.
Could it be a coincidence? I don’t think so. I’m a fan of baseball. I’m spending a lot of time watching highlights of baseball on YouTube when the season begins.
This implies the way that Discover keeps your data in its databanks over a long length of time. The feed waited a full year to insert highlights from baseball into my feed as fast as it could!
This also implies that the information here may be (pretty certainly) specific to me, as well as my particular profile (i.e. being I am a baseball enthusiast). It could also be that other profiles on which YouTube videos have become extremely relevant are using feeds in similarly. It’s possible that, unlike me -who is an annual YouTube user, these profiles contain a large amount of YouTube URLs in their feeds all day throughout the year.
For me, the most important thing to note here isn’t the dominance of YouTube. It’s more that Google isn’t the only one who prefers “niche sites” for placement on Discover. Discover feed. Together with 51% of the results I received from major publishers and national websites in the industry. It is a sign of a preference toward sites with more authority on the topic than what the average website tends to appreciate. This makes a lot of sense since Google isn’t “ranking” specific pieces of content, but rather looking to appeal to the general preferences of its users. In this case, the websites with the most current authority that is aligned to those interests will have a greater market share.
Advertisements for Discover Feeds as Well as Cards without URLs:
The figures I provided above do not include advertisements or cards that do not include an URL. This means that there is content that isn’t a website, however Google itself.
In total, there were 4.12 URL-less cards in my Discover feed every day. This is only an estimate since nearly all of the cards I received were associated with sports. So, if not a sports enthusiast it is unlikely that you will notice any sports-related cards in your feed.
What’s fascinating is the length of time Google is able to hold onto its games once they’re within the feed. I’m a fan of sports but don’t follow many basketball games. However, Google still populated my feed with images of results and schedules for various basketball matches. But, to show how much individualization the feed offers at the time of march 1 (i.e. the first day of the MLB’s spring training) the cards were mostly focused on baseball. Similar to the content itself, Google understood my preference for baseball.
To be clear, when Google added additional accounts to my feed during the baseball season but it did not take away other content. This means that the addition of cards didn’t result in Google eliminating URLs from my Discover feed.
The same occurred when Google added additional baseball highlight YouTube videos YouTube in the feed. It appears that Google is often more inclined to make the first show in the feed longer than replace it in order to keep the total amount of cards below a certain threshold.
How Many Ads Are In Google’s Discover Feed?
There are generally three ads that appear in the first results of cards that are displayed in Google’s Discover feed — or at least they were for me.
But, over my time of monitoring the number of ads varied. On average, I saw 1.75 ads on my feed. The number could be misleading because on April 20th, in 2021, Google began showing two ads in my feed every day. On July 12, Google then added an additional ad, bringing the total amount of ads on my feed (on Android) to 3 every day.
Does Google Discover Display Evergreen Content?
In a discussion of the content contained in Discover feed, Google says: “In discussing the content within Discover feed Google states, “The content in Discover is automatically refreshed as new content is published, however, Discover is designed to show all types of helpful content from across the web, not just newly published content.”
However, there’s this notion of google’s Discover feed is heavily influenced by news and related news content.
Both are valid. Google is prone to “new” content but does provide a steady supply of evergreen URLs within the feed.
Over the duration of my six-month fascination with Discover, I logged the frequency of times Google displayed news-related material or other content related to current trends as well as content that is evergreen.
The content I saw is in line with the notion of Discover “likes to be current” but it also considers different types of content.
Content that is evergreen being included in more than 16% of content that appears in the Discover feed is not something to joke about. This is a huge opportunity for publishers for advertisers to attract customers to their websites by offering their evergreen content.
It’s obvious that Google is searching for relevant content because of its ubiquity. (Which is, when you consider the fact that Discover can be described as a feed Google intends to lure users with, it makes complete sense.)
If you mix what I’ve called “news content” with “current trends content,” you’re talking about just under 85 percent of Discover content that is “timely.”
For me, this is the best way to consider it. What I considered to be “current trends” was heavily linked to news content in itself. For instance, a large portion of the content on my feed included an examination of the sport team’s performance or a review of a film. Although this type of content doesn’t constitute news but it is intrinsically linked. You cannot be a part of a piece that analyzes the finer details of a team’s struggle without breaking news that the team was defeated! This is an obvious indication of the way Google uses content placement to Discover.
In the end, I believe that the trends I noticed in my feed reflect Google’s overall strategy. In the first place, it is logical due to the reason I mentioned earlier: Google has to draw your interest to make you’ll want to visit the feed. Furthermore, the categories I have used are universal. Whatever the subject there will be content that is always relevant as well as content that is a reflection of recent trends, as well as stories — all else being equal.
In the same way, I can understand the reason Google will change subjects based on individual interests however, the kind of content displayed is more general.
This being said I have a few interesting informational tidbits that “Google Discover goodness” I collected during the process of collecting this data
- In the news-related content, I have in my feed 25 percent of it was sourced from YouTube.
- Although there was an average of 25.7 results on my feed every day, the most amount of evergreen pieces was seven over the course of six months.
This is intriguing to me. This means that 16% of the evergreen content ranking was fairly regular. It wasn’t the case that one day Google showed a huge amount of evergreen content and then the next, only a tiny amount. In fact, Google consistently did not display a large quantity of content that was evergreen throughout the entire time!
Defining the Indefinable:
The process of securing a large portion of any content within Google’s Discover feed is, by definition, an extremely difficult job. What I’ve done hopes to make it easier to present the intricacies of content on an individual’s profile in its context within Google’s Discover.
The subjects that I find myself drawn to can generate all kinds of variations that other content profiles might not be able to see through their content feeds.
However, there are certain patterns in the feed that are of more widely observable nature. This includes the feed’s tendency towards news and information that is related to current events and the feed’s trend (at times) toward video content. Much like Google SERP offers a second form of media through the Video Box, Google SERP offers a secondary type of media through video content, the Video Box, Discover seems keen to include the format of the feed as often as it can. Certain profiles, like my own, could be at risk of being included in more than average amounts of videos. However, every one of my SEO bodies says it is built into the way the feed is created.
And I’ll conclude this discussion with this one there’s lots of discussion about your website’s content and the best way to incorporate it into the Discover feed, but there are not many discussions of your YouTube channel within the same way. It could be worth considering adjusting your channel, if appropriate, to the type of content Google likes to display in Discover. I’d suggest that this would be especially beneficial when your topics tend to be “video-centric” — that is why there’s a lot of emphasis on the type of video content YouTube.
To summarize, Discover can be a fantastic way to drive traffic. However, there’s plenty of “big name” competition and the space is limited for certain kinds of content. Understanding what your ideal users’ feeds might appear like is an excellent way to gain insight. My advice is to behave the way the profile of your ideal client (under an uncluttered Google account) and observe what happens to the feed for you!