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How to get traffic from Google Discover: how algorithms work, verticals and life hacks


What is Google Discover

Google Discover is a personalized content feed that was launched in 2019 based on the Google Feed service. As of 2018, the audience of the service was 800 million people.

Before the release of Discover, news was the core of content, but Google decided to expand the list of available formats and topics. A personal feed can display both sports news and articles from technical portals or culinary recipes. It all depends on the interests of users and activity on the Internet.

A large proportion of the content on Google Discover is pulled from YouTube, so you can go to the service through video hosting and get free targeted traffic on the topic of the video. Evergreen content rules in the personal recommendation feed, so typical videos about white products or classic penis enlargement products will run forever.

An important feature of Discover is that the service works only on mobile devices in the standard Google application, which is installed by default on all Android smartphones. You don't need to download and install additional software.

In 2019, Google announced the launch of Discovery Ads, an advertising campaign format that allows you to show content with the integration of the advertiser's products to more than 3 billion users across different Google services.

Discovery Ads campaigns are launched through the Google Ads  interface familiar to many affiliate marketers The peculiarity of advertising is that it is not aimed at users who are interested in specific products or services, but is focused on those who are open to different offers.

Moneymakers often compare the service with the Yandex.Zen  recommendation platform , but they only have a personal feed in common, which is formed based on the content already viewed. Otherwise, they are completely different products.

How recommendation feed algorithms work

Google Discover is a smart recommendation feed that analyzes user behavior and tries to understand what topics are on their list of interests based on interaction data with content in search results.

It is worth noting that the algorithms of the service work quite accurately and offer relevant articles and videos. The user can independently choose topics, individuals and even specific products that are in the circle of his interests.

A personalized feed is created based on the following data:

  1. Google services activity: search history, YouTube video views, clicks on Discover content.
  2. Location data. They help algorithms to add geo-dependent content to the feed.
  3. Setting interests. Algorithms take into account the interests of users in certain topics.

In Yandex.Zen, the feed is also formed based on priority. For example, channel content from the Nirvana program is usually displayed higher. Topics are shuffled randomly on Google Discover. For example, if a user is interested in football and technology, the feed might have 5 posts about football events and only one about the new MacBook model.

The main feature of Google Discover is the feed without entering a search query. That is, the user can see relevant content even without using the search form. And returning to the main page with “Recommendations” creates a sticky effect like in social networks.

An SEO researcher conducted an experiment at the beginning of 2021 — he interacted non-stop with Google Discover for 2 months and tried to hack the personal feed algorithms.

Here are his findings:

  1. Watching YouTube videos on mobile did not affect the feed, but it did affect ads in video hosting content.
  2. Watching YouTube videos on a computer has little impact on the Discover feed content.
  3. Searching Google without going to the site does not affect the content of the feed.
  4. Visiting the desktop version of the site and the activity on it greatly affected the feed, but this did not happen on mobile devices.

Based on the results of the experiment, we can conclude that Google algorithms do not always act predictably. For example, the author of the experiment went to a site with Japanese news every day, but they were not in the feed. Most likely, Discover understands that the topic is very far from real interests.

Those who are going to go to Google Discover should take into account that the feed is periodically viewed by assessors, and if the traffic from the source suddenly drops, this can be affected not only by changes in algorithms, but also by lowering the priority of the site in the feed.

How to get on Google Discover

Arbitrators have long been accustomed to difficulties. Especially those who constantly work with Facebook . In the case of Google Discover, the task is really hardcore - you cannot directly add a site to the service. There is no form like in Google Adsense and manual verification by moderators.

Recommendations for getting into the personal recommendations service are standard: high-quality content, page indexing in the search engine and convenient interaction for mobile device users. And even if all recommendations are followed, it cannot be guaranteed that the site will have traffic from Discover.

Site creation

The first step on the path to getting into the list of Google Discover content providers is to create a website. You can take any free template for WordPress, but you need to check the correct display of content on mobile devices and the download speed.

The personal recommendations feed from Google works on smartphones, so the site must be tailored for mobile devices. Some webmasters who actively work with Discover install Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to create pages with instant content loading.

AMP really increases the speed of landing pages at times, but there are problems with advertising. If traffic is monetized with standard teaser blocks, there will be no difficulties, but to use other formats, you will have to tinker with CMS plugins.

Filling with quality content

In order for the site pages to get into the Google Discover results, you will need high-quality thematic content. According to the observations of webmasters, two formats work best in the service - evergreen and mainstream content.

In the first case, we are talking about recipes for salads, horoscopes, fortune-telling and other eternal things. Mainstream content is related to politics, celebrities, show business and is tied to local or global newsbreaks.

To make money on affiliate programs, mainstream content in the format “Galkin discovered a terrible secret…” works better. Such news is rarely found in Discover, but may be present as part of relatively white material.

Attracting search robots

You cannot add a site to Google Discover, but you can attract the attention of robots. Activity may not be affected by the decision to add a site as a source of content, but for this the site must successfully pass the test according to the main quality criteria.

How to attract robots to the site:

  • add a lot of unique content;
  • post news on social networks;
  • do crops in thematic communities of social networks;
  • use SMM promotion services that allow you to purchase traffic.

Observations of the Discover algorithms indicate that the more activity users show around a specific topic that indirectly points to the site, the higher the chances that its content will be featured in the personal recommendation feed.

Traffic Tracking

Arbitrageurs like to update the status every 5 minutes, but in the case of Google Discover, this is irrelevant. The data is not updated in real time, so there is no point in constantly checking the page.

There are several ways to track traffic from a recommendation service:

  1. In the "Performance" tab → "Recommendations" of Google Search Console. It is only available if the site had traffic from Discover.
  2. In the "Reports" → "Standard reports" → "Sources" → "Recommendation systems" tab in Yandex.Metrica.
  3. In custom Google Analytics reports linked to the referrer .

How to drive traffic from Google Discover

Few people would turn down free relevant traffic, but in the case of Google's recommendation service, it's hard to get. It’s easier for a typical affiliate marketer to go to Facebook or Google Ads, replenish the cabinet’s budget and calmly pour on white or gray niches.

The feature of Discover is that in some cases it can give 100,000 targeted traffic for free. There are few such cases, but they exist. Although after the article gets into the service, it brings transitions in just 3-4 days.

The advantage of organic traffic is that you can get very good ROI , which is difficult to achieve when buying traffic in advertising networks. And if you choose an offer on the topic of the article and correctly integrate it into the content, the profit can be very good.

Many moneymakers may be repelled from working with Discover by the need to create a site, fill it with content and do other webmaster stuff. But no one forces you to spend a lot of time on it. You can buy a ready-made news showcase, parse news from various sources and monitor traffic.

What niches can you work with

Those who prefer to work with gray niches like adult have nothing to catch in Discover, because erotic materials do not get into the feed. But you can find videos about medicines from YouTube in the issuance. It all depends on the user's activity history.

Which arbitrage verticals are suitable for the platform:

  • e-commerce ;
  • gaming;
  • physical commodity;
  • inside ;
  • finance;
  • gambling;
  • betting;
  • sweepstakes .

At this point, moneymakers can ask a reasonable question: “Why doesn’t anyone pour if any niche comes in?”. The trick is that in order to monetize traffic with offers from the verticals above, a special approach is needed. The head-on strategy does not work because it is difficult to get traffic and the entry threshold is quite high.

But if you want to solve the problem is quite realistic. For example, videos with reviews on Viagra rank well in YouTube search results, and some have a link to a typical arbitration landing page.

The views of the videos are most likely cheated, but this does not prevent the authors from earning and the videos may well get into the recommendations feed of the user who was interested in the potency remedy.

And then it remains to tighten the scheme and scale the positive experience, if any. You won't be able to work with Google Discover like with VK , Facebook or Telegram , because the source is specific. But this does not mean that it is impossible to get traffic from it or monetize it.

Mainstream news about stars in the spirit of “The lead singer of such and such a group has aged a lot” or “Bilan shared the terrible truth about his life” works especially well in conjunction with Google Discover. And then on the news page, users are waiting for classic widgets of teaser showcases, which, after switching to an external source, will sell certain products.

What entries can be used in the content:

  1. Stories about fake millionaires. We tell you that it is impossible to earn a lot of money growing strawberries, but it’s real to forget about working for an uncle and we offer a relevant offer for a product.
  2. Stories about millions in the lottery. We collect a selection of high-profile cases and offer a classic sweepstake.
  3. Articles about addiction to gambling. With native advertising of the most "reliable" casino.
  4. Materials with wow effect. We talk about the classic product and offer the audience different things.
  5. Reviews about various means. You can generate videos as in the example above and purchase social signals to promote the video in the organic. Or write articles and redirect to YouTube if the video does not fly into the feed.

Monetization with white offers will allow the site to stay longer in the recommender platform, and to make money on gray verticals, you need to follow a strategy with disguise. First, we publish white content, wait for traffic, and then add widgets or banners with a link to the landing page.

It is obvious that sites promoting gray offers will not last long. If they are not high by algorithms, assessors can do this during manual verification. Therefore, it is better to have in stock several sites with content that is tailored to a specific vertical.

Working with Google Discover cannot be called arbitrage in its purest form, but the approach is definitely worth considering as a field for experimentation. Template articles in the spirit of icteric teaser showcases often slip through the search results and collect targeted traffic without any problems.

And it is monetized by the same teasers from MGID, SMI2 and other sites that are well known to affiliate marketers as advertising networks. The screenshots above show a real project that consistently received traffic from Google Discover, including thanks to frankly clickbait headlines.

Google Discover Checklist

If you decide to work with the recommendation platform from Google, use our checklist, which will increase the chances of content getting into the Discover feed. There are a lot of points, but they all affect the efficiency of work in this area.

  1. The site is optimized for mobile devices.
  2. Project pages are loaded no longer than 1-2 seconds.
  3. The content uses high quality images of at least 1200px in width.
  4. The articles use moderately provocative headlines.
  5. Open Graph microdata set up .
  6. Content covers popular topics.
  7. The EAT factors in the content have been worked out.
  8. Interest in content is fueled in social networks, instant messengers and other sites.
  9. The site uses text and video formats.

Google Discover is not suitable for typical arbitrageurs who are used to lazily creating creatives, setting up a cesspool and cursing Facebook. To get traffic from this source, you need to think outside the box, closely follow trends and be ready for long-term work in the future.