Mixing JSON-LD and Microdata: All You Need to Know

Mixing JSON-LD and Microdata: All You Need to Know

In several cases you might need to mix structured data using different formats like microdata and json-ld; in this article we review the do’s and don’ts for these edge cases.

Can I mix microdata and json-ld?

Yes, it is totally fine to use both syntaxes side by side on the same page but Google will not be able to merge attributes for the same entity using the item ID unless you are using json-ld ONLY.

Let’s get into the details: 

  • I can have on the same page both syntaxes (microdata and json-ld); for instance I might use microdata to render WebPage and use json-ld for Organization;
  • I can also merge attributes related to the same entity when all the data is available in json-ld but …
  • I cannot combine information related to the same entity by item ID when this information is written in microdata and json-ld. While this is possible in principle, and a pure RDF application would be able to do it, Google does not support it, which means properties won’t be merged and, most importantly, this won’t satisfy the Rich Snippets‘ requirements.

This topic is particularly relevant as microdata remains today the most widely used format for structured data (see data below collected by Aaron Bradley from the 2019 Common Crawl’s sample) and there is a huge demand to improve structured data to gain additional visibility on Google’s SERP.

To confirm that we cannot mix attributes by item ID when combining microdata and json-ld we asked the help of several SEOs with in-depth knowledge on structured linked data, including Dan BrickleyJarno van Driel, Jono Alderson, Richard Wallis and Mark and Martha van Berkel.

Before engaging with the community we created two examples HTML pages:

  1. json-ld + microdata: here is the result validated with the Google Structured Data Testing Tool (where you will see the “Unspecified Type” error since GSDTT cannot merge the two syntaxes);
  2. json-ld + json-ld: here we can see that GSDTT supports the merge by type ID when data is written in json-ld

Interesting enough the first example would be properly rendered by the Structured Data Linter: a tool designed to help webmaster validate structured data markup. Here follows the information from the Twitter thread and the messages by Dan Brickley and Jarno van Driel:

READY TO AUTOMATE YOUR STRUCTURED DATA MARKUP?

Book a call with us and join our list of happy customers!

Top 10 SEO Trends 2020 that you should know!

Top 10 SEO Trends 2020 that you should know!

Here are my SEO predictions for 2020. In a nutshell: we need to re-think content marketing from the ground up and we – as tool makers – really need to design features that help you cope with an ever changing search landscape; organic opportunities on mobile shrunk by 9% in 2019 (according to Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends Report) and in 2020, competition will be even fiercer

The success of our company depends on our vision and here is what we are truly betting on.

What are the top trends for SEO in 2020?

The trends for SEO in 2020, one way or another, are related to Google becoming more and more a digital walled garden: a closed ecosystem with full control over all the applications. Here are the top 10 trends you need to watch in 2020:

    1. Google’s SERP gets richer
    2. Voice search  and  Voice apps
    3. Intent-focused content optimization 
    4. Video
    5. Branding and reputation
    6. Queryless search
    7. Structured data 
    8. Cutting-edge language models
    9. Page Load Time
    10. New search engines
A Giant Panda just walked into our office 🐼

A Giant Panda just walked into our office 🐼(courtesy of Google 3D and Augmented Reality results)

1. Google’s SERP gets richer

With Cameos on Google, mini-apps, 3D images and AR within search we expect the SERP to become a true multimedia hub. We also learned that each new element of this media-rich SERP is driven by its one specific ranking algorithm (see what Jason Barnard calls  Darwinism in Search to learn more about it)  and that the core algorithm combines all of these rankings into one holistic overview. Following Google I/O, the support for 3D object and mini-apps have been announced; this will further expand in 2020. There are already many apps supporting AR and enabling consumers to see how 3D objects look in your home or how a new pair of shoes will look on you will become more popular (have a look at our snowman 3D example to get a taste of it). This is a complete new perspective – that yet it requires a savvy use of structured data (3D object use the so called 3D Markup). We will also see even more interactivity with Mini Apps – these are custom built applications that you can build within Google Search. We’re developing a first prototype and yes – this is also a game changer for SEO.

Google Mini Apps

Hijacking Google SERP with Mini Apps

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Forget about being 1° on the SERP; keep on innovating with high quality content that can appeal your audience across different search channels (from images to videos, from tweets to news articles). Use structured data to improve your SERP visibility and get ready to experiment with Mini-Apps and Google’s new ways of engaging with users.

2. Voice search and Voice apps are here to stay

Voice is no longer a new trend: voice-enabled device interaction is becoming part of consumer day-to-day information diet.

Voice Search Stats 2019 by PwC

Voice Search Stats by PwC (link to the report )

While the vast majority of users are still using voice primarily for basic tasks (i.e. “call my mum”) we’ve seen concrete opportunities in two areas that we believe will keep on growing also in 2020: 

  1. Long tail informational queries. We call it Voice Search SEO, and it is about optimizing content for long-tail queries likely to be spoken aloud, providing answers using FAQ markup and creating content like recipes and news articles that the Google Assistant can interact with. Once you see traffic coming in for these long-tail queries on your website, you might want to consider creating your own skill on Alexa or application for the Google Assistant. See a practical example below 👇A long tail query on the Google Assistant (Salzburgerland attractions)
  2. Voice interactions linked to Local Search. Voice has a tremendous impact on local searches and drives valuable phone calls. Just to give you an idea 28% of consumers go on to call the business they voice searched for (source: BrightLocal).        
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Start by analyzing long tail queries that matter for your business, make sure (if you have a local business) to optimize your presence on Google My Business (GMB) and improve the interplay with your website. Focus on calls and direct messages and always improve consistency. Remember your offline presence is strategic for your online visibility.

3. Intent-focused content optimization is the new mantra

Long tail queries will keep gaining momentum as voice search becomes more pervasive and Google gets better at understanding the intent behind each query. The game here is to create content that  works for your audience by leveraging on intent-focused content optimization, entity-centric content modeling and in-depth analysis of user personas. On-point and authoritative content that respond to specific information need will win. This leads – in SEO terms – to a clear understanding of your target audience (for this you might want to use our Web Analytics Dashboard) and massive restructuring of already existing content to ensure that only your best articles, for a given topic, survive. Get to work – analyze your strengths, spent time understanding your readers and prune anything that doesn’t fit their need. 

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Spend time analyzing your readers, their behaviour and their journey. SEO is about creating an engaging experience that fits the need of the users. Make sure you only keep the best for them, consolidate content and spend time on improving your content model. Want to learn more about our entity-based content model? Book a call with us, we’re here to help you grow your business.

4. Video keeps growing 

Video will grow and YouTube, besides being the second largest search engine after Google, has become your new TV (6 out of 10 people in 2019 prefer YouTube over TV). Current internet users (especially from younger generations) tend to prefer getting information from on-line videos. In pure SEO terms video is a terrific channel and whether you use YouTube or your own video platform getting videos on Google Search, Google Images and Google Discover is strategic. Using structured data here is a must and opens the door to an engaging user experience. 

Video on Google

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

It’s time to setup your killer video studio and start filming. You don’t need to break your bank, things can be done on budget and with . high quality. Use structured data to promote your content on the website and define a healthy strategy to engage with new users on YouTube.

5. Branding and reputation are essential

Branding and reputation are essential in modern SEO; earning your presence in the knowledge graph has a tremendous impact across multiple platforms (from Google Search to Google Images, from Google Discover to Bing Search) – and requires consistency, strategy, some understanding of linked data publishing and content quality (for all your E-A-T challenges and SEO questions Lily Ray is the right person to engage with).

Creating your digital brand means cultivating, nurturing and optimizing your presence in Google and Bing Knowledge Graph. Verifying, claiming the entity, using structured data and helping the gatekeepers (Google, Bing, Facebook etc.) let you interact with your audience. It also means monitoring the changes and to this regard you might want to read the recent study Jason Barnard did while tracking changes in the Google Knowledge Graph

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Get on the Google’s Knowledge Graph and Bing’s Graph, curate your entity on your own websites using structured linked data and remember, SEO is about branding as much as it is about disseminating high quality content. Define a clear KPI to make sure you keep on improving your brand visibility. Need help? Give us call, take the time to visit us in Rome 😎 and start improving your branding.

6. Queryless search goes mainstream

We saw publishers traffic skyrocketing in 2019 because of Google Discover, we expect these peaks to be normalized and trimmed as more sites gets into Google’s massive content recommendation machine. Remember here the prophetic tweet from @methode (Google’s Gary Illyes) on this topic and the SEO debate that followed it.

The basic idea is that things will change very quickly on this front. We have seen websites that in less than 10 months have accumulated a staggering amount of clicks and sites that got no clicks at all. I do expect this to change and the traffic to be distributed across a larger spectrum of websites in 2020.         

Google Discover Report

Google Discover Report

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Once again here it is all about proper structured data implementation, AMP support and hi-res images. Here is my updated checklist to optimize your content for Google Discover: read it all up and get ready for a completely new stream of traffic. 

7. Structured data is your new sitemap and…a lot more

Using schema is not only vital to let search engines present your content via featured snippets but has also become a way to help Google understand how the content on your site is connected. Learn schema markup and start thinking like a crawler (or let WordLift do the work for you 😉) translates whatever content you think is important in a structured linked graph. We’ve seen literally magic happening this year with sites using our SEO-designed knowledge graphs (i.e. a 68% organic growth on the Salzburgerland website in an ultra-competitive landscape such as traveling and with a growing number of queries ending up in zero clicks). I also expect to see more concrete use-cases where structured data is not only used for SEO but becomes a building block of the content strategy (our Semantic Web Analytics Dashboard has been a success and we expect more people using on-page structured data to improve analytics, to improve user experience, to train new recommendation systems and to structure content).

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Do what Google does: build your own knowledge graph and automate structured data markup with WordLift. Structured data is no longer about rich results, it is an essential building block of your content strategyContact us to learn more 

8. Cutting-edge language models boost your writing creativity and provide further help with SEO 😉

Programming is no longer the same, machine learning and natural language processing are a natural fit with creativity, content writing and content optimization in general. 2019 will be remembered as the year when NLP literally exploded, we witnessed one innovation after the other (from GPT-2 to BERT, from DistilledBERT to ALBERT) and an unprecedented level of improvements across the most daring NLP tasks such as content understanding, QAs answering, content generation and more. Unlike simpler language generation approaches like the good ol’ Markov chains, which only work with a limited vocabulary, ML models using the transformer architecture can learn larger patterns of grammar and semantics and re-apply them in completely different contexts.    

The improvements of transfer learning from large-scale language models in 2019

The improvements of transfer learning from large-scale language models in 2019

Smaller, faster, cheaper and improved language models have revolutionized the world of NLP in 2019 (read this article here from one of the team driving this revolution of large scale language models).

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Needless to say, I see this trend evolving in 2020 and we’re doing our very best to bring these innovations to WordLift (have a look at how we’re planning to help you summarize blog posts using BERT). This is by far the area where I see most of the  opportunities in 2020, not only in terms of SEO automation but also in terms of content creation and optimization. Stay tuned, follow me on Twitter and get ready to improve your publishing workflow with the help of AI.  

9. Page Load Time continues to rule your world

The speed of websites and the different tasks that concur to the loading of a webpage will remain a key factor in SEO. Google has imposed – in the summer of 2018 – to improve the loading speed of websites and will continue to do so in 2020. The more we interact with our content using Google Search, Google Discover, Google Images and Google Assistant and the more our website need to be top performing. From improving Time To First Byte to skimming down complexity from HTML files we will continue to spend a lot of energy to make our websites blazing fast. Nothing new really – this was exactly the same target we had last year – it remains highly important but we have now more technology and more metrics to keep on improving (GSC, introduced a brand new speed report in 2019).       

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Always remember: Google will see and evaluate your website as a user with an average mobile phone connected on a 3G network. Do your best to reduce complexity, optimize content delivery and improve loading performances (from compressing images, to shrinking CSS, from web fonts loading to server response time). Start by analyzing your website with tools like GTMetrix and Web.dev and make sure to use plugins like WP Rocket. It’s a technical investment, it requires effort but it really pays off. 

10. New search engines emerge

As Google plays more and more the Walled Garden strategy to increase its market share by literally devouring the user experience across multiple verticals (from flights to hotels, from cooking to jobs etc.) the need for an unbiased and possibly privacy-safe search experience keeps growing and paves the way to new search engines. Not only DuckDuckGo kept growing in 2019 and will continue to do so in 2020 but also Ahrefs (a well known SEO tool) announced the launch of a new search engine to encourage innovation (and to leverage on the raising complaints against Google from publishers). I also expect more SEO-related techniques to improve content visibility across the Amazon platform for anyone selling products online.        

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Do your best inside and outside Google Walled Garden. It’s pure fun, Google is still bringing a tremendous amount of value to web publishers and, with most of our clients in 2019, we have seen a double digit growth on organic. So, are you ready to innovate on SEO in 2020? Still have a question? Book a call with us and join our list of happy customers!

The image used in this article comes from a project called Visualizing I-Ching by Yvette Shen.
Cameos on Google in a Nutshell

Cameos on Google in a Nutshell

What is Cameos on Google?

Google Cameos is a new – invite-only – Google Search experiment to let people (that already appear in Google Knowledge Graph) record videos for answering simple questions related to their work and/or life experience.

Video-answers appear in Google Search right below the knowledge panel; the same answers are also presented on Google Discover and can pop up on the Google Assistant when a user asks something about that person.

Cameos on Google lets you be the authority on you. This is how Google explains it.

Here is how Google Cameos work

Quite simply, here is how it worked for me:

  1. I received an invitation by email
  2. I downloaded the Google Cameos APP on my phone (you can find it for both Android and iOS)
  3. Upon starting the app (and here is where the fun begins), it will start generating questions by looking at the information Google has in its Knowledge Graph; these questions are divided into two categories:
    For the fans (things that are more closely related to the information Google has about you)
    Trending topics (most frequent questions on topics that relates to you)
  4. Simply by choosing a question you can start recording and, if you like the preview, you can send the video and
  5. The video gets published in an hour or so on Google Search below the knowledge panel
  6. You get from the app a quick overview in terms of “Total Impressions” and “Watches”
Cameos on Google

Cameos on Google

What do you need to use Google Cameos?

Right now the experiment is limited and you will need to get an invite to partecipate but, here is what I did before getting the invitation.

  1. Get your name/entity in Google’s Knowledge Graph (not trivial but these days not so difficult either)
  2. Get your entity verified – if your name appears with a Knowledge panel you can get started with the verification process from there – alternatively you can you start from Posts on Google
  3. Make sure the content about you is always fresh and up to date (you can suggest edits on the information available on the Knowledge Panel)
From Cameos to Google Discover

From Cameos to Google Discover

Is Google trying again to become a Social Network?

Well, yes in a way the medium is similar, the user is entice to invest on his own personal branding and to engage with his/her audience on Google‘s channels. While we only see it happening for people in the Knowledge Graphit is easy to expect that anyone is already in Google’s Knowledge Graph one way or another. Try to ask Google to call a friend from Twitter and you will find yourself in the awkward position of accessing a phone number of a person that, yes you know, but who is not in your phone’s contact list, and all of this displayed with a nice-looking material card containing a photo of that person taken from…well, the web.

The 3 things I learnt from the Google Cameos experiment

  1. The SERP is getting richer and richer to let people interact with each others in all sort of ways;
  2. Google‘s interactions and activation channels are built on top of its ever-growing knowledge graph; the more data you provide the easier it gets for Google to let you connect with your audience – this is valid for a small business, an individual and a brand. In this particular case the most exciting piece of technology is the machinery used to generate the questions by looking at the data in the Knowledge Graph. Let me give you an example, since Google knows that I have co-founded several companies and I am currently holding a CEO position – my questions are all gravitating about being a CEO, starting up a company and acting as a founder. Generating novel questions from Knowledge Graph is one of these tech challenges the ML/DL community is very excited about; as a marketer this means that the more I expand the data related to my entities the more occasions I get of interacting with my audience;
  3. Google’s heavily investing on its own Walled Garden by providing an AI-driven communication platform where everyone can also buy ads – it’s interesting to see as these experiments on the “organic” front tend to have their own “paid” counterpart (think for instance of the lead generation that has been recently introduced on Google Ads) – this means that a lot is changing in the way that organic search work and the stronger your brand is the more chances you have in capturing users attention.

Now, it’s really time to get famous and start playing with Cameos 😉

How to write meta descriptions using BERT

How to write meta descriptions using BERT





If you are confused about meta descriptions in SEO, why they are important and how to nail it with the help of artificial intelligence, this article is for you. 

If you are eager to start experimenting with an AI-writer, read the full article. At the end, I will give you a script to help you write meta descriptions on scale using BERT: Google’s pre-trained, unsupervised language model that has recently gained great momentum in the SEO community after both, Google and BING announced that they use it for providing more useful results.    

I used to underestimate the importance of meta descriptions myself: after all Google will use it only on 35.9% of the cases (according to a Moz analysis from last year by the illustrious @dr_pete). In reality, these brief snippets of text, greatly help to entice more users to your website and, indirectly, might even influence your ranking thanks to higher click-through-rate (CTR)

While Google can overrule the meta descriptions added in the HTML of your pages, if you properly align:

  1. the main intent of the user (the query you are targeting), 
  2. the title of the page and
  3. the meta description 

There are many possibilities to improve the CTR on Google’s result pages. In the course of this article we will investigate the following aspects and, since it’s a long article, feel free to jump to the section that interests you the most — code is available at the end.

What are meta descriptions?

As usual I tend to “ask”  “experts” online a definition to get started, and with a simple query on Google, we can get this definition from our friends at WooRank:

Meta descriptions are HTML tags that appear in the head section of a web page. The content within the tag provides a description of what the page and its content are about. In the context of SEO, meta descriptions should be around 160 characters long.

meta description definition

Here’s an example of what a meta description usually looks like (from that same article):

meta description example

The Ultimate Checklist to Optimize Content for Google Discover

The Ultimate Checklist to Optimize Content for Google Discover

The shift from keyword search to a queryless way to get information has arrived

Google Discover is an AI-driven content recommendation tool included with the Google Search app. Here is what we learned from the data available in the Google Search Console.

Google introduced Discover in 2017 and it claims that there are already 800M active users consuming content using this new application. A few days back Google added in the Google Search Console statistical data on the traffic generated by Discover. This is meant to help webmasters, and publishers in general, understand what content is ranking best on this new platform and how it might be different from the content ranking on Google Search.

What was very shocking for me to see, on some of the large websites we work for with our SEO management service, is that between 25% and 42% of the total number of organic clicks are already generated by this new recommendation tool. I did expect Discover to drive a significant amount of organic traffic but I totally underestimated its true potentials.

A snapshot from GSC on a news and media site

In Google’s AI-first approach, organic traffic is no longer solely dependent on queries typed by users in the search bar.

This has a tremendous impact on both content publishers, business owners and the SEO industry as a whole.

Machine learning is working behind the scenes to harvest data about users’ behaviors, to learn from this data and to suggest what is relevant for them at a specific point in time and space.

Let’s have a look at how Google explains how Discover works.

From www.blog.google

[…] We’ve taken our existing Knowledge Graph—which understands connections between people, places, things and facts about them—and added a new layer, called the Topic Layer, engineered to deeply understand a topic space and how interests can develop over time as familiarity and expertise grow. The Topic Layer is built by analyzing all the content that exists on the web for a given topic and develops hundreds and thousands of subtopics. For these subtopics, we can identify the most relevant articles and videos—the ones that have shown themselves to be evergreen and continually useful, as well as fresh content on the topic. We then look at patterns to understand how these subtopics relate to each other, so we can more intelligently surface the type of content you might want to explore next.

Embrace Semantics and publish data that can help machines be trained.

Once again, the data that we produce, sustains and nurture this entire process. Here is an overview of the contextual data, besides the Knowledge Graph and the Topic Layer that Google uses to train the system:

To learn more about Google’s work on query prediction, I would suggest you read an article by Bill Slawski titled “How Google Might Predict Query Intent Using Contextual Histories“.

What I learned by analyzing the data in GSC

This research is limited to the data gathered from three websites only, while the sample was small few patterns emerged:

      1. Google tends to distribute content between Google Search and Google Discover (the highest overlap I found was 13.5% – these are pages that, since Discover data has been collected on GSC, have received traffic from both channels)
      2. Pages in Discover have not the highest engagement in terms of bounce rate or average time on page when compared to all other pages on a website. They are relevant for a specific intent and well-curated but I didn’t see any correlation with social metrics.
      3. Traffic seems to work with a 48-hours or 72-hours spike as already seen for the top stories.

To optimize your content for Google Discover, here is what you should do.

1. Make sure you have an entity in the Google Knowledge Graph or an account on Google My Business

Entities in the Google Knowledge Graph need to be created in order for Discover to be able to recognize them.

Results for WordLift

Results for WordLift

For business owners

Either your business, or product, is already in the Google Knowledge Graph or it is not. If it is not, there are no chances that the content you are writing about for your company or product will appear in Discover (unless this content is bound to other broader topics). I am able to read articles about WordLift in my Discover stream since WordLift has an entity in the Google Knowledge Graph. From the configuration screenshot above we can actually see there are indeed more entities when I search for “WordLift”:

      • one related to Google My Business (WordLift Software Company in Rome is the label we use on GMB),
      • one from the Google Knowledge Graph (WordLift Company)
      • one presumably about the product (without any tagline)
      • one about myself as CEO of the company

So, get into the graph and make sure to curate your presence on Google My Business. Very interestingly we can see the relationship between myself and WordLift is such that when looking for WordLift, Google shows also Andrea Volpini as a potential topic of interest.

In these examples, we see that from Google Search I can start following persons that are already in the Google Knowledge Graph and the user experience in Discover for content related to the entity WordLift.

In these examples, we see that from Google Search I can start following persons that are already in the Google Knowledge Graph and the user experience in Discover for content related to the entity WordLift.

2. Focus on high-quality content and a great user experience

It is good also to remember that the quality in terms of both the content you write (alignment with Google’s content quality policies) and the user experience on your website is essential. A website that loads on a mobile connection in 10 seconds or more is not going to be featured in Discover. A clickbait article, with more ads than content, is not going to be featured in Discover. An article written by copying other websites and patently infringing copyrights laws is not likely to be featured in Discovery.

3. Be relevant and write content that truly helps people by responding to their specific information need

Recommendations tools like Discover only succeed when they are capable of enticing the user to click on the suggested content. To do so effectively they need to work with content designed to answer a specific request. Let’s see a few examples “I am interested in SEO” (entity “Search Engine Optimization“), or “I want to learn more about business models” (entity “Business Model”).

The more we can match the intent of the user, in a specific context (or micro-moment if you like), the more we are likely to be chosen by a recommendation tool like Discover.

4. Always use an appealing hi-res image and a great title

Images play a very important role in Google‘s card-based UI as well as in Discover. Whether you are presenting a cookie recipe or an article, the image you chose will be presented to the user and will play its role in enticing the click. Besides the editorial quality of the image I also suggest you follow the AMP requirements for images (the smallest side of the featured image should be at least 1.200 px). You also want to make sure Google has the rights to display your high-quality images and this can be done either using AMP or by by filling out this form to express your interest in Google’s opt-in program. Similarly, a good title, much like in the traditional SERP is super helpful in driving the clicks.

5. Organize your content semantically

Much like Google does, using tools like WordLift, you can organize content with semantic networks and entities. This allows you to: a) help Google (and other search engines) gather more data about “your” entities b) organize your content the same way Google does (and therefore measure its performance by looking at topics and not pages and keywords) c) train our own ML models to help you make better decisions for your business.

Let me give you a few examples. If I provide, let’s say the information about our company, and the industry we work for using entities that Google can crawl. Google‘s AI will be able to connect content related to our business with people interested in “startups”, “seo” and “artificial intelligence“. Machine learning, as we usually say, is hungry for data and semantically rich data is what platforms like Discover use to learn how to be relevant.

If I look at the traffic I generate on my website, not only in terms of pages and keywords but using entities (as we do with our new search rankings dashboard or the Google Analytics integration) I can quickly see what content is relevant for a given topic and improve it.

WordLift Dashboard

Use entities to analyze our your content is performing on organic search

Here below a list of pages, we have annotated with the entity “Artificial Intelligence“. Are these pages relevant for someone interested in AI? Can we do a better job in helping these people learn more about this topic?

A detail of the WordLift dashboard

A few of the articles tagged with the entity “Artificial Intelligence” and their respective query

Learn more about Google Discover – Questions & Answers

Following in this article, I have a list of questions that I have answered in these past days as data from Discover was made available in GSC. I hope you’ll find it useful too.

How does Discover work from the end-user perspective?

The suggestions in Discover are entity-based. Google groups content that believes relevant using entities in its Knowledge Graph (i.e. “WordLift”, “Andrea Volpini”, “Business” or “Search Engine Optimization“). Entities are called topics. The content-based user filtering algorithm behind Discover can be configured from a menu in the application (“Customize Discover”) and fine-tuned over time by providing direct feedback on the recommended content in the form of “Yes, I want more of this”, “No, I am not interested”. Using Reinforcement Learning (a specific branch of Machine Learning) and Neural Matching (different ways of understanding what the content is about) the algorithm is capable of creating a personalized feed of information from the web. New topics can be followed by clicking on the “+” sign.

Topics are organized in a hierarchy of categories and subcategories (such as “Sport”, “Technology”). Read more here on how to customize Google Discover.

How can I access Discover?

On Android, in most devices, accessing Discover is as simple as swiping, from the home screen to the right.

Is Google Discover available only in the US?

No, Google Discover is already available worldwide and in multiple languages and it is part of the core search experience on all Android devices and on any iOS devices with the Google Search app installed. Discover is also available in Google Chrome.

Do I have to be on Google News to be featured in Discover?

No, Google Discover uses also content that is not published on Google News. It is more likely that a news site will appear on Google Discover due to the amount of content published every day and the different topics that a news site usually covers.

Is evergreen content eligible for Discover or only freshly updated articles are?

Evergreen content, that fits a specific information need, is as important as newsworthy content. I spotted an article from FourWeekMBA.com (Gennaro’s blog on business administration and management) that was published 9 months ago under the entity “business”.

FourWeekMBA on Discover

Does a page need to rank high on Google Search to be featured in Discover?

Quite interestingly, on a news website where I analyzed the GSC data, only 13.5% of the pages featured in Discover had received traffic on Google Search. Pages that received traffic on both channels had a position on Google Search <=8.

Correlation of Discover_Clicks, Google Search_Position

Correlation of Google Discover Clicks and Google Search Position

How can I measure the impact of Discover from Google Analytics?

A simple way is to download the .csv file containing all the pages listed in the Discover report in GSC and create an advanced filter in Google Analytics under Behaviour > Site Content > All pages with the following combination of parameters:

Filtering all pages that have received traffic from Discover in Google Analytics

Filtering all pages that have received traffic from Discover in Google Analytics

Discover is yet another important step in the evolution of search engines in answer and discovery machines that help us sift in today’s content multiverse.

Keep following us, and give WordLift a spin with our free trial!

Stand out on search in 2019. Get 50% off WordLift until January 7th Buy Now!

x