An SEO professional explained that they were part of a news website in Brazil. Their question is about Google Discover for traffic.
They have been experiencing a huge drop in the delivery of their content via Google Discover, their main acquisition channel. This is a problem.
For the past ten days, the delivery of their content to Discover dropped to almost nothing. Their normal audience was one thousand active users in real time.
However, now it has dropped to approximately 90 or 100 active users.
They didn’t change anything that could be considered technical or editorial in nature. Their Search Console account didn’t report a problem.
They have all Core Web Vitals rated highly in their CrUX reports, which are all okay too. All of them are above 80 percent. Their website is also 100 percent AMP.
They are not sure what is happening with this, and wanted to turn to John for the answer.
John explained that it is always tricky when it comes to Discover, because it’s binary in terms of traffic for most people: either you have traffic or you don’t.
This also means that any changes in Discover tend to be very visible.
His recommendation is not relying on Google Discover at all for traffic. Instead, it should be seen as an additional source of traffic, rather than being the main one.
John went on to say that there are several things in play when it comes to Discover. He believes a few things are good practices.
One is that core updates play a role. It’s possible that the timing of that core update impacted the website’s traffic.
He said that checking the blog post they have on core updates is a good idea to get started when trying to identify issues that may have occurred as a result of this update.
It’s also possible that their algorithms may have concluded that a large part of that website is simply clickbait, or it falls under one of the other categories that they provide in their guidelines for Discover.
As a result of this, it’s likely that the algorithms governing Discover will be way more conservative in terms of how they show the website, until these repairs are completed.
This happens at approximately the 45:35 mark in the video.
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John Mueller Hangout Transcript
SEO Professional 7 45:35
We are from a news website here in Brazil. And we have a question about a problem that we are going through in the last few days on our website. We are going through a huge drop in the delivery of our content through Google Discover. And now Google Discover is our main acquisition channel.
But in the last 10 days, the delivery of our content to discover has dropped to practically zero. Our no-normal audience was a thousand active users in real time, and now is about 90 or 100 active users. And we didn’t change anything technical or editorial. And our Search Console did not report any problem.
We have all Core Web Vitals rated very high in our CrUX reports, are okay too, all above 80 percent. Our website is 100 percent AMP, and we don’t know what’s happening. What do you think could be happening with us? Can we do something to fix this problem in Discover? We don’t know what’s happening.
Yeah, I think it’s always tricky with Discover, because it’s, at least what I hear from people, it’s very binary, in that either you get a lot of traffic or you don’t get a lot of traffic from Discover. And that also means that any changes there tend to be very visible. So my main recommendation is not to rely on Google Discover for traffic, but rather to see it as an additional traffic source and not as the main one.
When it comes to Discover there are a few things that kind of play in there. You mentioned some of the technical things that I think are good practices. One of the things that also plays in there is, for example, the core updates also play a role. We recently had a core update, maybe from a timing point of view that matches what you saw there. So that’s something where if you do see an effect from the core update, then I would double check the blog post that we have about core updates with like the large number of tips and ideas that you could think could focus on.
The other thing is with Discover, in particular, we have a set of content guidelines that we try to stick to in an algorithmic way. And depending on the website itself, it might be something where some of these content guidelines of your website are kind of borderline. So for example, I don’t know the content guidelines all by heart, but I think there is something around like clickbaity titles or clickbaity content in general, or kind of adult oriented content, for example. And it might be that your website is kind of borderline there with regards to how we kind of evaluate your website in that regard.
And then it can also happen that our algorithms say, Oh, well, a large part of this website is just clickbait, or it is kind of one or the other categories that we list in the content guidelines. And then we will be a lot more conservative with regards to how we show the website in Discover. So those are kind of like without knowing your website, that’s kind of the direction I would head on the one hand, the core updates, kind of think about that.
On the other hand, the content guidelines that we have. And then finally, I would still make sure that you don’t rely on Discover for your business overall because it can change fairly quickly. And it’s something where often they’re not pure technical reasons behind those changes.