One of my websites made $249.06 last weekend.
The daily revenue high for the previous 30 days was … wait for it … $3.22. That’s three dollars and change, folks.
If you don’t do math, I’ve broken it down for you:
That’s about a … 120 bajillion percent increase. +/- 3%.
So how did I do it?
Well, that’s the thing. I didn’t do anything.
Let’s start at the beginning: Page One of Google.
Here’s my argument: Page One of Google doesn’t exist.
The concept that a certain string of characters (a search query) returns a hierarchical, universal set of archived data is so … 2003.
From what I’ve read in the Google Quality Rater Guidelines and their Developer Search Console Guide, Google is laser-focused on returning the most relevant and useful information to each individual user.
Google already returns personalized SERPs. This is/will be the future. Full stop.
As content creators, we should be prostrating ourselves at Google’s feet, thanking them for this blessing! We’re not all jockeying for the same Top 10 positions. Now there are hundreds, even thousands of “Top 10” results depending on the user!
Google Discover is just a logical extension of this concept.
If you don’t know about Google Discover, just imagine SEO, RSS, Buzzfeed and Facebook had a baby. Google curates a personalized feed of content based on your search interests, location, app activity, etc.
Discover is only available on mobile devices, either native Android devices, or iOs with an app. On most mobile Android devices, just swipe right.
As of now, Discover is a bit of a dark horse. It drives tons of web traffic, but SEO professionals still haven’t fully dissected its organs. You can read more about Google Discover at SearchEngineJournal.com. I won’t regurgitate what I’ve read elsewhere.
As you’ve guessed by now, I owe my $250 to Discover. Although to be honest, I thought I was getting attacked by a spam bot at first.
What’s interesting is that I posted my article on December 5th. And 5 days later, on December 11, it received more than 2,000 clicks in a single day, all from Google Discover. I had a 16.4% CTR.
Three days later, the party ended, and my traffic abruptly returned to normal. Well, almost normal. My baseline traffic was about 2x more than before the Discover spike. I call this “the afterglow.”
Discover has piqued my interest. And it’s not just because there’s a lot of money to (potentially) be made with viral content.
It’s because Discover throws a wrench in an accepted adage for content marketers: Write answers to questions that people search for.
That’s the strategy of traditional SEO. Write the best answer to a head-scratching question, and you’ll earn the search traffic.
Discover – and the other personalized, curated content feeds like Flipboard, Microsoft Start, Feedly – overlaps with traditional SEO but has a unique advantage: You can “push” content in front of someone’s eyeballs without them initiating the question.
Now we can write engaging, persuasive content that isn’t directly tied to a longtail keyword phrase. You can answer questions the user doesn’t even know to ask. If you can capture their curiosity with a breezy headline and a crisp feature photograph, you’ll get the click.
I’m not trying to paint Google Discover as some revolutionary technology. It’s not. Not yet, anyway. And like I said, there are many similar offerings (Samsung Free, Apple News, etc.).
But historically, curated content feeds and aggregators have either been based on subscribed RSS feeds or recent news articles. Discover is an incremental step towards leveraging the formidable power of personalized indexing + curation. And I think that’s pretty exciting.
I don’t have any insider advice how to get on Discover. I’m still figuring it out myself. But you can bet I’ll be keeping a close eye on Discover in 2022!
Here’s a little information about my article that went viral on Google Discover. See how yours compare.
- Clickbait-y headline. Don’t stoop to Buzzfeed levels, obviously, but headlines should have a curiosity gap. Mine had a truth-telling spin – here’s something you think you know that you don’t!
- Medium length. It was about 1,500 words. For me, that’s rather short. It was long enough to be comprehensive but short enough to be digestible in a single sitting. Most of my SEO-optimized posts are longer, at least 1,800-2,200 words (up to 3,500!).
- Unique charts and graphs. I didn’t use any stock images. I mostly used charts and graphs. All photos and graphics were either my own or linked back to their creators (usually big businesses).
- Internal links. I had 6-7 internal links to other relevant pages on my website.
- E-A-T. I’m an “expert” on the topic I wrote about, and I referenced my personal experience several times.
I hesitate to use the term “snackable,” but I do think Discover-optimized content needs a narrower scope than SEO-optimized content.
For instance, I doubt a “Beginner’s 101 Guide to SEO” would ever show up on Discover, even if it ranks high in the SERPs. It’s just not the sort of headline/article guide that piques someone’s impromptu interest.
It’s all in the name, I guess – Discover seems to be all about writing content that helps users “discover” something new!