Google’s John Mueller advises site owners not to expect every web story they publish to get displayed in Discover.
Google Discover has its own web stories carousel, which was added last October, but only select content makes its way in.
The addition of a web stories carousel lead some people to assume publishing one would automatically lead to visibility in Google Discover.
That’s at least true of a site owner who submitted a question answered by Mueller during the Google Search Central SEO hangout recorded on February 19.
The site owner asks: “How long does it usually take to show a web story in Discover after creating it?”
The short answer is – it depends.
For the full answer, see the section below.
Google’s John Mueller on Web Stories in Discover
When it comes to any piece of content, whether it’s a web story or any other type of web page, the speed at which it gets indexed can vary.
Content can sometimes get indexed quickly, and sometimes it can take a while.
On top of that, not everything in Google’s search index gets displayed in Discover.
Google Discover is a different thing from web search altogether.
Mueller refers to Discover as “another level” above web search where Google is more selective about what gets shown.
In his words, Google is “extra careful” about what gets shown in Discover because users are not looking for anything specific. The idea is to recommend the most appropriate content for each user based on what their interests are at that time.
It may take longer for some web stories to get recommended in Discover. But, unlike stories on other sites, there’s no shelf life for web stories. A web story will remain published for as long as a site owner chooses to keep it up.
However, it can also happen that a web story is never shown in Discover, Mueller says:
“The answer is: it depends. Unfortunately. It’s something where sometimes we can pick up content very quickly after it was created, and crawl it very quickly, and index it very quickly. Sometimes all of that takes a lot longer.
Discover in particular is yet another level on top of that, because for Discover we want to make sure we recommend something that is really appropriate for users. Because users are not searching for something specifically, so we have to be extra careful with regards to the content that we show in Discover.
So there in particular it could happen that it takes a little bit longer for it to start showing up in Discover. It can also happen that it’s never shown in Discover.”
Site owners cannot optimize a web story to get recommended in Discover any more than they can optimize a web page to do the same.
Impressions and traffic from Google Discover are known to be unpredictable. It’s great if you’re getting steady traffic from Discover, but it’s not something that should be depended on.
With that said, if your web stories are not being shown in Google Discover or Google Search, there may be a problem you need to fix.
Use Google’s AMP testing tool to check if your web story is valid. The tool will identify any issues preventing the content from being shown in Google’s web stories carousel.
Hear Mueller’s response in the video below:
For more coverage of this hangout please refer to the articles below:
- Google on SEO Best Practices for News Sites & Short Articles
- Google’s John Mueller: Total Number of Backlinks Doesn’t Matter
- Google May Treat Press Releases Different From Other Content