Google updated it’s Google Discover policies to add five kinds of content that may be excluded from being recommended. Publishers should take note and govern themselves accordingly.
Discover is a way that Google shows interesting content to mobile phone users with the Google App. Google Discover is different from Google Search in that Google automatically chooses the kind of content to show based on recent search history and other factors.
Google Discover can also be controlled by the user by blocking certain kinds of content when Google gets it wrong as well as other ways to indicate preferences.
Some of the content is new and other content is evergreen, content that isn’t new to the web but may be new to the person browsing Google Discover.
Google Discover is a great way for content creators to gain more site visitors.
Google describes what Discover is like this:
“With Discover, you can get updates for your interests, like your favorite sports team or news site, without searching for them. You can choose the types of updates you want to see in Discover in the Google app or when you’re browsing the web on your phone.”
What Changed in Google Discover
Google updated it’s developer support web page that helps publishers understand how to get more traffic from Google Discover.
The web page had additional content added to it in order to explain a recent change to the kinds of site Google shows in Discover.
Google’s update to the Discover support page documentation now gives examples of five types of content that will not be shown in Discover.
These are the five examples of the kinds of content that Google said are excluded from Discover:
- Job Applications
- Code Repositories
- Satirical Content
Publishers of satirical content have apparently been noticing a decline in traffic from Google Discover. The reason why satirical content could be problematic is that users might not be able to tell if the content is real or not.
Satire usually pokes fun of targets like politicians and popular societal trends by the use of exaggeration. This kind of content can easily be mistaken for real news because people who are prone to believe a certain point of view (confirmation bias) will take it to be for real.
For example, someone who believes that members of a specific political party are lazy and corrupt might believe a satirical news article about those politicians being caught taking bribes while napping is a real news account.
Google updated their Get on Discover Support Page with a brand new paragraph that describes what kind of content might be excluded from Google Discover.
This is the new guidance for Google Discover:
“To deliver a good user experience, Discover seeks to present content that’s suitable for interest-based feeds, such as articles and videos, as well as filter out content that’s not desired or that might confuse readers. For example, Discover might not recommend job applications, petitions, forms, code repositories, or satirical content without any context.”
Report that Google Incorrectly Labeling News as Satire
Usually when Google rolls out something new there are some sites that inadvertently get caught up and lose traffic. These cases are known as False Positives.
A False Positive happens when Google introduces a new algorithm change that is meant to remove certain kinds of sites from showing. Sites that are removed by mistake are known as False Positives.
Historically Google receives feedback about False Positives and responds by making changes to improve the algorithm so that False Positives are minimized.
Search Marketer Lily Ray made an interesting post in LinkedIn about a false positive.
“It also looks like the label “Satire” may be used pretty broadly across many sites that provide exaggerated headlines, even if the content itself is not actually satire.”
This sounds like a case of a false positive where Google has labeled an entire site as satire and stopped showing the site in Google Discover.
Moving forward, publishers may want to monitor their Google Discover traffic performance as well as moderate article titles to tone down any clickbait type exaggerations.