Why You Shouldn’t Believe On Google Discover Traffic

John Mueller of Google outlines why Google Discover traffic should not be used as a primary source of traffic.

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Source: Searchenginejournal

Google’s John Mueller responded to a query regarding the disappearance of Discover traffic. Mueller outlined various reasons why Discover traffic may decline while warning against basing a business on it.

First, we want to know about,

What Is Google Discover?

If the Google Web & App Behavior is turned on, Google Discover is a content stream based on a user’s web and Google search activity. Google Discover displays a tailored list of items based on the interests of the user.

If users are looking for instructions on how to create a specific type of recipe, pages regarding that recipe will start trending in their Discover feed.

Because the feed is individualised, no one website will tend to dominate in Google Discover because so many individuals seek diverse things.

This is what contributes to Google Discover traffic’s irregular character.

Other reasons why Google Discover can’t be relied on for constant traffic are listed by Google’s John Mueller.

Website Experiences Collapse in Google Discover Traffic

The person who asked the inquiry explained that the site is a Brazilian news site with continuous Google Discover traffic. He’s curious as to why the flow of traffic has suddenly slowed to a trickle.

The individual described their condition as follows:

“We’re going through a huge drop in the delivery of our content through Google Discover.

…Google Discover is our main acquisition channel. But in the last ten days the delivery of our content through Discover has dropped to practically zero.

Our normal audience was kind of a thousand active users in real time. And now it’s about ninety or a hundred active users.

And we didn’t change anything technical or editorial. And our Search Console did not report any problem.”

The person who asked the inquiry went on to say that their Core Web Vitals and CrUX reports are all excellent, and their site is served using AMP.

He was puzzled as to why Discovery traffic would dwindle when everything was the same and nothing had changed.

Google Traffic Is Not Consistent

The person asked:

“What do you think could be happening with us?”

John Mueller began his response by stating that Google Discover Traffic is not a reliable source of traffic in general.

John Mueller answered:

“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 like 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.”

Why Does Google Discover Traffic Disappear?

Following that, John Mueller moved on to examine broader factors that could harm Google Discover traffic.


“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.”

Core Update Can Affect Google Discover Traffic

Mueller also mentioned that the core change might impair Google Discover traffic. He didn’t specify what part of a core update may affect traffic, but it’s possible that it’s anything to do with improvements to content-understanding algorithms. It could be a variety of things.

Mueller continued his answer:

“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 the large number of tips and ideas that you could focus on.”

Google Discover Content Guidelines

Mueller went on to say that Google’s Discover content rules have an impact on what types of material receive Google Discover traffic.

The recommendations, according to Mueller, had an impact on traffic:

“Another issue is that, with Discover, in particular, we have a set of content rules that we strive to follow algorithmically.

And, depending on the website, it may be that parts of these content restrictions apply to your website, making it borderline.

As an example… I don’t recall the exact content requirements, but I believe there is something about clickbait-y names or clickbait-y stuff in general, or adult-oriented content, for example.

And it’s possible that your website is on the fence in terms of how we judge it in that regard.

Then our algorithms may decide that, well, well, a substantial portion of this website is merely clickbait or one of the other categories listed in our content rules.

After that, we’ll be a lot more cautious about how we display the website in Discover.

So, even if I didn’t know your website, that’s where I’d go.

Think about the core upgrades on the one hand.

On the other side, we have content guidelines.

Finally, I would make sure that you don’t rely on Discover for your entire business because it is subject to rapid change.

And it’s something where the reasons for the adjustments aren’t always purely technical.”

Google Discover Is An Unreliable Source Of Traffic

The main point is that Google Discover is an extremely unreliable traffic source. As a result, it’s not a good foundation for a firm.

However, John Mueller outlined certain criteria to follow in order to increase your chances of receiving Google Discover traffic and prevent being booted out of the program.

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