Online search has seen a rapid course of development over the past few years, from simply being a platform that provides direct search results to its users, to provide users with opportunities to discover beyond the queries they search for. Discovery is crucial for today’s search experience, especially with AI, user intent, and neural matching becoming crucial elements in helping Google understand how and why users conduct their search.
This level of understanding continues to grow as search technology evolves, and doing our part to optimize our content and websites to provide users with more ways to discover content will only make the search experience even more expansive. Optimizing for user discovery is just as crucial as optimizing for search, and here are the best ways to utilize it to boost your SEO.
Search and Discovery
Optimizing for search and discovery require varying strategies in order for it to be effective. Search is more straightforward, as the goal is to provide specific information based on the search query. Discovery, on the other hand, provides suggestions and related terms to that same query. However, discovery is not just providing suggestions, but also provide the first step into the user’s search journey.
To understand how user discovery works, it is important to learn about some of Google’s more recent new features, such as Neural Matching and Activity Cards.
Neural Matching is perhaps the most notable of these new features, as it is an algorithm that utilizes Google’s AI technology to understand and analyze language in order to generate better and more diverse search results. This helps the search engine provide a response to concepts that it once had a more challenging time to understand and generate a more natural and intelligent answer.
This can work at times when, for example, you are looking for a name or title of a video game or famous figure that you only have a brief description of. While there are some specific queries that Google might not be able to understand yet, the fact that this technology is present makes user discovery optimization possible.
Activity Cards, on the other hand, provide users with a list of their previous search queries, while providing recommendations based on the same query. These recommendations can include additional information or even new topics that you might want to know more about. This simple feature enhances the user’s search experience by taking into account previous search queries and providing options that help with User Discovery.
Optimizing for User Discovery
Search discovery focuses on related concepts and recommendations that help establish a user’s search journey. Which is why having the right strategy would be able to help you utilize it and be able to provide another way for users to be able to search for your website and content. Here are some effective strategies that you can use to help establish your user discovery experience.
Use Structured Data
Structured Data helps annotate the information within a website in order for search engines to understand them better. A notable type of structured data is JSON-LD, which is a form of schema that is preferred by Google. Applying JSON-LD to your website is simple, as you would only need to copy and paste the right inputs into your website’s code. Adding Structured Data not only makes it easier for search engines to understand the content of your website, but also optimize the look of your search snippets.
Adding Structured Data is another process in of itself, as the application can be done in different forms. For JSON-LD, all you have to do is to add the right tags for each part of your website and send the data to the Google Structured Data Tool for verification.
Analyze related Search Journeys
One of the best ways to optimize your search journeys is by experiencing one yourself. This allows you to take a look at how Google connects related concepts and lead you to different types of content based on a simple search query. This allows you to take a look at recurring trends and patterns that help make User Discovery a diverse experience.
To try this out, you can enter a simple search query, and see how they connect concepts to each other. This allows you to see how Google understands search queries and see how you can find a way for users to discover your content. Optimizing your content for the search journey allows you to be seen beyond the search results and allow your webpage to become an authoritative entity recognized by Google.
Understand User Intent
User Intent provides you with the answer to how, what, where, why, and when people conduct search queries and allows you to understand the process behind it. User intent allows you to optimize search results by going beyond traditional search methods and using keywords, phrases, and concepts that allow users to be able to discover you more naturally.
Using keyword research tools allows you to understand user intent well, which can bode well when it comes to utilizing User Discovery for your search. Additionally, user-centric content is crucial, as it can be the perfect set-up to a user’s search journey, allowing users to discover your content more often than not. For the best tools, you can use the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer or the Mangools KWFinder, which provides you with search metrics and SERP data, along with related search queries and recommendations.
As Google continues to improve its search algorithms and AI technology, the more it can understand how users search. Google is not only becoming a better search engine, but it is also becoming a discovery engine, which not only provides search results from direct queries but also presents opportunities to explore beyond it.