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When you’ve reviewed the SEO metrics for your website, you’ve probably realized that referral traffic from Google Discover often fluctuates.

John Mueller, who is a Search Advocate for Google, recently shared some helpful insights on this during a Google Search Central SEO Hangout that took place on February 5th.

What Is Google Discover

Before we get into the reasoning behind the fluctuations in referral traffic from Google Discover, let’s take a moment to dive into what Discover is and what it means for physicians.

Putting it simply, Google Discover is kind of like social media, but in search results.

google discover
photo credit: Google

Google attempts to show the information they think is helpful and relevant to the user based on what their algorithms think may match their interest.

So if someone has been searching for a particular health-related issue, more articles may begin showing up on their Google home page without them actually searching.

How to Get Content to Appear in Google Discover

Anytime content is indexed by Google, it is automatically eligible to appear in Discover (provided it meets their content policies).

Below are a few things that help physician content appear in Google Discover:

  • Page titles that capture the overall picture of the content.
  • Avoid clickbait type headings.
  • Use compelling, high-res images.

Why Does Traffic From Google Discover Fluctuate?

Now that we’ve addressed some of the basics for Discover, it’s time to dive into the traffic fluctuation that is often seen. As you may have noticed, these fluctuations can be extreme, with a lot of traffic that shows up and suddenly goes away.

The answer lies in what Discover is: content that is shown unrelated to search. Because the traffic isn’t tied to any keyword search query, it can be totally erratic and not something that can be maintained consistently through technical SEO.

Here’s a quote from John Mueller that is key:

Our systems might think it makes sense to show this more in Discover, and then suddenly you get a lot of traffic from Discover. And then our algorithms might at some point say it doesn’t make sense to show it that much in Discover anymore, and then the traffic goes away.”

Below you can watch John’s full response:

View Referral Traffic From Discover as a Bonus

Because referral traffic from Discover can fluctuate so dramatically, the best approach is to view it as bonus traffic when you do get it.

Building your physician website on the solid foundations of local SEO is by far the best strategy to succeed.