If you've heard of both the terms, chances are you'll think they're very similar. But, before you make that assumption, let me tell you that there is a lot of difference between Google News and Google Discover and if you're a blogger or a publisher, then this difference is going to make a huge impact on how you optimize your content for either one of them. So, let's find out their points of disparity:
News v/s Discover
The first difference is in their founding years. Now, this is important because the older a feature, the more data is available for it. SEOs can tell you how to optimize for the one which has been around for a while.
Google News was in talks around 2002, though its beta version got fully launched in 2006. So, it is relatively old and a lot of content is available on the web if you wish to optimize for it.
Google Discover was renamed and re-conceptualized in 2018. It was known as Google Feed before that, which originated around 2016. But, please don't make the mistake of calling them the same, they're very different. Google Discover has totally revolutionized how queryless content appears.
2. Content Type
There are majorly three types of content which feature in both Google Discover and Google News:
News and Entertainment are self-explanatory. Evergreen content includes anything that is not time-sensitive but which has become relevant for you, as a user, right now. For example, if you're planning to start a blog, an article on the best web hosting services will be an evergreen piece of content, which has become relevant for you now.
Google News contains more of news and entertainment articles than it contains evergreen content. The first five posts of Google News are dedicated to the news briefing, followed by entertainment posts.
Google Discover, on the other hand, largely focuses on evergreen content, followed by entertainment stories. It keeps featuring news stories as well, but it tries to group them together as much as possible.
3. Content Format
Images, videos, text are the most commonly available formats in which content can be produced now-a-days.
Google News contains mostly text and image formats of content. All the posts which appear in the Google News Feed are blog posts with some exceptions including 'Full Coverage Stories' & other news pieces.
Google Discover gives a lot of importance to videos. Out of the 20-25 Discover Cards that appear on the Google App, at least 1-2 are always YouTube Videos of evergreen content. The other Discover Cards are majorly blog posts with image and text formats.
With more than 60% of the Google searches being on mobile devices, it has become important to evaluate which features are available on Mobile, Desktop or both.
Google News can be accessed both via a desktop as well as a mobile device. However, in order to use the mobile version, one needs to download the Google News app, which is often not preinstalled.
Google Discover is available only on mobile as of now. It can be accessed on the Google App, which is often preinstalled as well as on the Chrome Browser's Home Page.
5. Number of Posts
The number of posts that get featured determine the level of competition a publisher has to face in order to get the visibility using the feature.
Google News, on the mobile app, shows about 100 posts for you to scroll through. The competition to appear in the Google News Feed is primarily due to the news publishers.
Google Discover shows about 20-25 posts each on two pages, the second page opens if you click on the 'More Stories' option available at the end of the first page.
This is one of the biggest reasons why many of my posts get featured on Google News without making it to Google Discover. Till now, about 30+ posts out of 50+ featured on News made it to Google Discover.
Every post that gets featured has an entity/topic around which it revolves. Getting to know the topic for which the post has appeared can help you plan which post to create next basis the competition.
Google News doesn't provide a way to identify that topic or entity. Your best guess is in the basis of the heading, description and content of the post that gets featured.
Google Discover, on the other hand, has this beautiful feature which lets you see the topic under which the post has appeared. You can see the topic by clicking on the three dots on the bottom right corner.
Freshness is a factor which gets determined basis when the post was published.
Google News gives a lot of importance to freshness. I've never seen any of my older blog posts appear in Google News. This is probably because the evergreen content is very limited on News.
Google Discover gives an extraordinary chance for your older posts to appear in its feed. This is because something that was posted earlier might have now become relevant for the readers. The older posts come under a label called 'In case you missed it'.
Fun Fact: Some of my posts get re-featured on Discover every month as 'In case you missed it'.
8. Duration of Stay
Getting your post featured on either of them is one thing, but for how long do the posts stay on these platforms will help you determine how frequently can the next post get featured.
Google News welcomes the posts but maybe due to the freshness criteria, the posts often don't last long. Some posts, which also make it to Discover enjoy a long duration of stay up to 2-3 days.
Google Discover generally features posts for 2-3 days minimum. Majority of my posts stay for 3 days, I've even seen some posts remain for 7 days, with regular comebacks from the second page to the first page.
The most important goal for any publisher is to get more traffic from either of the platforms.
Google News will not help you get a lot of traffic unless you're an established news publisher, primarily due to the tough competition, the requirement to download the app & the nature of content that gets featured.
Google Discover, on the other hand, is a gold mine for new publishers like myself. I got 2M+ impressions and 100K+ clicks from Google Discover on my blog in less than 5 months.
Fun Fact: Google Discover also brings in more International Traffic to your blog than Google News.
Of course, what use is the traffic if you can't track it? The tools to track and analyze the traffic coming from both the platforms differ.
Google News traffic can be tracked using the Google Analytics tool. The traffic will appear under the Referral source of traffic. For further details, you will have to deploy the secondary dimensions.
Google Discover traffic is primary analyzed using Google Search Console. It has a separate performance report in its name. But, if you wish to track the data using Google Analytics, there is a way around.
So, these were the 10 points of difference between Google News and Google Discover that can be of help to any blogger or publisher in order to optimize their content. If you have any follow-ups, you can comment or reach out to me.