Google Discover Analysis: Holiday Content Tips9. November 2023
‘Tis the season for a holiday content strategy. Here at Trisolute Software, we used our award-winning News Dashboard to analyze Google Discover data from the 2022 holiday season to offer news publishers insights and actionable tips on which types of holiday content perform best on the popular platform.
Our News Dashboard analysis reviewed the top-performing Thanksgiving and Christmas articles on Google Discover in 2022 for 7 major US news publishers. All personally identifying information has been stripped, with a focus on which categories performed the best during the holiday season period. Note: Categories were assigned by Trisolute solely for descriptive purposes and are not intended to represent Google categories or entities.
The analysis focuses on impressions and clicks, to highlight topics in which Google considered important to make visible on Discover along with the topics which drove engagement for Discover users.
General tips for Thanksgiving and Christmas:
Use Google Trends to stay on top of trending holiday topics that will perform well on Discover. Dig deeper by analyzing breakout search results from relevant Google Trends categories (such as Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink, Shopping, Sports and Travel) and search options: Web Search, Image Search, News Search, Google Shopping.
Check out Google Maps trends for holiday traveling, shopping and more, a post on Google’s blog that uses Google Maps data to break down the best time to travel, shop and run errands during the holiday season.
For current Trisolute News Dashboard users, refer to this blog post about finding new topics to discover how to use the tool’s content discovery features.
Don’t overlook the influence of Google’s Search Generative Experience and how Google Discover’s algorithm has evolved over the past year.
It’s no surprise that food is a dominant theme around the Thanksgiving holiday period. Recipes and food safety were the top performers on Discover for Thanksgiving 2022. Focus on last-minute cooking tips, food handling advice, accommodating special diets, etc. Review and refresh, if necessary, any existing Thanksgiving explainer and evergreen content, as Google Discover features a mix of evergreen and current news topics.
Travel and Weather:
Thanksgiving is also a big travel period, and with that comes a keen search interest in weather. In 2022, post-Thanksgiving storms caused extensive travel delays. While weather forecasts are typically more locally focused, from a Discover perspective, multiple publishers had success covering the storm systems threatening Thanksgiving travel across the US. While local weather coverage will always be of utmost importance, be prepared to go broader in scope with weather content and keep an eye on severe weather impacting major transportation hubs. If your local coverage area includes a major transportation hub, make sure you have content that will be useful to both locals and holiday travelers.
Consider a live blog for holiday travel or weather if developments warrant. There may be less competition in the live blog space as newsroom staffing tends to be thin during the holidays so if you can spare a producer to maintain a live blog it may be to your Discover and overall search visibility advantage. Live blogs on weather and travel delays were a success for at least one publisher in our Discover analysis.
What about Black Friday? Cyber Monday outperformed in impressions and clicks for this analysis. News publishers who have built up a large library of product reviews and shopping guides should review and make sure they are current and optimized ahead of the holiday shopping season. A review of mobile and desktop visibility data suggests that focusing content around big name retailers (Amazon, Walmart, etc.) and popular items (TVs, laptops, etc.) continue to be a winning combination for Google SERP rankings. That approach is a solid one for Discover as well.
For local news sites, consider highlighting holiday shopping events in your area featuring local businesses such as markets or festivals. If your publication participates in Google News Showcase, keep in mind that stories selected for Showcase can also appear on Discover.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade dominated in the entertainment category for Thanksgiving on Google Discover in our analysis.
Family matters, such as tips on getting along with relatives, performed well on Discover in 2022. Similar topics can include accommodating dietary restrictions during the holidays, discussing politics at the dinner table, etc. Personal essays performed well in this category on Discover. These topics are captured in the Lifestyle category on the charts.
Familiar holiday classics will continue to do well, but also be aware of new blockbusters and nontraditional titles that trend in search during the holiday season. In 2022, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and Netflix’s “The Witcher” both performed well on Discover.
Royal family holiday content received a lot of impressions on Discover in 2022, but not as many clicks. To increase the click through rate, keep in mind that Discover is more like a social-search hybrid product and your content strategy should reflect that. Headlines that are more playful, employ calls to action, or are provocative without being clickbait in nature tend to do well on Discover.
Food is not as big of a performer during the Christmas season as it is during Thanksgiving on Discover, according to our 2022 analysis. News sites who have a large following around food news and recipes may leverage their existing content for Discover by building topical pages such as top Christmas cookie recipes, nontraditional Christmas dinner ideas, etc. that include links to individual recipes. Short how-to videos could also be useful in optimizing this content for Discover.
Ensure that content for other holidays during this time period, such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, is optimized for Discover. Highlighting local celebrations and traditions, along with explainers on holiday origins, works well on Discover.
You may have noticed the slew of recent Google updates and their impacts upon your site’s visibility on Discover and the SERPs. Get ready for potentially more updates during the holiday season. According to Google’s Gary Illyes, “The thing about not doing updates around major holidays is an old thing. The problem with that is that around that time, everyone and my grandmother will try to manipulate search results.” Thanks to Marie Haynes for pointing this out. Follow the Trisolute News Dashboard blog for the latest news SEO insights.
Not yet part of the Trisolute News Dashboard family? Request your FREE demo today and find out how your articles rank on Google Discover, Google News and the SERPs!