Google’s In Depth Articles:Can you leverage from the change?

Written by Pooja Mehra
on October 16, 2013

At a time when short, punchy content, laden with crispy one liners (private only to copywriters earlier) was charming the readers, boosting their web appetite; Google turned over anew leaf on 6thAug 2013.

Away from all the earlier modifications to bring out search results, this time Google unearthed in-depth articles which it felt users were feeling deprived of. These in-depth article results are restricted to only broader topics and themes for now and available only on (i.e., only in the U.S, not in any other country).

How Search Engines changed !

The first week saw a slew of good quality content from top brands and publishers making it to the 1st page of the searches. We ran a small experiment on five keywords.

KEYWORDS  In Depth Articles
1)     Microsoft Vanity Fair, The Verge, Business Week
2)     New York, ,The New York Times
3)     Family Planning The Daily Beast, The New York Times,Mother Jones
4)     Pyramids BBC, Discover Magazine,
5)     Advertising Fast Company, The Economist, Harvard Business Review

Three in depth articles emerged at the bottom of every search page under the heading-In-Depth Articles. All of them shared the same attributes. Most were news publications, which meant they were original, non-commercial, thoughtful and thoroughly researched. Besides, most of the content was considerably elaborate i.e., no less than 2000 words.

It is the 10th search result, listed after the 9th organic result (apart from the news).

Even though Google had declared that the results would also contain good articles from lesser known blogs and publishers, it’s mostly the big names ruling the roost until now.

What’s in store for Businesses?

Put the word ‘Business’ in the search field, you’d get three In-depth articles

In-depth articles

The results aren’t too inspiring. For someone who really doesn’t know the meaning of the term, the results may lead him/her into multiple directions.

If you refine the search and make it- ‘Business Strategy or ‘Business Plan’, there are no In-depth articles. Does that mean none exists on these topics? Of course not!

One guess could be that Google’s semantic search for broader terms is supposed to work this way only. Since the person searching does not point in a specific direction, Google takes it upon itself and gives a direction to the search. It might also mean that something is underway.

So, if you’re writing elaborate articles as a part of your content marketing strategy, it’s nothing to be discouraged of. Who knows in time, In-depth articles may be available for long tail keywords too.

You can still take a shot! Here’s how

In months or a couple of years from now, it is going to become a very competitive spot.

Sure a lot will depend on your Page Rank and Brand name, but even if you are a smaller publication, a powerful in-depth content can showcase your prowess in the field of content generation.

The main qualifier for the game seems to be the content length (no less than 2,000 words). Secondly, while you follow the usual rules of engagement, try to include a strong Schema markup into your plan.

The markup assists Google in comprehending the elements of your page and pick out particular elements to use in‘Search Engine Result Pages’ or on other platforms like G+.

In fact, Google itself suggests using the following to better your prospects for the coveted position-

  • Headline
  • AlternativeHeadline
  • Image (should be crawlable)
  • Description
  • DatePublished
  • ArticleBody 

Not just good content, but TimelessContent

The hoopla around content generation isn’t a cliché yet, but has definitely gotten very close to it. However, the key to entering the In-depth article slot is timeless, effective storytelling.

Your aim should be to create content that has a long life, that can stay relevant till at least a couple of years.

Compared  to news based or  trend based content, this kind of content is a risk free endeavor. So, even if you miss the slot on Google search page, it can still be beneficial to get you quality traffic over time.

Support your created content with the omnipresent Google suggestion tool, Adwords to see what terms are being searched for. Also, Google trends will help you get acquainted with some hot topics.

Besides, you can always gauge which post of yours is gaining how much popularity on Google Analytics.

Final Thoughts

In 2012, Google had attempted a low-key experiment to shape the future of searches. It was christened the Daily Information Need Study and was centered on digging out information that mostly went ‘unGoogled’.

It was found out that at least ten percent of people wanted more than just fast info. This laid the foundation of including In-depth articles in searches.

Currently, around 60% of results in In-depth articles are 6 months to 2 years old, indicating that Google is favoring those who can withstand the test of time.

Our final tip-create great content and length does affect rankings and conversions. Think like a philanthropist; disseminating good information won’t harm you.

Your readers are ubiquitous. And you have a duty towards them. They’ll be there before your brand becomes a Brand and after it.

It’s all connected!

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