You probably heard about Google‘s early August introduction of a new “in-depth articles” feature. Its purpose is to facilitate meaningful research by helping direct web surfers toward the most thorough reporting on a given search topic. Of course everyone would love for their clients’ work to show up in the “in-depth” box at the foot of the results page, so how can we create content with a better chance of appearing in this feed? Google’s general webmaster guidelines apply, with some tweaks. Here’s the new page.
First and foremost, the content needs to be well written. It also needs to be at least 2,000-2,500 words long to be considered. Long is good.
The current algorithm favors established publishers with big names, valuing existing readership over subjective quality of content. But Google also promises to feature “great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs”, and the algorithm should include more such content as it evolves. OK, what else?
Here are some more technical guidelines:
- Rather than focusing on keywords, make sure that the content in question touches on every angle of the topic at hand.
- Make sure that this topic is relevant now and will continue to be relevant into the future.
- Try to spin the subject: we have no idea how Google’s algorithm measures the unique qualities of a given article, but it reportedly favors “original content” that offers readers a different take on things.
Make sure to include all of Google’s suggested schema.org “article markup” elements like:
- A quality headline, alternate headline and content summary
- Date of publication so newer articles track higher in search results
- A clickable byline so results can be filtered and arranged by author
- A logo for the publication in which the content appears (this visual helps tie the content to the source)
- A Google+ page for said publication
- High-quality, scannable and searchable images in every piece of content. Even if you don’t include a pic within the post or article itself, make sure there’s a featured image. (Digiday takes this approach.)
- Page numbers if the piece requires them. (This emphasizes length and depth of content.)
There are already several blog posts out there about making the most of the new “in-depth” system (though we don’t think any of them would appear in the related feed). We suggest you read as many of them as you can.
We can’t imagine too many of our stories qualifying for the “in-depth” category, but we learned quite a few tips just writing this post.
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