Google In-Depth Articles: How to Rank for Them In Google Search Results

Google In-Depth Articles: How to Rank for Them In Google Search Results

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To understand a broad topic, sometimes you need more than a quick answer. That’s why Google introduced new in-depth articles in their search results.

Now, when you’re searching on Google for a person or organization name, or other broad topic, you might find a block of search results labeled “In-depth articles.”

These results are meant to provide in-depth content that will remain relevant for months or even years after publication – the opposite of Google Freshness , in other words.

Let’s take a closer look at what in-depth articles on Google are, how they work, and how whether you can put them to work on your site.

Google Announced In-Depth Articles

The original announcement is just that: an announcement without much explanation:

Today (August 6,2013) we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.

These results are ranked algorithmically based on many signals that look for high-quality, in-depth content. You can help our algorithms understand your pages better by following these recommendations:

How to Optimize your site for the “In-depth articles”

A little more background on what Google recommends we do to “help their algorithms understand our pages better“.

Schema.org Article markup

When you write a blog post, it contains metadata.

Metadata is a set of data that describes and gives information about other data.

Generally, it’s information we add to our posts specifically for the search engines to understand our content better.

The best examples of metadata are such on-page SEO elements like page title and description – something that our readers don’t see on page when reading our blogs, but rather see in search engine results:

google indepth metadata in search

Here’s what search results with and without markup look like (which one are you more likely to click on?):

recipe schema markup

For in-depth articles feature, Google is looking for certain aspects of the schema.org Article markup, notably the following attributes:

  • headline
  • alternativeHeadline
  • image (note: the image must be crawlable and indexable)
  • description
  • datePublished
  • articleBody

You can learn just about everything you need to about Schema metadata markup in this post.

Authorship markup

Authorship markup helps Google algorithms to find and present relevant authors and experts in Google search results.

Note HELPS. Present time. Might be a good indicator Google Author Rank is here. Now.

Learn more about Google Authorship and Author Rank.

Sign up for Google Authorship here.

Pagination and canonicalization

Pagination is usually not an issue for smaller non e-commerce sites.

And you should definitely learn more about canonicalization; here’s my non-techy post about it:

As an additional, a bit techy, but very interesting reading, take a look at AJ Kohn’s Crawl Optimization.

Logos

A logo is a great way help users recognize the source of an article with a quick glance. As a webmaster, there are two ways you can give Google a hint about which logo to use for your website:

  1. Create a Google+ Page and link it to your website. Choose an official logo or icon as the default image.
  2. Use organization markup to specify your logo.

Note that it may take some time for logo changes to be reflected in search results.

To learn more about schema markups, take a look at this Schema FAQ from Google (written in a very accessible way).

Important Points to Understand about In-Depth Articles

1. Sounds like in-depth articles on Google will only be available for broad searches.

What’s a broad search? The examples I’ve seen are: 

  • censorship,
  • stem cell research,
  • happiness,
  • love,
  • lego
  • capital punishment – to name  a few.

For those of you curious about all things marketing, “marketing” is indeed one of the searches that provides in-depth articles results.

2. In-depth articles are displayed on the first page of Google as result #10; they are usually bundled in sets of 3.

3. They are being rolled out on google.com in English to start.

4. In-depth results can range from blog posts that appeared recently to news articles that are nearly a decade old.

5. In-depth articles on Google are about publishers (rel=publisher) vs authors (rel=author).

6. And, by the way, what kind of article would be considered “in-depth“.

I think the best guide to stick with is Neil Patel’s

How Content Length Affects Rankings and Conversions

How to Implement Schema.org Article Markup on Your Site

And here comes the hard part: the practical side of doing article markup on your posts.

Assuming that you truly believe you have what it takes to write the kind of definitive guides that might compete with publishing giants or Google will give “the little guy” a fighting chance to rank in their in-depth articles, how do you actually add the article markup to your posts?

1. There are no WordPress plugins to do it.

So far, I couldn’t find a single plugin that includes the Article function.

UPDATE: I did find the single best source to implement the entire set of Schema markups, plus markup for Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Cards, Google+ Interactive posts, and more.

Read more about it:

Schema Markup: How to Make Your Content More Clickable and Shareable

WP Social SEO Booster

2. Google Data Highlighter helps some.

Data Highlighter from Google Webmasters Tools is a tool for teaching Google about the pattern of structured data on your website.

You simply use Data Highlighter to tag the data fields on your site with a mouse. Then Google can present your data more attractively — and in new ways — in search results and in other products such as the Google Knowledge Graph.

And even though their article markup falls a bit short of schema.org/article, it’s still the simples and might even be the best article markup tool we’ve got.

Here’s a quick walkthrough:

  1. On the Webmaster Tools home page, click the site you want to mark up.
  2. On the Dashboard, click Search Appearance.
  3. Click Data Highlighter.
  4. Identify the page:
    1. Click Start Highlighting.
    2. Enter the page’s URL.
    3. Select a type of data to extract from the page.
    4. Click Tag just this page or This page and others like it.
    5. Click OK.
  5. Teach Data Highlighter how the page displays data by tagging information:
    1. On the Tagger page, use the mouse to select an image or piece of text.
    2. From the pop-up menu that displays after you make your selection, click the type of data that you selected. For example, click Title.
    3. Continue selecting and clicking the type for all required data and any optional data that is available. Helpful hints.
    4. Confirm the tagging by viewing the data in the My Data Items column. If the alert icon displays, click the data next to the icon. Then review the tagging and do one of the following:
      • If the tagging is incorrect, click the X next to the data. Then re-tag the data.
      • If the tagging is correct, click the alert icon itself and select Clear warning.
    5. Click Publish.

    Data Highlighter automatically publishes the page. The next time Google crawls the page, the structured data in your page set will display on the structured data page. It might take some time for the data to appear as rich snippets, in the Google Knowledge Graph, or in other Google products. If rich snippets aren’t appearing for your site, see possible reasons why.

3. Google Structured Data Markup Helper

Found another tool by Google – Structured Data Markup Helper; similar to Data Highlighter, very easy to use, but it does require you to copy and paste HTML code in your post after it generates it.

Does make a lot of sense though, so check it out.

google data markup helper

Resources to Do General Schema Markup

I am sure it’s just a matter of time before someone creates a plugin to add article markup or updates an existing one with this function.

Until then, here are my suggestions to implement other types of Schema markups:

Off Site:

If you’d rather not install another WP plugin or aren’t using WordPress at all, I suggest using Schema Creator by Raven Tools.

schema creator raven tools

The formats currently supported: Person, Product, Event, Organization, Movie, Book, and Review.

You can also read this excellent post on generating rich snippets (Google’s term for schema markups) at SEOGadget:

WordPress Schema Plugins

If installing a WP plugin is no problem, then I suggest:

Schema Creator by Raven

Uses the same Schema generator mentioned above, just wrapped in the conveniency of doing it directly from your blog.

schema ravens plugin markup

WP Social SEO Booster

This one is definitely my favorite with extensive markup options.

wp social schema markup

Their Pro version does even more; that’s what I’ll be using at Traffic Generation Café after my new Genesis design comes live (hopefully this week – you are looking at it!).

wpsocial seo booster schema markup plugin

WP Reviews

WP ReviewsMost bloggers make money through affiliate sales. That’s why it’s so extremely important for us to highlight the reviews of products we market the best we can.

Hands down the best plugin for that is WP Reviews from Hesham Zebida (FamousBloggers.net).

It’ll do all the necessary markups to show off your reviews in the search engines, as well as style your reviews on your blog to sell.

Interesting Discussions on In-Depth Articles on Google

I love what +Mark Traphagen said in one of the comments on his Google In-Depth Article Search Results: How to Qualify Your Content (worth reading the whole discussion):

We have to face the reality that Google doesn’t care about “surfacing the little guy” or “reduced access to legacy content.” Their business model is built upon getting something useful to the searcher withing the top few results or ads. They may say they want to rank the “best,” but at the end of the day, how can they even successfully judge that, and if users are happy with what they are getting in the top few positions, then it works for Google.

So….what can the “little guy” do? It’s hard, but not hopeless. I think things like markup and authorship and social actually give the “little guy” who’s willing to put in the work a fighting chance he never had before in the history of marketing.

And my favorite quote about in-depth articles so far appeared on WebmasterWorld Forum:

- My visitors do not see schema markup
– My visitors do not see authorship markup
– My visitors do not see rel next and rel prev tags
– My visitors see the logo just fine
– I provide the best content I can

I guess 1 out of 5 isn’t bad, if you’re a visitor.

In-Depth Articles Marketing Takeaway

Might you ever see your blog listed in in-depth articles on Google?

According to Google’s Inside Search blog:

In addition to well-known publishers, you’ll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs.

I am yet to see any.

However, I am very excited about investing in thoughtful in-depth content that will remain relevant for months or even years after publication – for my incredible Traffic Generation Café readers, not for Google.

 

traffic generation cafe in-depth articles on Google

traffic generation cafe comment below

Google+ Comments

45 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. chris

    Hey Anna, do you know how to set up pagination inside wordpress. I know they say to add..

    to the header but not sure how to do this on individual posts

    thanks

    chris

    • Ana Hoffman

      If I understand you correctly, you want to break up a post into two or more pages, right, Chris?

      If so, use this code:

      • chris

        Hi Anna, my bad, i didn’t specify what i was needing. it comes from this page

        support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1663744

        n the section of the first page (example . com/article-part1), add a link tag pointing to the next page in the sequence, like this:

        Because this is the first URL in the sequence, there’s no need to add markup for rel=”prev”.

        its also talking about using the rel = prev code but says to enter into the head section of the page and thats my confusion for WordPress.

        And when i did the it created duplicate title and meta description issues inside GWT so i just broke up the long articles into their own articles so i could write my own titles and descriptions. i keep reading to use this next page tag but havent heard how to get around the dupe title issue with it so thats why i was interested in these 2 new codes Google is talking about to show the relation to a multipart article

        thank you

        chris

          • Chris

            HI Ana,

            That did help with one of my pagination issues, though I should have known the canonical with Yoast seo plugin, I only see it about every day :)

            I also did a test to see if this will take away the dupe title and metatag issue i had before using pagination with the next page code.

            now the one thing i did not see that either one did is to put the rel=”prev” or rel=”next ” so Google knows this is part of the series. I also read the article you referenced but he didnt talk about how to use this in WordPress. all the instructions state to put this in the section and not sure how to do that in worpdress.

            thanks again!
            chris

            • Ana Hoffman

              I don’t think you really need to add “prev” or “next”, Chris; that’s not the only way to do it. The method I suggested breaks down your pages for the readers, but Google still knows that the first page is the primary and won’t index other pages, thus you won’t have dupe content issues.

              I think you are over-thinking this. lol

  2. Thank you for this very informative post. I was looking for the best resources to read about the latest Google update which in this case is in-depth articles and found everything I needed to learn here. Incidentally, your post is also used as reference by other sites and that is cool.

    Hopefully next time you can write a post about the disadvantages of writing in-depth articles if there be any you can think of or experience. I’m sure there are also disadvantages to it just like other algo updates.

    Many thanks and more power.

    • Ana Hoffman

      You are so very welcome, Jaime, and no, so far I haven’t found any downsides to writing in-depth posts other than my readers’ diminishing attention span. lol

  3. A very good article on Google in-depth. When I first read about in-depth update I was searching for an article like this which can explain in-depth about this new concept. I am looking forward on more articles about this topic from you. Thanks a lot for this article.

  4. Hi Ana,

    You must be really pleased with your new webhost and the redesign Ian did. Both are simply marvelous!! Even the Facebook like box is loading lightning fast. Congratulations Ana!!

    And this post is fantastic too. :)

  5. Great overview, Ana, very thorough and in-depth. I’ve been messing recently with various markup plugins (Twiitercards, Open Graph, etc), but never seem to work them out (even following the developer’s FAQs). For example, I switched on WP Social SEO last night, tried to fill out the Facebook one, and got lost, so deactivated.

    Know of any really good, simple walkthroughs that explains things in depth for a luddite like me? :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      Good news, Danny: you are talking to the right blogger who’ll do all the legwork for you, do a tutorial on how to set up those things, and publish it next week.

  6. Came across this new in depth article search some days ago. Google is really providing the best services to its user. Thanks for giving all the tips. I will surely take care of them from now.

  7. Another Awesome post Ana,
    I just Installed the WP Social SEO booster to see if it can help my blog.
    I am getting tired of Google and all their crazy updates, its just unnecessary, I am very sure that very soon, some SEOrs will be gaming the system.
    BTW, did you read the latest posts on Viperchill.com by Glen

    • Ana Hoffman

      They are in the business to serve searchers the best results they can, Joseph, and not to help us help them serve OUR results. :)

      Yes, I saw the post. It’s a bit of a rant, but it has a point – there are certainly anomalies in rankings that go against the grain of what we think we know about rankings.

  8. Well at least Google makes sure we are not getting bored. Always something new to learn, and Ana there to lead us on the right path!! thanks Ana. Not sure if I am ready to tackle this one yet, it seems a bit new and maybe not yet worth my time. But thanks for the in-depth coverage. Much appreciated.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Very true, Google does know how to make the news. lol

      I think waiting is not a bad idea; at least, until there’s an easier solution.

  9. Great Article Ana!

    It was definitely very informative and in-depth. This information sounds all “nice nice” in theory. But I very skeptical on how it actually plays out in the wild. All Google’s actions of late clearly stamp out the little guy and quality bloggers in their search results. They are clearly favoring big brands even if the smaller guys have some great content as well. Ultimately it’s their game and their rules. That’s why I’m focusing less on SEO these days and more on content marketing and relationship building to get the visibility.

    But again I’m interested in seeing how this really plays out for the little guy.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I know what you mean, Eddy.

      However, you can do nothing and you’ll get no results or you can do something and might get some. That simple.

      • Well said Anna! I would never advocate taking no action. I’m just arguing I wouldn’t focus so much of my attention on what Google is doing. The great thing about all these random changes that Google makes is that it’s frustrating and it forces you to think outside the box again. Before Google we as internet marketers were a lot more creative when it came to getting traffic. I definitely think we need to return to that and situations like this just further validate this. But I welcome any changes that give the little guy some visibility.

        • Ana Hoffman

          Have you ever heard a saying (it’s from the Bible actually) “iron sharpens iron”, Eddy?

          Google with all its changes makes us better business people and better bloggers; “sharpens” our understanding of our readers and the marketing world around us.

  10. Hi Anna,

    Speaking of “canonicalization” I find that your blog has two rel=canonical tags in the , once added by wordpress and another by Yoast’s SEO plugin.
    Remove the first one by adding the following line of code to your theme’s functions.php

    remove_action( ‘wp_head’, ‘rel_canonical’ );

    You may also find an option in the SEO plugin’s control panel to disable it without adding the above code.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Thanks for letting me know, Jesin.

      I don’t really have Yoast; just activated it to see the options.

      • I’m not sure about that. I don’t fully know what WP Social Booster does.

        It’s possible that the new frameworks means you don’t need it, but you would have to double check.

        I’m definitely not an expert with Schema.

            • Joseph Adediji

              Okay Ana,
              Let me know if its a go [if you are buying], BTW, I sent them a mail to ask if it supports the Schema “Article” Markup and in their reply, they said it does; that the plugin automatically adds the markup to all post :-D

              • Hey everyone,

                I am the owner of WPSocial.com and the creator of the WP Social SEO Booster Pro plugin. I can tell you that I use Genesis myself on a few sites and have Version 2.0 installed. While they support the Schema.org markup, they do not have what our plugin has and that is the ability to use almost all of Google’s currently supported Rich Snippet Microdata from Schema.org. Not just the “Article” attribute.

                The plugin also provides Authorship and Publisher status integration for not just Google, but it supports Facebook’s new Authorship and Publisher setup as well. We provide full Open Graph support for Facebook, Itemprop for Google, Twitter Card integration, Pinterest Rich Pins support, and Google Plus Interactive Posts.

                We have just added Image Sitemaps since Yoast’s plugin does not (only attachment sitemaps) and KML/ GEO sitemaps for Local Businesses, plus Facebook Local Open Graph support.

                I invite you to test your site’s Social Optimization with and without our plugin setup on your site by using the free test tool at Knowem here: http://smo.knowem.com

                Mike

                • Ana Hoffman

                  Thanks so much for coming by, Mike.

                  I’ve been testing WP Social SEO Booster over the weekend (the free version for now) and loved it so far. I am in the process of writing a more in-depth post about it.

              • Ana Hoffman

                I can confirm what Mike said.

                Yes, the plugin gets two thumbs up from me and I am writing a detailed review about it to be published tomorrow (Tuesday).

  11. Hi Ana,

    What a sigh of relief! In-depth articles, which means I AM on the right track because ALL my articles do reach great lengths and someone one wonders if they are too long, or just alright! So, now Google does approve of them, provided of course you have something good to share with your readers, isn’t it?

    Ah…is this something new that came up, which also means that we need to do this with all our posts? I did see the video where you mentioned that you could choose the former option if it’s to work for all the articles, or similar articles.

    Thank you SO much for letting us know about yet another important update, which I don’t think I’d have ever known, or perhaps got to know of a little later. :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      Of course, Google always like longer content and now it’s showing it by featured in-depth articles even further, Harleena.

      For now, I’d do Data Highlighter markup for sure until a better tool comes along.

  12. Great explanation of new Google in-depth articles. I also liked your video tutorial.

    Just waiting to see how Google’s in-depth articles works on search result and what impact will bloggers face. Hoping for good results.