Google have been testing In-depth articles in the US for over a month now. They are content rich articles that are given priority in the search engines for generic search terms. This has now been launched in the US, but I haven’t seen any as yet in the UK.
They have been designed by Pandu Nayak, the Google engineer behind the Panda updates that first hit our searches in February 2011. Nayak really focuses on ensuring there is quality content being indexed by Google and this change only strengthens that mission.
Google say this change will affect around 10% of search queries and will help with the indexing of content for broader topics. Since the Panda algorithm updates there has been a noticeable change in the types of websites that are indexed for generic search terms.
For example, if you Google “SEO” you will see a lot of generic and informational websites now appearing, whereas 2 years ago this search term was littered with SEO Companies. Google may have dropped them purely because of over optimisation of links which has been a big problem for big agencies in the last 12 months, or it is likely that these SEO companies just aren’t the most relevant sites for a generic search like “SEO”. I know from reviewing stats for this search term that it generated a fair few enquiries, however the conversion rate was very low. The reason being it is searched by people looking for information about SEO and how to do it, more so than by people looking for an SEO company to outsource to.
Therefore I think in-depth articles will be of real benefit to the search results. Hopefully it will also give a platform for smaller websites and companies to get content indexed for generic searches and hope that it doesn’t give pure weighting to higher authority websites like the Guardian and Huffington Post. If it doesn’t then it may be a case that this only strengthens exposure on search engines for newspaper and contextual based websites as opposed to retailers and businesses making their good content more visible.
In order to get your articles indexed in this new in-depth articles section, Google have said you need to use Schema article markup aswell as provide authorship markup. One thing that may be overlooked by businesses is that articles needs to be substantially longer than the 250 to 1000 word blogs being done on websites, I would suggest articles to be produced in excess of 2000 words.