Realizing the short attention time span & scanning habit of most online users, webmasters focus more on precise and crisp content backed up by more of infographics these days. But the announcement of Google in-depth articles in search in early August has opened a huge room for long & detailed content, guides, whitepapers and blogs.
It took me longer to post this as I wanted to fix my blog first.
The creator of Google’s Panda algorithm, Pandu Nayak says;
I’m happy to see people continue to invest in thoughtful in-depth content that will remain relevant for months or even years after publication. This is exactly what you’ll find in the new feature. In addition to well-known publishers, you’ll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs. If you’re a publisher or webmaster, check out our help center article and post on the Webmaster Central blog to learn more.
“Some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs” just grabbed all my attention. So, it just made me do a quick search on term “blogging” and result wasn’t really exciting. I saw only big and well known publications occupying 3 results.
Another finding was that Google may pick up in depth articles related to blogging without bothering the exact term. In the above screenshot, none of the in depth articles had “Blogging” term in title or description.
It still makes sense because the update is still rolling out and Google has 4 step criteria for in-depth article inclusion in search.
I immediately cross-checked my blog with the following 5 criteria to make sure of a healthy enough blog to qualify for this inclusion over time.
1- Schema.org Article markup
The term may look scary for non-techies but it is a system that Google uses to find and index your content. To optimize your content, you only need to provide attributes such as:
* Alternative Headline (SEO Title tag)
* Optimized Image with proper alt and title tag
* Date Published
* Article Body
I’m using wordpress and Article schema plugin came handy to me. If you are on genesis, their 2.0 update already includes simple to use article schema markup. For others, you can ask your developer to refer Schema.org Article Markup
2- Authorship markup
Google authorship ensures the content ownership & establishes your industry expertise as global author with more visibility & click-through-rate.
I had my Google authorship markup set up already and you can refer this step by step authorship guide to make it easier for you.
Update: This is no longer available.
3- Pagination and canonicalization
Longer articles and guides (2000+ words) can be split into multiple pages to improve the readability and user experience.
You can use pagination markup rel=next and rel=prev to help Google’s algorithms correctly identify the length & depth of your articles.
Make sure that canonicalization is done correctly, with a rel=canonical pointing at either each individual page, or a “view-all” page (and not to page 1 of a multi-part series).
Sites like about.org been doing from for ages and I personally never liked it. Where it may bug a user to keep clicking to read more, it seems to increase a user stay on the website and influence bounce rate (good for a site). To qualify however, the content needs to be too irresistible & valuable to quit before completion.
4- Logo Optimization
Logo gives an immediate recognition and ownership of an article. It’s very easy to optimize your logo for in-depth articles.
1. Create a Google+ Page and link it to your website.
2. Choose an official logo or icon as the default image.
3. Use organization markup to specify your logo.
You can place this code in
<a itemprop=”url” href=”http://www.sunitabiddu.com/”>Home</a>
<img itemprop=”logo” src=”http://www.sunitabiddu.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/sunlogo.png” />
P.S: Some wordpress themes coding may screw this step when using organization markup. You may need a coder’s help to get this done right.
Restricted Content & First Click Free
This option goes for those who offer subscription-based access to their website content, or if the users must register for content access. This would restrict search engines to index some of their most relevant content making it impossible to show in search results.
Implementing First Click Free is one easy way to make sure the content is accessible to Google’s search crawlers so it can be displayed in Google search results.
5- Awesome content that people need and would love
This is one first and foremost criteria to get included in in-depth articles though. You need to create content that is:
- Accurate & updated
- Thorough yet easy to understand (2000 words or more)
- Optimized and using competitive as well as natural search terms people are looking for
If you have been writing such content, you are already half way and get ready to be surprised with a Google in depth article inclusion one fine morning.