Google is always playing around with the layout and segmentation of their Search Engine Results Page, experimenting with new ways to deliver valuable results to their users. They recently announced they will be rolling out their newest addition to the SERPs: in-depth articles. This offset box of results will contain articles that provide in-depth information on fairly broad topics.
How can publishers get their content to display in this new in-depth section? Google provides some answers:
- Use Schema.org Article markup to provide metadata that the crawlers can use to determine your article’s content.
- Use authorship markup so that Google can weigh the relevance and authority of certain authors and experts across the web.
- Use proper pagination to allow the crawlers to see the length of your article.
- Use proper canonicalization.
- Use logos to enhance authority.
- If a site requires a subscription or registration to view articles, the crawlers cannot access this. One workaround is First Click Free, which allows one click before further registration is required, also allowing access to the crawlers.
All of this suggests that Google will be awarding the coveted spots to articles that are relevant to the search query, have a substantial length, and have an authoritative author or company association. Unfortunately for lesser known publishers, the authority may be the hardest to achieve. David Waterman, Director of SEO at The Search Agency, weighs in on the likely realities:
“One thing to keep in mind is that the launch of Google In-depth Articles is NOT a call to write 5,000 word articles all marked up with authorship and schema.org tags. More content does NOT guarantee more rankings. Google will undoubtedly award In-depth Article listings to those websites that are proven authorities on specific topics or highly trusted sources of data. If you can’t get your website accepted to Google News, you probably won’t show up in Google In-depth Articles.”
Ultimately, it will be difficult for small publishers to force themselves into the “in-depth” results simply by using clever optimization tactics. The winners of this new update will likely be big name publishers with longstanding reputations for authoritative, high-quality content.