Optimizing Content for Google’s In-Depth Articles Feature h1
On stage at Search Marketing Expo (SMX West 2014), Google’s Matt Cutts confirmed that Google employs a form of “Author Rank,” and that it is specifically used to determine which articles to show in the in-depth articles section on SERPs. This question (which was raised during the “Meet the Search Engines” discussion panel on March 13, 2014) was prompted by a [tweet] made by Cutts on March 12:
In a video that was uploaded on Google Webmasters’ YouTube page on May 2013, Matt Cutts stated that Google was working on an algorithm that will give more established and authoritative authors in particular subjects a ranking boost. “We are doing a better job of detecting when someone is sort of an authority in a specific space,” stated Cutts. “It could be medical, it could be travel, whatever. And [we’re] trying to make sure that those rank a little more highly if you are some sort of authority or a site that according to the algorithms we think might be a little bit more appropriate for users.”
Google first rolled out its in-depth articles feature on August 2013. According to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, in-depth articles were deemed appropriate for searchers who were looking for information on extremely broad topics (like feminism or nuclear physics). For such searchers, high-quality, in-depth information would be more appropriate than quick facts. Snippets for in-depth articles will include an image thumbnail, title, description, publisher icon, author, as well as publisher.
According to an official blog post by Pandu Nayak, in-depth articles will feature not just works by well-known publishers, but also lesser-known publications and blogs. This statement has been deemed controversial by observers who claim that the current algorithm favors more established brands. Studies done by online marketers claim that “big brands”—like Vanity Fair, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Business Week—receive higher page ranks than lesser-known publications and blogs. Some observers also claim that the current algorithm favors brands that have printed publications alongside their websites.
Optimizing Content for Google’s In-depth Articles Search Results
In order to optimize content for in-depth articles, the following recommendations were enumerated in Pandu Nayak’s blog post:
• Add schema.org markup language (headlines, alternativeHeadline, image schemas, datePublished, and articleBody)
• Provide authorship markups in posts by linking Google+ profiles to created content
• Provide information about your organizations’ logo
• Produce high-quality and in-depth content
• Ensure that content follows proper pagination and canonicalization attributes
• Ensure that content is crawlable by not restricting content
In-depth Articles and Online Marketing
Some online marketers are probably wondering: is it worthwhile to attempt to rank for in-depth articles? Since such results are triggered by extremely broad queries, in which user intent may have nothing to do with buying products and services, some have questioned the relevance of in-depth articles for online marketers.
On the contrary, in-depth content can still meet targeted customers in whatever stage they’re at in the buying cycle. Plus, the right content can help move them down the sales funnel. In order to drive traffic and conversion rates, it is best for online marketers to focus on what’s always been important: producing and promoting high-quality, customer-focused content, as this strategy is what ultimately impacts the bottom line.
Do you think it is worth producing in-depth articles especially for e-commerce or small business websites with the strong main goal of getting conversions?
Will in-depth articles help businesses push down visitors down the sales funnel?
Let us know. Drop a comment or submit a blog post if you plan to make an in-depth response to this.
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