Recently, some Google users have seen a separate section of search results devoted to in-depth articles on the topic they are researching. This front-page real estate includes thumbnails, article summaries and source logos, according to Search Engine Watch. SEO professionals have long discussed Google's algorithms as ways to reward high-quality content, and this most recent feature is yet another step in that direction.
In-depth results have appeared so far for only 7 percent of users, according to a report by Moz. However, Google is expected to continue to roll out this feature. Those articles that appear in in-depth results are over 2,000 words and mostly from large publications like The New York Times. An in-depth box tends to appear most often for shorter searches of one or two words, though longer strings of keywords also brought up a box in Moz's testing. Notably, promotional content does not appear to qualify for in-depth listings at this time. As more brands become de facto publishers, however, there is room in their content strategy for non-promotional evergreen articles, which may well make an appearance in the new search results.
Aiming for inclusion in in-depth results
Companies whose content marketing strategy is extensive should strongly consider producing articles that fit the observed profile of in-depth results. Particularly in specific niches, this may fuel inclusion in the new search results. Evergreen content, or content that is not time-sensitive and has a long shelf life, is what brands should aim to produce. Articles must be long and, of course, in-depth. They should be informative but not promotional, and it may benefit businesses that deal in a specific area to create very specialized content.
The way content is presented and coded also seems to have some impact on whether it will be included in Google's in-depth results. Moz recommends businesses use schema.org article markup on their evergreen content, as well as authorship markup. Connecting content to a Google Plus account may also be a good strategy. Furthermore, paginated articles need to be handled properly, and websites with pay walls should allow some free clicks.
While inclusion in Google's in-depth results is not likely for promotional content, brands can expand their marketing strategies to publication. This will establish thought leadership and drive traffic to a company's website, even without pitching for a product or service within an article itself. Visibility on its own is worthwhile in online marketing, and Google's in-depth search results can provide that.