Google recently included a new section in their search results page called In-Depth Articles. It includes long-form articles from reputable sources on popular searches to provide users with more contextual information on their search. Watch today's video to learn how many searches are really returning these in-depth articles, and how you can optimize your onsite content to be included in Google's search results.


Good afternoon, and welcome to our video where we’re going to be talking about Google’s new in-depth articles. I’m Chad Hill and I’m joined by Adam Stetzer.

Hi! Good afternoon, Chad. Welcome to our brown bag today! We’re diving into these new search result formats from Google-- these new in-depth articles. If you’re just trying to learn about this topic, what this means is that if you run some searches in Google, you will see the normal ten organic results per page, but sometimes at the very bottom, you’ll see “Hey, check out these in-depth articles!” where the tenth result is often two or three or more results. This is what Google is calling their “in-depth articles.” It’s a new format. We see this introduced by Google into their search results from time to time, such as when they first released Maps, and then they went to Map Packs, and then they went to Carousel for local. So, today’s topic is something new in the search results: Google in-depth articles. Chad, what do we know about this? I know it’s brand new, and people are probably very eager for information.

Absolutely, and it’s definitely brand new. It looks really cool, and I think this is part of Google’s goal of getting more answers directly surfaced in the initial search results without people having to click to lots of different places. But what we’re seeing so far is what you said, Adam. It’s that it tends to be for certain phrases. We, of course, googled “SEO” and there’s three articles about SEO at the bottom of that page. You can see that they tend to be from larger brands and well-known brands; there are a lot of publishers out there and from what we’ve seen, those are where they tend to be showing. Like we talked about, it’s just a more rich search result that gets you directly to a more in-depth piece, rather than a shorter, one-page piece of content on another website.

Okay, and here’s some data on this new type of organic output from Moz. They tracked 10,000 queries as a sample and showed in-depth articles from Google on about 350 of them, so penetration is still fairly low. I think Google rolls these things out this way and often will grow it if they find it successful. But I’m sure what our viewers are wondering is, “How do I get my content to be an in-depth article?” It’s probably premature to have an answer that’s at all credible to that, I think, Chad. But, we can probably respond with just some generic tips about what you should be doing for onsite content anyway.

Right. So I think that there are a couple things that everyone should be doing. One is that you should be using markup, so if you haven’t, go check the web site out. It’s They have a lot of different micro-formats, and what that basically means is that when you put more rich information on your website, you can tag that rich information so that the search engines are able to pull out that information and then highlight it in their search results. So we’ve talked about this in the past with and with video and with local results. Well, now there are or micro-formats related to in-depth articles and making sure your content is tagged appropriately.

The second thing that you want to do is make sure that it’s index-able by the search engine, so if you are a publisher and you’re hiding your content behind a paywall, you’re going to need a way to let the search engines through to find that information, so that they can index it and put it on the search results page.

I think the final thing you want to do is, when there is a multi-page article, to give the search engine a clear way to index all of those pages of content. We probably will see that, Adam, more if you’re on Business Week or something. A lot of times they want to break that article into four or five pages so that you’re moving from page to page, getting more ad inventory as you go along the way.

Right, and at this point, given that this is so new, I’d probably be skeptical of anyone who is advertising how to rank in Google in-depth articles. But, a few things that I think we always know are that Google is very good at doing algorithmic updates and that everything they do seems to be based on popularity signals, the strongest of which is usually in-bound links. But, don’t go crazy and try to game this. Just like the advice we’d give for any type of search engine optimization, Google is also very good at spotting people who are overly gaming or manipulating their systems, and that’s not the best approach. The best approach is to make something excellent, try to promote it as ethically as possible and as widely as possible with the hopes that you might end up in an in-depth article.