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5 reasons you shouldn’t be chasing Google’s In-depth articles

August 20th, 2013 | | Posted in category Google Search Engine Optimization Vertical Search Engines

Is it worth chasing Google In-depth articles Earlier this month Google announced the introduction of in-depth articles into organic search results. This section was created to help users find well-researched write-ups on broad topics.

To add to that, Google provides clear instructions on how webmasters can help Google bot find their in-depth content and thus increase their chances of being placed in the new section.

An extra slot in Google's 1st page suggests SEOs get yet another chance to give their sites more exposure. But the question is: should webmasters chase in-depth article section?

We believe there are a number of reasons why it might be not worth it:

1.       In-depths articles are targeted towards broad poorly-targeted keywords

Presently (and this will most likely be the same in the future) in-depth articles show up for broad queries Google users type in to get most general information, e.g. global warming, coal, gender:In-depth results for general terms

 

Such search queries might have various kind of search intent behind them, so it'll be hard to target content for specific users.

For example, Google users who type in "cheese" might be looking for history of cheese, types of cheese or a cheese retailer in the New York area. Even if they land on your in-depth article, chances are your site is not what they looking for, and you'll get your targeted traffic through long-tail keywords.

 2.       Google prefers to feature in-depths articles from well-known publishers

When deciding which article to include into the "In-depth articles" section, Google appears to be in favor of big brands.

Here's a quote from Google's Inside Search blog to prove this point: "In addition to well-known publishers, you'll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs."

It suggests that the well-known publishers are given somewhat a higher priority when content from different sources is being considered for inclusion.

 3.       In-depth articles are unlikely to get a high CTR

Organic search results for broad keywords are normally dominated by highly-relevant large websites which enjoy the highest CTR. Thus, in-depth articles are unlikely to get many clicks.

 4.       You might be lacking compelling content

Go to Google Analytics to check if you have content that qualifies for In-depth articles. Find how many blog posts of yours have stable high organic traffic for broad non-commercial high-volume keywords.

To locate short keywords (some of them will qualify for broad non-commercial terms), do the following tweak in your Google Analytics account:

  1. Go to Traffic sources – Search – Organic
  2. Type in ^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){0,2}$ in the filter field. This is a regular expression that'll let you create a temporary filter for 1-3 word phrases only.
  3. Set Landing Page as a secondary dimension:

In Google Analytics chek if you have any in-depth articles

This way you'll be able to check if you have any content which might have stable high traffic and thus be a match for the In-depth article section.

 5. In-depth articles are just another type of search results

Google is evolving to make search results more personalized and providing better answers to search queries and the introduction of in-depth articles is yet another step to this ultimate goal.

In-depths articles are just a minor section in the bottom of Google's first page. In addition to those, Google users will get News, Images, Videos, Knowledge Graph and what not, thus In-depth articles are somewhat lost in this universal search tapestry.

Bottom line

To sum it up, there are 5 reasons, which suggest that getting to the "In-depth article" section should not be your ultimate SEO goal. What really matters is a focus on creating high-quality in-depth content for your users and readers.

And do you aim any keywords that have an In-depth article section introduced for them? Do you like the newly-introduced section as a user? Or do you have some counter-arguments that prove that In-depth articles are worth chasing after anyway? Share your views in the comments below.

Image credit:  foto-ruhrgebiet via iStockphoto



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  • Fredrick

    Well written and explained. I still personally feel that we should create high quality in-depth content for our users/readers. There's no point of running behind Google's in-depth articles to be on the first page which is being dominated by Videos, News, Images etc. Good article!

    Link-Assistant.Com Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Thank you for kind words, Frederick! The key point is still the same: focus on great content. The in-depth articles section shows up for very broad, poorly-targeted keywords, so it's hard to use to attract targeted traffic anyway.

  • Fredrick

    Well written and explained. I still personally feel that we should create high quality in-depth content for our users/readers. There's no point of running behind Google's in-depth articles to be on the first page which is being dominated by Videos, News, Images etc. Good article!

  • Reg Charie

    "What really matters is a focus on creating high-quality in-depth content for your users and readers.
    While this is a good thing to do, PRESENTATION is a higher consideration than quality.

    Link-Assistant.Com Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Hi Reg, thanks for stopping by. What exactly do you mean by presentation? That apart from writing great content, site owners should focus on the design and layout side of things as well?

  • Reg Charie

    "What really matters is a focus on creating high-quality in-depth content for your users and readers.
    While this is a good thing to do, PRESENTATION is a higher consideration than quality.

  • Spook SEO

    Targetting the in-depth-artcicles doesn't mean compromising the quality of the article though. So I'm not sure why the article has an "either or" feel towards in-depth-articles and creating quality contents.

    Google has already set "criterias" (for the lack of a better word) to help consider your content as a candidate for the indepth article box. You can just get plug-ins to work that out and still focus n high quality content.

    Link-Assistant.Com Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Hi and thank you for yet another great comment on this blog! We don't have an "either or" approach towards creating quality content. Site owners should create the best content they can. And the criteria suggested by Google are quite definite, so we believe it won't hurt following them for every piece of content one writes.

    Yet, you might be right that this article has an "either or" feel towards CHASING in-depth articles - as part of SEO strategy. What we wanted to explain here is that not every site is a fit for broad keywords and thought-provoking content that remains relevant for years. In most cases it would be artificial introducing such content to your site, so if your only aim is getting into In-depth search, it might not be a great idea being after it.

    Let me give an example. You have a blog on content marketing. Each and every post on your blog is about content marketing, written to the highest standards of quality content. And you want getting your blog into In-depth articles. But there's no section for "content marketing". There's only section for a broader search term, "marketing", which is not quite relevant to you.

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