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

| 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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