It’s never a bad idea to play nicely with Google’s search standards. Frankly, doing so can lead to real, tangible benefits, including, now, having in-depth articles featured on the world’s most ubiquitous search engine. Despite the cheap tie-in with Google+, the search engine’s new results offer a real opportunity to establish your authority, should you choose to play by the rules.
What Are “In-Depth” Articles?
In-depth articles are a new format of search result that feature an article title, thumbnail pulled from the piece, logo of the host website, and snippet of the content being presented. But those are just the specifics. On a deeper level, in-depth articles represent a new effort to accommodate the more robust search needs of complex topics, queries of such nature reportedly comprising as much as 10% of daily search traffic.
If you are a large website, in-depth results present an opportunity to further your reach. If you are a small website, in-depth results present a chance to gain recognition for your knowledge. In either case, catering to the requirements of Google’s new search result can offer a boost to both traffic and reputation.
How to Be Included
The first requirement is utilization of Schema.org’s article markup syntax. By delineating meta-data within an article, Google’s search index can better identify the necessary components of your work when constructing the in-depth article result. This step may create some headaches, but implementing schema as a standard practice will ultimately make your site more responsive to future search developments as it establishes itself as an industry standard.
Next comes the obligatory Google+ tie-in. Despite a user-base dwarfed by Facebook and Twitter, Google’s platform is pulling out the big guns to ensure relevance and in-depth articles are not exempt to this. By signing up for authorship through Google+, their platform will provide additional analytics regarding how your content appears in search results. Accordingly, in-depth results will use this data to help identify your profile as a source of authority.
Formatting is the next concern, particularly for multi-page articles. In this case, usage of rel=”next” and rel=”prev” will help clarify the relationship of paginated articles to Google’s search index. The association is not obligatory, but any measures that can clarify presentation of content in search results is worth a few moments of your time. In addition, close care should be paid to rel=canonical declarations for the sake of clarity.
The last component, appearance of your site’s logo, is handled through schema markup language as well. This step deserves a measure of priority since the brand association that can be established through in-depth articles is worth the time spent coding. Your site’s logo can be specified using the information found here.
Due to the heavy utilization of Schema in the implementation of these articles, the uninitiated would do well to familiarize themselves with the language. Before implementation on the Internet, Schema was used as a database tool that made indexing and retrieval of so-called “micro-data” a less arduous task, alleviating the need for algorithms that depend on standardized structure to extract such information. By explicitly declaring authors, responsible agencies, and publication dates, those wishing to see their work included in the new search context will have greater control of its display.
The specific category of schema in use, Article markup, provides sufficient tagging options for even the most scrupulous of organizations. From the basics, including author, copyright year, and citation, to the more nuanced, including audience, URLs of relevant discussion, and keywords, implementation of the robust markup language presents a bevy options for control, searchability, and display of authoritative works. In a sea of information, this control is an irreplaceable asset.
For more ambitious and diverse sites, Schema’s implementation provides additional benefits. Attributes of people, organizations, products, books, movies, and others can be specified, taking the guesswork out of search indexing. For this reason, ubiquitous use of the code affords a level of “window-dressing” that plays a key part in hooking visitors perusing search results. Thankfully, Google provides a markup helper and data testing tool to guide newer users along the way.
And that, as they say, is that. Positioning your website as a source of authority through in-depth articles can establish your authority. With a little coding and maintenance, Google’s rules have given organizations and outlets large and small an opportunity to answer the deeper questions of the Internet. Take advantage of this new advent of “in-depth” articles and let your customers and your readers know that you’ve got something important to say.