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Kieran Sait

Google’s In-Depth Article Mark-Up – What You Need To Know

24th Jan 2014 SEO, Content Marketing, SEO, SEO Resources | 6 Comments


Changes AheadIn August last year, shortly before the Hummingbird algorithm update, Google introduced a new function to its search engine results pages (SERP’s) in the United States that now displays three related in-depth articles at the bottom of the search results page accompanied by images.

For those of us elsewhere in the world, we can expect to see these articles hit our results pages soon in 2014.

What Are They?

In short, in-depth articles are detailed write-ups on a particular topic, generally by industry leading sources. These might include whitepapers, case studies or published business reports.

Since its inception, Google has added new search functionalities that are specific to articles; allowing its users to explore more content (an additional 10), discover articles that are of a related subject and make use of a new keyword search to find even more material.

Google’s reasoning behind the update is to assist the 10% or so of its users that are seeking more than just a speedy answer that only brushes over a topic. Instead, they want to focus on material that allows their searchers to not just dig deeper but to also push their understanding of a subject even further.

Hummingbird

This addition to Google’s SERP’s could not have come at a better time, as soon after they released Google Hummingbird.

Hummingbird has placed even more emphasis on producing rich, quality content. In-depth articles are a great way to achieve this.

Read more about Google Hummingbird.

Steps To Have Your Articles Recognised

To ensure that your in-depth content is crawled, indexed and actually shows up in the SERPs the following tips have been put forward on Google’s webmaster page.

1. Schema.org Article Mark-Up

Schema.org is a site that assists webmasters in optimising the coding and pages of their site in a way that will be recognised by all of the major search engines.

To provide search engines with more information, Schema suggests adding micro data to your website’s coding to give specific reference to the various elements of your pages and content.

To make sure that your material is considered for ranking Google recommends implementing the Schema mark-up to the following aspects of your site’s HTML structure:

  • Headline – The title
  • Alternative headline – Secondary title or subtitle
  • Image – Images in your article, add alt tags to make sure they are crawled and indexed
  • Description – Short description of the subject matter
  • Date Published – When it was published
  • Article body – Core text

A great tool to use is the Schema mark-up generator which makes the mark-up process much simpler.

2. Authorship Mark-Up

Google+Authorship mark-up helps Google’s algorithm to find and attach relevant authors and experts to particular search queries and in-depth topics.

If you want to link yourself to the material you publish you will need to set up a Google+ account with an easily recognisable headshot.

Once this has been set up, you then need to make sure that you always include a by-line that appears on each page of your content. The name in the by-line must also match the name on your Google+ profile.

When you set a piece live on your website, it is also recommended that you add the link below to the page’s coding in the author bio section.

<a href=”[profile_url]?rel=author”>Your Name</a>

The section of the code that says ‘profile URL’ should be replaced with the link to your Google+ profile page like so:

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/109412257237874861202?rel=author”>Google</a>

The link you add must contain the ?rel=author section otherwise Google will not be able to pull across your profile and associate it with your content.

To finish up you will want to establish a reciprocal link back to the site you just added your Google+ profile to. Go to your Google+ page and edit the contributor to section, from there click the “add custom link” text, enter your site’s URL and hey presto, your authorship mark-up is complete.

Find out more about authorship mark-up.

3. Article Pagination

If you have content that is paginated on your site and would like for it to appear in search results it is advised that you add rel=”next” and rel=”prev” HTML attributes to indicate to Google the relationship that the various pages of your article have with one another (more info).

By using this code, Google will then be able to understand that you wish for these pages to be indexed as part of a flowing sequence.

So let’s take a look at this in practice, say that the URL’s below constitute your paginated article.

http://www.koozai-example.com/article-part1.html

http://www.koozai-example.com/article-part2.html

http://www.koozai-example.com/article-part3.html

The first page will only need to point to the next page in the sequence by adding the link tag below to the head section of your page one code.

<link rel=”next” href=”http://www.example.com/article-part2.html”>

To link the middle page (page 2) you will need to add rel=”prev” and rel=”next” that directs readers to both the first page and the last page. It should look something like this:

<link rel=”prev” href=”http://www.koozai-example.com/article-part1.html”>

<link rel=”next” href=”http://www.koozai-example.com/article-part3.html”>

Once you reach the last page in the sequence you will only need to add a rel=”prev” link tag that directs to the middle page as there is nothing to link on to further.

Learn more about content pagination

4. Produce Rich Content

It goes without saying, but one of the key steps to ensure that your in-depth articles are picked up by Google is to have rich, informative and detailed text within them.

All of the information, data and statistics need to be kept up to date if your work is going to have any authority over the competition.

Currently content producers writing in-depth articles that are successfully indexed by Google mainly include reputable news sources like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and The Huffington Post. However, this is likely to change as the articles become more commonplace.

Advantages of Creating In-Depth Articles

So now we know what in-depth articles are and how to tweak them to increase their chances of being noticed by Google, let’s take a look at the advantages of creating richer content:

  • By producing in-depth articles, your brand is going to be on par with Google’s algorithm updates – providing valuable and detailed information that leaves you as a well trusted source in your niche.
  • A link to a personal Google account allows for personal recognition for your work even if it is under the guise of your company; it puts a face to your material which helps you to build rapport with new audiences.
  • Creating deeper posts will undoubtedly spark new ideas and areas for content generation that can be pumped out elsewhere e.g. blogs, social media or statistics in infographics.
  • This new feature acts as an additional area for having your site displayed in SERP’s on top of the efforts of PPC campaigns and organic SEO.
  • For smaller websites, creating rich subject matter might increase your chances of being picked up by larger news sites or sources of information, thus extending the reach of your brand and subsequently a rise in traffic back to your site.
  • Simply put, Google rewards sites with strong content.

Please, feel free to share your thoughts on in-depth articles and how you feel they will benefit content marketing and SEO in the near future in the comments section below.

Image Sources

Newspaper via Bigstockphoto.com
Hummingbird via Bigstockphoto.com

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About the author

Kieran Sait

Kieran Sait works as a Content Marketing Executive at Koozai. His most recent work before joining us was for the BBC’s Natural History brand: BBC Earth, where he gained valuable skills in content development, website strategy, social media management and branding. He is an avid fan of film and also holds a strong interest in new technology.

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