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Marketing Profs – How to Make Your Content Show Up in Google’s ‘In-Depth Articles’ Search Results

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By Alesia Krush

November 20, 2013

searchGoogle recently introduced a search results section dubbed In-depth articles. The new type of listing was added after Google discovered that roughly 10% of users needed to look up information on a broad topic every day.

As the name implies, the in-depth articles search-results box consists of posts that provide exhaustive information on a subject, likely sparing one the need to look for additional material.

For example, let’s say I’d like to know what Higgs boson is. Here are the three in-depth articles Google returned in response to my query:


So does the just-added search results section present new opportunities to content marketers? If your content strategy involves creating in-depth, timeless content on certain topics, read on… This article is for you.

How Google Picks In-Depth Articles

How does Google choose which post is worthy of in-depth status? A joint study by Denis Pinsky and Dr. Peter J. Meyer revealed some answers…

First, over 60% of all in-depth articles are by the following top 10 publishers:


Second, over 70% of all in-depth articles were published between 2011 and 2013:

  • 2011—20.2%
  • 2012—29.0%
  • 2013—21.5%

Third, the top 10 categories that have the biggest percentage of in-depth article results are the following:

  1. 14.4%—Family & Community
  2. 12.8%—Health
  3. 12.0%—Law & Government
  4. 7.2%—Arts & Entertainment
  5. 7.0%—Finance
  6. 5.8%—Jobs & Education
  7. 5.6%—Hobbies & Leisure
  8. 4.8%—Computers & Consumer Electronics
  9. 4.4%—Internet & Telecom
  10. 3.6%—Food & Groceries

As you can see, most in-depth articles come from reputable, well-established resources (mostly from offline publications with online versions). Plus, they normally have a recent publication date and tend to fall into certain categories.

So does that mean smaller content publishers stand little chance of getting in on the action?

  • First, Google created a guide on how one can increase the odds of being cited among In-depth articles. Clearly, Google would like more content creators to contribute comprehensive posts that could be used for the new section.
  • Second, as you’ll see from the case study I’m about to describe, a smaller publisher can realistically hit the in-depth section if the site is an authority in a niche and if the article meets the criteria in the above-mentioned Google guide.


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