Archive for November, 2013
The chart shows the percent of media consumption time that Americans have spent on each medium in the past five years.
The message is clear:
Mobile digital media are growing, everything else is shrinking.
Content Marketing Trends – Google’s New In-Depth Article Results
Last year Google texted 150 randomly as part of an experiment, asking them “What did you want to know recently?” This was designed to uncover what thinks people needed to know but didn’t consider using Google to find. And the research was almost surely a driver in Google’s newest algorithm change, called Hummingbird.
Both the in-depth article results and Hummingbird seem to follow a similar pattern: Google doesn’t just want to provide you with what you’re looking for, but also results that address WHY you’re looking for it. In other words, Google doesn’t want to just provide search results, they want to provide answers.
Google’s research has found that up to 10% of their users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic, and this has led them to provide new search results that help users find in-depth articles.
What does this mean for content marketers?
If you want to create a content plan for appearing in in-depth article results, you could consider taking Google up on a few of its suggestions, like:
Use schema article markup
Use Google Authorship markup
Use proper coding for paginated articles
Use schemas to highlight your organization’s logo
Create compelling in-depth content
This makes it sound like content marketers have an opportunity to follow these guidelines and get their content to appear in the in-depth search results. But it may not be as easy as it sounds.
Research on the above factors and how they actually impact the results has recently been done, to determine if content marketers can or should try to optimize their content plan in order to appear as in-depth articles.
On The Official Google Search blog, Pandu Nayak mentions how publisher status factors into the in-depth search results: “In addition to well-known publishers, you’ll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs.”
But recent research done by the Content Marketing Institute showed that although publisher status and page rank were extremely critical for in-depth article rankings. In fact, in all of the test searches done by the institute, having a page rank of 7 or higher was essentially mandatory (only one search result had a lower ranking, a 6).
Their findings on each of the other criteria as they related to the search results they found were also contradictory to their previous stated list.
Google suggested that publishers “provide Authorship markup” in order to increase the odds of appearing in in-depth search results, however not one of the results found had the proper authorship citations.
Google also has said they are happy to see people continue to invest in thoughtful in-depth content that remains relevant for months or ever years after publication. This would seem to indicate that the in-depth article results may include articles with older post dates. However, once again the search results tell a different story. The CMI research showed that articles from 2012 made their in-depth list 6 out of 18 times, while only two articles were 2008 or earlier (the earliest was from 2003).
The research also showed that the number of social shares at this time seems to have little impact, with the number of Google+’s seems to have an even smaller impact.
Google’s webmaster tools help page states, “For this feature, it’s particularly helpful if you can implement certain aspects of the Schema.org article markup.” It goes on to list the most important schema markup (aka HTML tag) attributes of content:
alternativeHeadline (a secondary headline, or subheading)
image (i.e., the URL of the image, as it must be crawlable and indexable)
description (a short description of the content)
Out of random searches that produced in-depth article results, 22 of the 59 articles included no schema markup, and another 22 out of 59 had “some” schema markup.
Google’s in-depth article search results have only been around for two months. Currently, it doesn’t seem that Google’s initial guidelines have much impact on what actually shows in search results, but this could change at any time of course.
For content marketers, it probably isn’t wise to put much effort into trying to appear in in-depth article search at the moment. Rather, it seems we should just continue doing what Google and readers want us to do most, which is to provide answers and solutions through quality content.